This year the Skating Club of Boston's annual show took place in a new venue, the Walter Brown Arena on the Boston University campus. But the format was the same as in past years, with the same program of group numbers featuring skaters of all ages and skill levels. The theme this year was "Hollywood On Ice", which seemed kind of old and tired to me, but for the most part the purpose of these numbers is just to give a lot of kids (and adults, too) a chance to dress up in a costume and perform with their friends, rather than to showcase particularly original themes or choreography.
While some of the group numbers this year seemed especially cheesy to me -- at one point, a skate mom seated near me announced, "I'm *so* embarassed for our children!" -- I thought the most entertaining were the ones featuring the youngest skaters, "101 Dalmations" (the puppy costumes were really cute!) and "Snow White" (featuring a gazillion Snow Whites and seven very tiny boys as the dwarves). Of the skaters who had step-out solos in the group numbers, I was most impressed by Brittney Rizo, who landed a triple toe under the spotlights. Other featured skaters included Janessa Cammarata, Alexandra Volpicelli, Ross Miner, Brooke Frieling & Buck Withrow, Kylie Gleason, Young-In Bae, and Peter Kozodoy.
My notes on the soloists are pretty sketchy, partly because I was trying to take photos the entire time, and partly because I'm hopeless at identifying the pop music most of them were skating to. (It all kind of sounds the same to me.) By complete chance, I ended up sitting next to Sarah Ramer during the show, and I have to thank her for filling in some of the music details. You can read Sarah's own review of the show here.
Courtney Mozuch (4th in juvenile at nationals) skated a show program that didn't leave much of an impression on me. My recollection is that she did only double jumps.
Stephen Carriere (4th in novice at nationals) also skated a show program. I didn't get any jump notes at all on him, but my memory is that he went for a triple lutz but took a fall on it. Every time I've seen Stephen skate lately, I get the sense that he has some natural sense of performing ability and musical interpretation, but that he still needs a lot of work on the technical aspects of the presentation mark to make it work.
Jane Summersett & Elliot Pennington (2nd in novice at nationals) skated what I think was their free dance from this past season. They looked quite good to me, with nice lifts, etc.
The first of the invited guest skaters was Miki Ando. She skated the same "Carmen Jones" program that was televised from the Worlds exhibitions, and to tell the truth, I was underwhelmed. She doesn't project the in-your-face attitude this character demands, and in fact I thought she looked a little tentative and sluggish throughout. Maybe the combination of spotlights, short ice due to the backdrop at the end of the rink, and chewed-up ice surface from all the group numbers all contributed to that. In any case, she did a triple lutz and double axel and I think at least one other jump I didn't write down.
Michael Weiss closed the first act with a shortened version of his military free skate, skated in the same outfit. Jumps were 3z, 3t, 3z fall out, and 3f out of his "Mike Pike". Well, it was a relief to see him do some real skating instead of his usual gimmicky show program, but OTOH I've seen this program so many times already it doesn't have much interest for me any more. Plus the whole concept of the program was pretty cheesy to begin with.
In the second act, Katie Thordarson (12th in junior at nationals) skated to "Flying Without Wings", according to Sarah. She's a very aggressive, powerful skater even if her posture (etc.) is a little rough, and she landed a nice triple toe and triple salchow.
Samantha Cepican & Phillip Lichtor (9th in junior at nationals) skated their original dance from this past season, a medley of a slow Elvis ballad and a faster jive, with all the twizzles and other required elements. It was quite enjoyable.
Jessica Houston (7th in junior at nationals) had an unusually bad outing, with nasty falls on both the triple salchow and toe loop. I'm guessing she will probably stay junior another year. The problem isn't just the jumps, but that she doesn't have the power of a senior lady yet, and she still "skates young". She skated to "Frozen".
Emily Naphtal (Mexican junior champ) skated to a GFB. She attempted only double jumps, but she had good flow over the ice and nice field moves, and her international competition experience shows in her confidence on the ice.
Senior lady Carly Milden skated a slinky jazz program with a lot of character. The only jump I have written down for her is a triple salchow, but maybe I missed some when I was trying to take photos.
