Ice Theatre of New York Fall 2000 Show

I attended the October 3, 2000 show by the Ice Theatre of New York. This was a slightly abbreviated version of the shows they were going to put on later in the week, which would have different guest stars and include two more ensemble pieces revived from last year's shows ("Tango Images" and "Cabaret Manana"). The guest skaters at the show I saw were Yuka Sato and Jason Dungjen, Donald Jackson, and Lucinda Ruh.

Obligatory disclaimers about the photos on this page:

My camera isn't really up to taking action photos under theatrical lighting, so some of these are a bit blurry and/or dark. I wasn't able to get photos of some parts of the show where the lighting was just too dark. Spotlights are just too hard for my wimpy camera to deal with, too. And, as you can see, they left the hockey glass up for this show.

Photos are Copyright (c) 2000, Sandra J. Loosemore, and are provided for personal viewing only.

Thanks to Sylvia Yu for helping me to identify all the skaters.

Click on the thumbnails to see bigger versions of the photos.

The first piece on the program was Appalachia Waltz, choreographed by Doug Webster and JoAnna Mendl Shaw. This was a piece they'd originally done back in 1997, with Doug partnering Judy Blumberg in the principal roles, but in this performance Tian Yi Zhang was featured instead. The other skaters were Josh Babb, DJ Gray, Kim Navarro, and Susan Pereira.

Most of the dance is structured with the six skaters forming three couples, with a few parts where they do things as a group or break into threes instead of twos.

Here Tian Yi is lifted by DJ and Josh, towards the end of the first section of the dance. This is followed by an extended duet for Tian Yi and Doug, to the slow section of the music; I didn't get any good photos because of the subdued lighting.
Near the beginning of the third section of the dance, with the skaters in a circle formation.
Next they broke into couples, and skated some Kilian-like steps. After this there was a bit where the women did solo spins while their partners circled them, and the three couples did dance lifts in unison.
Ending pose. The skaters are (left-to-right): Tian Yi and Doug, Kim and Josh, Susan and DJ.

Next Lucinda Ruh skated to "Mercy", choreographed by Robin Cousins. Sorry, no pictures, since she was skating under spotlights. She was wearing a blue unitard with some red bits on it. (See the photo below, from the closing of the show.) She opened the program with a double toe/double toe combination with a noticible wrap, but it was pretty clear that the jumps weren't going to be the focus of her skating. She did a layback spin, a flying camel, a combination spin, her sideways-leaning sitspin, a mushroom spin, and finally two back scratch spins -- I wondered if that was intentional, because it looked like she kind of aborted out of the first one before it really got going. She also had an ina bauer and a spread eagle in there somewhere.

Next Yuka Sato & Jason Dunjgen skated what is almost certainly going to be their short program for pro-am competitions this season. The music was from the slow movement of the Rachmaninoff piano concerto #2. They opened with side-by-side triple toe loops, then did a double twist directly into a throw triple loop (I think) where Yuka had a step-out on the landing. Their lift was a fairly simple back press lift. I really enjoy this team; Yuka looks very comfortable with the pairs elements, and their unison and positions and flow are excellent.

After this, Donald Jackson skated. I didn't note down what his music was, but as I recall it was some generic show-tune type thing. He did a tuck axel and a series of double jumps that looked two-footed to me, but what really struck me was that he really moved on the ice, doing a lot of footwork, etc. He finally slowed down enough for me to get a photo that didn't come out hopelessly blurred when he was taking his bows.

The next piece on the program was The Draughtsman's Contract, with music by Michael Nyman and choreography by Elisa Monte. The skaters were David Liu, Tian Yi Zhang, Josh Babb, Susan Pereira, Mathew Gates, Kim Navarro, DJ Gray, and Darlin Baker. They were dressed in red and purple, wearing masks.

While "Appalachia Waltz" was pretty clearly structured as a dance for three couples, this dance was structured more for eight individuals. They started out skating as a group, then split into couples and switched partners a couple times, working in more or less a circular formation.

At this point the four women moved to the center of the circle, then they moved back out and the men came to center instead.
Here are the four men in another formation. Front-to-back, Josh, Mathew, David, and DJ.

