Favourite Dance Programs, 2017-18

I feel like I better get this done before next season starts! Well, technically with the Asian Open starting off the Challenger series this past weekend, I guess the new season has already started. Not to mention the videos we are starting to see of new programs. I like how things are shaping up for the new season, and I have to say that I quite excited about the sliding feature! But before I  move on entirely, I will say farewell to the old. Here is my final word(s) on ice dance programs in 2017-18.

Short Dance (And farewell to them too!)

Hubbell/Donohue – “Le Serpent” by Guem et Zaka; “Cuando Calienta El Sol” by Talya Ferro; “Sambando” by Los Ritmos Calientas. I like the music choices here. Notice how the first piece is called “Le Serpent” (The Snake) and in the opening, she sort of reminds me of a snake. They are in tune with the music and it feels sexy and languid but crips and intense as well. And those twizzles! That whole last sequence to the end is great. Program by Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice  Lauzon and G. Cournoyer. (Sorry, the video isn’t the best quality but don’t worry it does keep going.)

Weaver/Poje – “Tango” by Dianne Reeves feat. Raul Midon and “Do You Only Wanna Dance” by Lester Mendez, Sy Smith and Arturo O’Farrill. performed by Julio Daviel Big Band. These guys are very good a short programs, I would say, with the exception of Michael Jackson last year. Usually, they turn out a pretty stellar product and this year they were back on top of their game. I love the music and I love how it’s structured; it builds right to the end. The step sequence is fabulous and I love the lift. Watching it again, when I got to the end I said to myself, “Okay, c’mon, that’s pretty cool.” A lot of people were involved in choreography for these two, so someone out of this mix did the short program: A. Cortes, J. Briones, P. Camerlengo, S. Bourne (according to their ISU bio). I’m guessing the first two?

Shibutanis – “Mambo No. 5″,  “Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White” and “Mambo Jambo/Mambo No. 8”, all by Perez Prado. There is something sort of cheeky about this program that I really like. Those twizzles on the count! And I like that they went for something fun and exuberant. I think it certainly made their program stand out. I just wish Alex wasn’t wearing that beigey-bronze colour, so he would stand out more. (Guys can wear pink too, Alex!) Choreography by Marina Zueva and Massimo Scali.

Virtue/Moir – Sympathy for the Devil” by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, performed by The Rolling Stones; “Hotel California” by Don Felders, Don Henley and Glenn Frey, performed by Eagles; “Oye Como Va” by Tito Puente, performed by Santana. Well that’s a lot of credits! I have to admit I wasn’t sure about this program at first but I really fell for it at Skate Canada. I like their kind of retro look. In my mind, I keep referring to them as lounge lizards. (Here is an example of a guy standing out.) I just love these guys doing Latin and they didn’t disappoint. They really did bring in some heat and showmanship. The step sequence! The slow section (okay, pattern step)! They made a few little changes during the season, so this version is a bit different from later performances. That lunge move by the time they get to the Olympics – wow! Choreography by David Wilson, M.-F. Dubreuil and Sam Choinard.

Chock/Bates – “Aguanile”,  “Que Lio”, and “Vivir Mi Vida”, all performed by Marc Anthony. I really liked the music for this program. Doesn’t it always start there? For me, it really felt Latin. (Some other programs that shall remain nameless didn’t entirely achieve the style or feeling, I thought.) I love the musical opening and the slow rhumba music and then it’s party time at the end. The lift is great too! I also really like their little pause in the step sequence. Her dress was always wild but when it’s Latin, what can you do? I think Chock and Bates strong suit is the short program, no? At least it has been in the past. Who knows? Looking forward to changes. (I’m noticing that this had a few changes through the season too. The opening is quite different by the time they get to the Olympics.) Program by Igor Shpilband and Rohene Ward (maybe?)


Free Dance

Virtue/Moir – El Tango de Roxanne” and “Come What May” from the “Moulin Rouge” soundtrack. There is something to be said for committing to your material, not backing down and sticking with your gut, and developing a program over time. At the point when probably where a lot of other teams were deciding to back out of their new program and switch back to an old one this past season (the mid-point), these two decided to up the ante and make changes to the new program and it paid off! (Certainly, the curve lift definitely improved.) And they both look so good! And I really do think the opening and basically all of the Tango Roxanne section is brilliant and interprets the music so well – even creates drama. Also, I know the first half of the rotational lift isn’t new but I’m still trying to figure it out. Choreography by David Wilson, M.-F. Dubreuil and Sam Choinard.

Gilles/Poirier – “Thunderball” from the “Thunderball” soundtrack and “The Chase Bond Theme”, “The Palace Fight” and “Yo Yo Fight and Death of Vijay” from the “Octopussy” soundtrack, all by John Barry. These guys took a huge risk, changing their entire program and I loved the finished product. It expresses the theme so well, the lifts are all fabulous and it’s exciting! I give them a lot of credit. Even whenswitching to a fairly well used theme in skating like James Bond, they kept it fresh, innovative and interesting. I loved their free program last year too. These guys are really going from strength to strength. Choreographed by Carol Lane and Juris Razguliaevs. (The video should start in the right place. If it doesn’t go to 7:53.)

Fournier-Beaudry/Sorensen – “Spanish Caravan” by The Doors; “Hush” and  “Asturias” performed by by Marcin Patrzalek. I have to admit that I’ve been a bit “meh” about their free dances in the past but this one really captured my imagination. Maybe it’s the skirt? He looks pretty great too. But no, it’s more than that. I think this is such a well thought out program: it uses the music so well and it really suits them. The opening lift is pretty fabulous too. And come to mention it, the pair spin is really a highlight. I am quite excited to see their debut as a Canadian dance pair soon! Program choreographed by Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon.

Hurtado/Khaliavin – “Don Quixote” by Minkus. LOVED THIS! I really enjoy watching it every time. They both look great in this program and another pair spin highlight! To me, this program is spaced nicely – it doesn’t seem cluttered and it has flow. It gives the movement room to breath, if that makes sense. And can I just draw attention to her hands? I am just so happy that both Sara and Kirill are still skating and it just happens to be together. Antonio Najarro, Alexander Zhulin and Sergei Petukhov did the choreography.

Hubbell/Donohue – Across the Sky”, Instrumental by Rag’n’Bone Man; “Caught Out in the Rain” by Beth Hart. This is good stuff. The music is terrific and they express it so well. These guys really came out this year prepared to make a move, I feel. They put together a really great overall look and equally strong programs that both really seems to suit them with the mix of soft and hard. And now that Scott isn’t going to be competing, I think Zach is maybe my guy. It’s hard to know for sure. I guess we’ll see. Choreographed by Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon and G. Cournoyer.

Soucisse/Firus – “I Won’t Dance” by Oscar Hammerstein II and “Cheek To Cheek” by Irving Berlin, performed by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. In the other reviews, I’ve confined myself to five favourites but I can’t do that this time. I have to include these guys because I love this program as much as any other here. It just dances! The whole time! It’s so musical and it all works. I can agree commentator Mark Hanretty: it is fantastically well choreographed. Marie-France Dubreuil, Romain Haguenauer choreographed.


Well, out with the old and in with the new now! Rhythm dances and sliding features here we come.


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