1998 Simsbury Holiday Ice Show

I saw the Friday night performance of the annual holiday show at the ISCC in Simsbury. Like most of the Simsbury shows, this one featured a mix of competitive skaters from the rink, pro skaters in residence there, and a few visiting guests -- this time, Yuka Sato & Jason Dungjen, and Elena Bechke & Denis Petrov.

The show opened with a group number set to "Let It Snow", which started out with some of the younger skaters from the rink, and ended with most of the soloists coming out to do a trick or two. Yuka & Jason did a lift and a death spiral, Evgenia Shishkova & Vadim Naumov did a triple twist and a death spiral, Elena Bechke & Denis Petrov did an adagio lift, Katia Gordeeva did some footwork and a butterfly, and Viktor Petrenko came out carrying his daughter Victoria, who had skates on and was encouraged to stand up and skate very tentatively on her own. I believe that two of the other very young children in this number belonged to April and John Thomas.

After this, novice lady Heather Garrity skated to a vocal version of the "Mulan" song (she was using the instrumental version as her short program this season, and recycled the costume). Colette Appel & Adam Kaplan, a novice pair team, skated what had to be their short program to "Swing Swing Swing", and then senior lady Cheryl Smith skated to a GFB I couldn't identify in a dark blue dress.

Yuka & Jason were next. I neglected to write down anything about their music but as I recall it was something fairly gentle and slow-paced. Their skating was also a little slow, but very smooth and flowy, and they had surprisingly good unison. For someone who had no previous pairs experience, Yuka has picked it up very well and she seemed very secure through the pair elements. On everything else she's obviously a much better skater than Jason, but she manages to make him look good. Elements included a fairly basic platter-type lift, a throw triple salchow, a dance lift, double axels, a lasso lift, and back outside death spiral.

Evelyn Kong, the club skater who won novice ladies at New Englands and Easterns was next, skating her long program. She didn't do too badly, falling on her triple salchow but landing two double axels. I admit I find her skating completely unremarkable, though.

Elena Bechke & Denis Petrov skated to "Liebestraum" next. I had a hard time taking notes on this because they did very few recognizable pair moves -- a lot of dance lifts and pivots and adagio-type moves. They did do a throw triple loop and side-by-side double flips in this program as well.

Viktor Petrenko skated to "Harlem Nocturne" dressed as a waiter. I'm not sure if I've ever seen this program before. Jumps were two double axels and a triple toe. Lots of miming of carrying a tray around, wiping glasses, opening a bottle, and the like. This program had reasonable ice coverage and real skating in between the jumps, not just wiggling and posing.

Evgenia Shishkova & Vadim Naumov skated to a show version of their "Ave Maria" program. The first half of the program consisted mostly of dance lifts. Throw triple toe loop was nicely landed, and they also did a hip lift, forward inside death spiral, and a pair spin.

Katia Gordeeva closed the first act with her "Bachianas Brasilieras #5" program from last season. She seems to be struggling a lot with her jumps this season, only doing a double toe loop and coming out of her double axel about a quarter rotation short and on two feet. This is a really lovely program, though.

The second half started with Adam Kaplan doing his short program from novice men this year.

After that, Jaisa MacAdam & Garrett Lucash skated a show program to a GFB. Lots of adagio moves, including the "detroiter of love" and a swing where she was being held by her knees. I guess this is now the #1-ranked junior pair team in the US, but Jaisa seems to be growing both up and out and I'm beginning to wonder if she is going to outgrow her partner before much longer.

After this, there was another group number featuring most of the novice through senior ladies from the rink with Benjamin Oberman as "Santa Baby". The skating was pretty lightweight but Benjy handled the comedy well and it was entertaining.

Jessica Roos, another senior lady who skates at Simsbury, was up next with an instrumental version of "Silent Night" by Mannheim Steamroller.

Then it was the dance team of Emily Nussear & Brandon Forsyth in yellow and black costumes, skating a disco latin piece. Is this part of their free dance? It ended very abruptly. I noticed that he was doing all the footwork while she posed a lot.

Yuka Sato skated a solo number in a black feather-trimmed sweater and satin skirt. I think the song was called "Crazy People". Two double axels and a triple salchow, plus effective spins and circular footwork.

Shishkova & Naumov were back with a program that I think is new. Latin music, green outfits with red and yellow ruffles. Vadim wore black velvet pants with a fringe and sequins down the sides. Elements included a throw triple toe loop which Evgenia was barely able to land on her toe, their flip-up lift, and a bunch of adagio moves.

Katia Gordeeva skated her "Fragile" program from SOI. Again, she two-footed the double axel, and she also dropped out of her double lutz a half rotation short. This program really has some amazing footwork sections in it.

Elena Bechke & Denis Petrov skated their Led Zeppelin program from last year's SOI, but Denis seemed to have lost his leather pants and was just wearing ordinary black ones instead. Again, very few traditional pair moves in this program, and lots of acrobatics instead. Very well skated, with a lot of flair.

Viktor Petrenko closed out the show with his Michael Jackson medley. This time he did two double axels and two triple toes -- this seems to be pretty much the extent of his jump repertoire these days. In the closing number when the skaters all came out to do a trick he did try throwing a triple axel but didn't really come close to landing it. Of course he might do better when he isn't skating in show conditions under spotlights.

A couple other random notes:

Before the show, Vadim Naumov was hanging out in the rink lobby by himself for perhaps 10 or 15 minutes waiting for someone, and during that time it seemed that absolutely nobody recognized him. After the show, though, I did see that he and Evgenia were nabbed by some autograph-seekers on their way out.

Viktor seems to have more hair than in the not-too-distant past -- no more bald spot. I'm not sure if it's a wig or Rogaine or some other treatment. And Jason Dungjen has shaved off his goatee again.

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