After this, there was a series of lifts in the center, and a section where David Liu was leaping around the rest of the group. Then they paired up again, doing dance lifts before switching partners and doing another lift. It was slightly amusing seeing David having to lift Darlin, who is bigger than he is!

This is near the end of the piece.
Here the skaters are moving into the closing pose.
The cast taking their bows. The ladies (left-to-right) are Susan, Darlin, Tian Yi, and Kim; and the men are Josh, DJ, David, and Mathew.

Next Yuka Sato did a solo program. Again, no pictures because the lighting was too dim. She was wearing a purple dress with a beaded top, and the music was of the genre that seems to be popular with a lot of ice dancers nowadays -- something new-age sounding, with a heavy beat and a female vocal. This is probably going to be a program that she uses in pro competitions this season.

Her jumps were triple loop, triple toe, double axel, and triple salchow. She also did a bunch of spins and a straight-line footwork sequence, and ended the program by gliding off the ice. She looked really "on" and well-trained -- not too surprising, since she was going directly from this show to a pro competition.

After this, David Liu skated a piece called "Rituals in 7's", which he choreographed himself in collaboration with Joanna Mendl Shaw. The music was primarily heavy percussion.

The program started out with David carrying out a briefcase onto the ice, out of which he extracted a pair of red gloves which he put on. There were not too many standard skating moves in this program -- the only jump I noted down was a split loop, plus he did a couple spins. The rest of the program was footwork, and various kinds of dance movements, and at a couple points he would slide backwards on his stomach and pull himself up again onto his feet. At the end of the program, he grabbed the briefcase and did the same kind of slide on that.

The final piece on the program was Sweet Spring, an extended ensemble piece choreographed by Doug Webster to some gentle-sounding music by Mark O'Connor. Tian Yi Zhang had a featured role in this piece, and the other skaters were Josh Babb, Darlin Baker, Mathew Gates, DJ Gray, Kitty Kelly, Kim Navarro, Susan Pereira, and Doug Webster.

I thought this piece was the highlight of the evening. Fortunately, it was also the most well-lit of the evening, so I was able to get some good photos.

The piece started out with the five women skating in the center before being joined by the four men. At this point, they have paired up, except for Tian Yi in the yellow dress at the left.
Next Tian Yi skated a solo part.
The rest of the group returned, then each of the other women in turn approached Tian Yi. (This is Darlin Baker.) After this, there was another section for the five women, where they each did spins.
Next Tian Yi skated a duet with Kitty Kelly.
The five women together again: Kitty, Tian Yi, Darlin, Susan, and Kim.
After this, there was a section where Tian Yi skated with the four men, and they did a series of lifts. Here she is being lifted by Josh and DJ while Mathew and Doug look on.
Next there was a section where everyone but Kitty was back on the ice, with the four women in the center. (DJ with back to camera, Josh in the rear.)
Here's a wide-angle shot of the same sequence.
Kitty returned carrying a large scarf....
.... which she presented to Tian Yi.
Tian Yi with the scarf. It would have been nice if the program booklet had included some notes on the choreography for the pieces in the show, because I was left wondering what the significance of the scarf was, and what Tian Yi was trying to portray or represent.
Bows at the end of the program. Left to right: Darlin, Doug, Susan, Josh, Tian Yi in front, Kitty, DJ, Kim, Mathew.

Donald Jackson returns to take his bows at the end of the show.
Each of the featured soloists did a trick or two. Here's Lucinda Ruh doing a headless back scratch spin.
David Liu, sans briefcase this time.
Yuka Sato & Jason Dungjen do a back outside death spiral.
ITNY director Moira North (with the microphone) came out to give a little speech at the end. She's joined by Doug Webster, Judy Blumberg, and Nancy Streeter.
Moira introduced Sonya (Klopfer) & Peter Dunfield, who were the honorees at the benefit dinner following the show. Here they are joined by Yuka Sato, who is probably Peter's best-known student.
Another group shot of the skaters with the VIPs. Moira, Sonya & Peter Dunfield in the front. Back row: David, Lucinda, Darlin, (Nancy Streeter turned away), Susan, Doug & Judy, Tian Yi, Kim, Donald, Yuka & Jason. Guys: Josh (tallest), DJ, Mathew (hidden).

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