2017 Finlandia Trophy: the butterflies

If you think that Cheng Peng resembles a butterfly in her free skate this season, well, you’re definitely right: she and Yang Jin skate to Butterfly Lovers’ Violin Concerto, in a program inspired by a Chinese ancient legend. Called exactly like that: “Butterfly Lovers” or “Liang Zhu” (梁祝), after the names of the main characters, the legend tells the story of two lovers that cannot be together, and so he dies, and she ends her life – the Chinese version of “Romeo and Juliet”, but with a twist: they turn into butterflies after their deaths, and end up being together after all.

In Espoo, at this year’s edition of Finlandia Trophy, Cheng Peng and Yang Jin, aka the butterflies, won the gold medal – followed by Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise (silver) and Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov (bronze). And this is the illustrated story of the pairs’ event.

by Florentina Tone

And the truth is both of Cheng Peng and Yang Jin’s programs this season are beautifully put together and thoroughly embracing their skating style: in their SP, the Chinese skaters are Mr. and Mrs. Smith, from the movie with the same name. They skate (or should I say dance to) “Assassin’s Tango” – hence the signature moves throughout the routine, in a program choreographed by Lori Nichol.

In Espoo, Peng and Jin received 70.93 points, winning this particular segment of the pairs’ event.

The free skate – the lovers, the dancing butterflies – was the second of the day in terms of scores (127.10 points), but, overall, was enough to secure them the gold medal (with 198.03 points).

For the Olympics, and for the Worlds in Italy next year, Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise came back to their short program from 2015-2016 season, to impressive, uplifting music: “Magnificat” by Mina. In Espoo, they received 65.42 points – the third program of the day in terms of scores.

A day later, in the free, they skated to “The Tree of Life” by Roberto Cacciapagua – the costumes fitting the theme of the program – and won this segment of the pairs’ event, with 128.08 points; they were second overall, with 193.50 points – in the first Finlandia Trophy of their career, they went home with the silver medals.

Russia’s Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov chose “Tango de Besame” for their short program this season; and received 70.12 points in Espoo (the second of the day, just 0.81 of a point separating them from the Chinese pair).

On the day of the free skate – telling the story of Carmen (powerful music, powerful character) – the Russians were actually 4th (with 114.66 points), but the overall scores kept them on the podium (184.78 points – and a bronze medal in Espoo for Ksenia and Fedor).

4th in Espoo, at 2017 Finlandia Trophy, were Canada’s Liubov Ilyushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch. They skate to “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins in their short program…

…while for the free, they chose “At This Moment”, performed by Billie Vera & The Beaters. Their overall score: 183.80 points.

Russia’s Kristina Astakhova and Alexei Rogonov were 5th at 2017 Finlandia Trophy. In their SP they skate to Mozart (“Adagio For Strings” and “Requiem in D Minor”) and Carl Orff (“O Fortuna” from “Carmina Burana”).

“La La Land” soundtrack was the choice for their free skate – hence her yellow dress, his yellow tie, their overall joyful routine.

6th in Espoo, at 2017 Finlandia Trophy: USA’s Deanna Stellato and Nathan Bartholomay. In their short, they skate to “Eleanor Rigby” by John Lennon, Paul McCartney…

…and in the free, to music by U2: “Streets Have No Name” and “One Love”.