Tuesday, December 21, 2010

better than bolero

30 Days of Skating

Day 7: What is your favourite dance program?

Just to clarify, for these "favourite program" questions, I'm only including competitive programs. I'll get to show and professional programs later. And I was going to pick an original dance and a free dance to highlight in this post, but it was too hard to pick between my two favourite free dances, so I just went with those. Coincidentally, they're both from 2006, the season that I really fell in love with ice dance as a whole, instead of just liking specific teams.

As an ice dance fan, I sometimes feel obligated to think that Torvill & Dean's "Bolero" is the greatest free dance ever. It's kind of an accepted fact in the skating world. However, while I'm a big fan of "Bolero" and recognize that it was a fantastic program and the advances that it brought to dance in 1984, I don't think it was the best program ever. I think that Marie-France Dubreuil & Patrice Lauzon's "Somewhere in Time" was the best dance program ever, and it's also one of my favourites.

I love this program. It's probably the skating program I re-watch most often, usually when I've had a bad day, accompanied by a pint of expensive ice cream. And it always makes me cry. Sometimes it gets me right at the beginning on the totem lift, but more often than not, I'll make it through most of the program, thinking that I'm going to hold it in this time, and then those gorgeous moments right before the dance spin towards the end set me off. I just find it to be so exquisite, so genuine, so moving.

It's funny—I saw this program live at Canadians, but barely remember it. My mind was on something else that day, I guess. But the Worlds performance, though watched from Jules' living room and not from the arena in Calgary, is something I remember down to the second. In ESPN's finest hour, they showed 3 entire groups of the free dance live, and I drove over to Jules' for the big event. Her parents watched it with us, and we were so nervous. When MF&P skated, we were clinging to each other, crying the whole time, and when it cut to commercial between the end of their skate and the marks, I just kept saying, "That had it be enough, it had to be, they did it, they had to."

In the end, of course, they were just shy of gold, but you can't possibly convince me that they didn't deserve the title. It was the perfect competitive performance, to me, and years from now, I think I'll look back on it and still say the same.

My other favourite program is a tango, and I love a good tango. While I wouldn't go so far as to say that Megan Wing & Aaron Lowe's "Story of the Tango" is the best tango program ever, it's my favourite, and I think I explained why just a few posts ago.

I love their investment in this choreography, and the way it fits them so well and comes so naturally—the above performance isn't their best skate of this dance (that came at the Olympics, which isn't on Youtube), but it was incredible because the dance was only something like 6 weeks old. The whole thing is fantastic, but the last minute...just wow. So fierce.

I like almost every program they ever did, and I probably even love over half of their programs, but this one surpassed all the rest the first time that I saw it. Jules, Jen, and I skipped over half of the men's short program so we could go to the practice rink, because we wanted to see this dance before the competition. Even just in practice, we knew it was the perfect choice for them.

Honourable mentions, free dances:
Punsalan & Swallow's 97-98 FD to "Oblivion" - probably the most undermarked program ever
Rahkamo & Kokko's 93-94 FD to La Strada - my very first favourite dance team and for most of my life, I loved their Beatles FD more, but upon rewatching recently, I think I'm going to go with La Strada. Also, it's the only Fellini program that doesn't make me want to hurl.
Wilson & McCall's 87-88 "Elite Syncopations" FD - also undermarked, but at least they won an Olympic medal with this!
Bourne & Kraatz's 96-97 "High Society" FD - best program they ever did, and there are a ton of their programs that I loved.
Davis & White's 08-09 FD to Samson et Dalila - best thing they have ever done. Even better than Bollywood.
Virtue & Moir's Umbrellas of Cherbourg FD in 07-08 - I go back and forth with whether I love this one or "Valse Triste" more, but today, it's Umbrellas. I was standing at the boards for its debut, and that's a moment I'll never forget.
P├ęchalat & Bourzat's Circus FD in 08-09 - Love it a little more every time I watch it.
Harvey & Gagnon's Chaplin FD from 09-10 - their performance at Canadians of this is my favourite non-Olympic moment of last season, just because I wasn't expecting the crowd to react as strongly as they did, so it's a sentimental favourite. Here's a link if you missed it last year.
Botsford & Botsford's 07-08 FD to "Ramalama (Bang Bang)" - yep, I just picked a pre-novice free dance. Seriously, it blew my mind when I saw it the first time!
Crone & Poirier's 10-11 FD to "Eleanor Rigby" - favourite free dance of the year, at least so far. Totally brilliant. Thank you, Christopher Dean.

Honourable mentions, original dances:
Dubreuil & Lauzon's "Payadora" tango OD in 06-07 - probably my favourite OD ever. Definitely the best tango OD ever.
Torvill & Dean's Paso Doble OSP in 83-84 - I usually just call this "THE Paso."
Bourne & Kraatz's 00-01 OD to "Jumpin' Jack" and "Hey Big Spender" - yes. Just yes. Especially the "Jumpin' Jack" parts. Probably the best pre-CoP midline ever.
Girard & Pelletier's 09-10 Bollywood OD - This is the best Bollywood of the season last year! Just...not enough people paid attention to them for it to get the notice it deserved. So watch the performance from Canadians now, although they skated it better at Challenge, I think.
Wing & Lowe's 02-03 Strauss OD - my favourite OD of theirs. So pretty and floaty in the waltz, and then I love the footwork in the march. And the gold dress just tops it off. One of the best dance dresses ever.
Virtue & Moir's "Assassination Tango" OD in 06-07 - what a way to burst on the senior scene! This was gorgeous.
Gilles & Donohue's Swing OD in 08-09 - random, I know, but the way they skated this at their first competition together in Lake Placid made me think they were going to be national champions someday. That didn't exactly work out, but I still love this dance.

I feel like I'm forgetting something huge, so please alert me if I did. If not, then, until tomorrow!

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