Kristen Tudisco, also a senior lady, skated a show program that didn't make much of an impression on me. Her jumps were 'tano 2r, badly cheated 2x, and equally badly cheated 3s.
Jason Wong was, for me, the highlight of the entire show. His jumps were 2x, 3r, and 3z, but aside from the jumps, I appreciated the smoothness and ease of his in-between skating, his good carriage and positions, and the quality of his field moves. According to Sarah, his music was Coldplay's "The Scientist". I haven't heard if he is going to move up to senior this year, or not; I could see him going either way at this point, depending on how his triple axel is coming along.
Louann Donovan skated a program to a GFB that followed the all-too-common pattern from her of late -- started out with a couple nice jumps, but then started popping everything once she made a mistake. At least this time I didn't get the sense that she was giving up on the choreography as well.
Hilary Gibbons & Justin Pekarek skated a show program (according to Sarah, Josh Groban's "You're Still You") that included a lot of solo skating from each of them as well as some really nice lifts. This was probably their last public performance (they announced their retirement last month), so it was a bittersweet moment. BTW, Justin also skated in at least two of the group numbers in the second half. One of them was the ice theatre group that included a huge number of skaters of varying levels of ability, and he was just trying to blend in with the crowd, until the end when the skaters all broke out into spirals and of course Justin's was unmistakably glorious both in terms of position and edge quality! He had more of a featured role in "Cell Block Tango", as the only guy with a bunch of girls fawning all over him.
Scott Smith was next with a show program which I think I've seen before -- "Black Balloon". Jumps were 2x, 3s with a step out, 3t. I thought his speed and edge quality were at least respectable in this program, but I was really distracted by the stiffness of his upper body and hands throughout. Jumps aside, I think Jason Wong has already passed Scott in terms of basic skating quality, and in looking less "junior"-ish.
Loren Galler-Rabinowitz & David Mitchell skated a show program to "Minnie the Moocher", complete with a feather boa that shed on the ice. Every time I've seen this team this season, I've felt that Loren has outgrown David (I think she has to be taller than the 5'1" listed on her USFSA bio, plus she's no stick figure any more), and as a result they often seem to be struggling with their lifts. I'm not sure if the rest of their skating technique will improve enough to allow them to compensate for that as some of the other elite teams who don't have a big height differential to work with have done in the past.
Katie Orscher & Garrett Lucash skated a show program to a techno version of the Albinoni "Adagio", which seemed to me to be a lot of tricks strung together without much thought given to how they connect or relate to the music. The Detroiter seemed particularly randomly thrown in, for example. Technically, the highlight was a bang-on throw triple salchow, and there was only one of the lifts where I feared for Katie's safety.
Miki Ando's second number was to "Claire de Lune", and she seemed more comfortable with this than with her first program. This music calls for more of an introspective and abstract interpretation, rather than a character-based one. I was a bit distracted by having to change my camera battery midway through her performance, but the jumps I have written down for her are 2x, 3s/2t, 3s.
Finally, the moment I'd been dreading ever since I'd heard Michael Weiss was going to be the featured star of the show this year -- I just *knew* he was going to do a program full of his usual gimmicks and striptease schtick. But why did he have to rip his shirt open and pose and mug right in front of the section where I was sitting in the second row, trying to cover my eyes in a futile effort to avoid the horror of it all? Why? Why? :-P He also did his "Tornado" messily landed on all fours (at least he didn't crack his skull open, which seemed like a definite possibility), a 3t, 3z with a step out, a regular back flip, and a spread eagle on his heels. The thing that irritates me so much is that Mike is a better skater than this. See, I don't find this contrived stripping and hip thrusting and leering at the audience sexy at all. To me, sexy skating is deep growly edges, effortless speed, and thoughtful choreography that makes use of the skater's entire body and shows off their posture, positions, stretch, and dance ability. And I think Mike is capable of doing all that, and doing it well.
Anyway, that was the end of the show. It was a pretty long afternoon of skating (3+ hours?), and Michael Weiss aside, well worth the $20 admission. Looking back, I thought the highlights of the show were the local skaters rather than the invited stars, anyway; I especially enjoyed Jason Wong and the various ice dance teams. I feel lucky to live in an area where there's this much talent.
I apologize for not getting good photos of all the soloists this time!
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