Looking back at the ice dancing event hosted by Barcelona in December, the first thing that comes to my mind is that we’re so very lucky. Lucky to have had such great free dances on display – so different, yet so alike when it comes to portraying the emotions of the characters and sharing the excitement with the audience. No doubt about that: the six couples qualified for the Grand Prix Final this season didn’t hold back a bit, trying their best to sweep everyone into their performances – whether it was a story about experiencing loss and finding hope, about abandoning yourself to love and then to death, about the magic of togetherness, about wings and challenges, or the funny, playful side of life. And they did have one more thing in common the six stories skated in Barcelona: my goosebumps.
Here’s a journey through emotions, theirs and ours – in the form of a photo recap of some of the practice sessions in CCIB arena, with the focus on the free dance. Be warned though: an „invasion” of pictures will follow – we’re also publishing some joyful glimpses from the press conference after the short dance, as we are recreating the colorful atmosphere during the medals ceremony.
Featuring: Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, Madison Chock and Evan Bates, Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte, Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani, Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev, Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue.
by Florentina Tone
We’ll start with that: top 3 couples after SD – Kaitlyn&Andrew, Madison&Evan, Anna&Luca – in the press conference room, after this particular segment of the ice dancing event.
Photos from the practice sessions (free dance) at 2015 GPF
This season, Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje had their free dance choreographed by Peter Tchernyshev with Shae-Lynn Bourne: a story „about a couple that goes through a great loss, something very sad”, as Kaitlyn pointed out in an interview for Inside Skating. „And it’s how you’re able to help each other through this, and rely on each other, and in the end find hope – and it’s that person that keeps you alive, in a way, keeps the hope inside of you. And «Bitter Earth», which is the name of our first piece of music, speaks of that, of hoping that someone will help you through. And I think that we relate to that and, hopefully, we’re able to really send that message to the audience too”.
Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Now that’s a wonderful choice for Madison Chock and Evan Bates’ free dance – but one that comes with its challenges, as Madison pointed out during a press conference in Barcelona: “The program always challenges us, as we see it as a piece of art rather than a program, and, like any artist, we want to make it perfect. It drives us crazy wanting to perfect it, and that is really our drive this season, to make the most of this music and put our heart and soul into it”.
Even only by looking at the photos you’ll understand that Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte’s free dance this season is totally different from the other five in Barcelona. The Italians skate to the wonderful music composed by Nino Rota for some of Fellini’s famous movies („Nights of Cabiria”, „Amarcord”, „8½”) – and this particular choice, lightsome and playful, suits them like a glove.
There’s something magical about Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani’s free dance this season, skated to music by Coldplay (“Fix You”, “The Scientist”) and choreographed by Peter Tchernyshev – something that made us all rise to our feet, with emotion and excitement, at the end of their performance in Barcelona. It must be their special relation with the music, their airy presence on the ice, Peter Tchernyshev’s innovations, and his abilities to put Maia and Alex’s skating skills under the spotlight. One thing is sure: this free dance embraces them beautifully – I could watch it again and again.
Gestures, looks, nuances – Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev embody Anna Karenina and Count Alexei Vronsky in their free dance this season, and the program, choreographed by Sergei Petukhov, to music by Dario Marianelli, is a great fit for the Russians, in their attempt to come back on the international stage after sitting out last season.
Strong, passionate, intriguing – so much you can tell about Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue’s free dance this season, skated to peculiar, addictive music („Adagio for strings” by Daft Punk) and featuring Madison’s grey wings. The intensity, the commitment were almost palpable – and I do admire their efforts and their break-through: Madison and Zachary qualified for the Grand Prix Final for the first time in their career, and, let me tell, they sure deserved to be in Barcelona.
Glimpses from the medals ceremony