Friday the weather had suddenly changed from „cold, but wonderfully sunny“ to a mixture of snow and rain (luckily turning more into snow most of the time), so we didn’t mind that there wasn’t time for any sightseeing, since the competition started relatively early on Friday. In order to prepare for a weather like today, I had bought a brand new umbrella directly before Worlds, which I put to his first and only use today, because I immediately forgot it inside the rink when we left for the break between afternoon and evening event 😛 Of course it was gone when we came back to the rink in the evening (I always lose all my umbrellas, but losing it on the first ever usage is still a new record).
This morning we accidently found the tram number 7 that we had searched for 2 days earlier, so we took this instead of a train and therefor got a few more impressions from the city.
The afternoon competition was the Short Dance (which is a sort of combination of the former Compulsory Dances and former Original Dance), which S. and I had had mixed feelings about. Ice Dance has been my favorite discipline in the past (with my favorites having been Teams like Grishuk & Platov, Bestemianova & Bukin, Klimova & Ponomarenko, Rahkamo & Kokko, Fusar Poli & Margaglio, Chait & Sakhnovsky, Navka & Kostomarov, Lobacheva & Averbukh and many more). I used to love the costumes, the drama, the personalities of the top stars, the rivalries, the spectacular dramatic programs and much more. But over the last few years, for me ice dance has become a rather technical and formalized discipline and somehow together with that also the programs, music choices and skater personalities seem to have morphed into a bland „competent and technically strong normalcy“ that leads to everbody sort of looking and skating the same to me. Also for me the „dancing“ aspect seems to be getting smaller.
Even though S. and I had been to Nebelhorn Trophy earlier in the season, we had managed to forget what the mandatory music of the Short Dance was going to be and I joked to S. that probably it would be some really weird and unlikely combination, like „Blues and Hip Hop“. When we saw the first pair on the ice, I realized that this probably hadn’t been a random idea of myself, but a memory from Nebelhorn coming out of my subconsciousness 😀 , since the first couple directly skated to a combination of Blues and … Hip Hop (and they weren’t going to be the only ones). I concluded after some couples that the mandatory music was „Blues, in combination with anything to wake up the audience“. Now I don’t have anything against Blues (I even bought a Blues album from Melissa Etheridge recently and enjoyed it), but it is a music genre that I only can listen to in small doses usually. And it’s a music that I’ve never liked much when it’s used for skating programs (male skaters tend to like to use it especially for exhibitions). So sitting through 32 or something Short Dances that all consisted of 50% Blues music was a bit … dragging 😀 Most of the teams started with Blues and then chose some upbeat music in the 2nd half (usually something like Swing), the ambitious top skaters brought some variety into that by skating to the upbeat music first and finishing with Blues.
After the Short Dance I really had some difficulties to name any favorites, except for that S. and I both liked the Short Dances from Gilles & Poirier and Chock & Bates, which were exactly the same 2 couples we had already liked at Nebelhorn Trophy.
For me the most exciting thing about the Short Dance was that I found an exhibition of original costumes from Rahkamo & Kokko during a walk around the rink during a break:
In the break between afternoon and evening we went to an Italian Restaurant with good food, but a bit chaotic service, where I had a pizza with chicken, garlic, blue cheese and rucola (having decided against the alternative of „Pizza Finlandia“ with the odd seeming combination of „reindeer, pineapple & salami“).
After a bit of missing enthusiasm for the Short Dance, I was looking forward to the evening event even more, the Ladies LP!
Similarily to the Pairs event, the Long program wasn’t as clean overall as the short program, but nonetheless a very good competition. Of the earlier groups the absolute highlight was Mai Miharas skate to „Cinderella“, which was absolutely perfect and engaging and brought her from 15th place to 5th place overall.
I also liked the music choice of Xiangning Li from China, who skated to „Princess Mononoke“ (another lady did as well, but I forgot who it was). Ivett Toth from Hungary actually made some mistakes and had a rough skate, but her program was so good, that I still managed to enjoy the choreography a lot.
Another cute program choice was Laurine Lecaveliers skate to a „Grease“ Medley. She’s a very talented skater from France, who has an engaging individual style.
Unfortunately in the LP Anna Pogorilaya managed to bomb in a quite spectactular way, with several hard falls, which left her completely desperate after the LP (and brought her from 4th place to 13th overall). But at least she even manages to bomb with more entertainment and drama than any other skater I’ve seen before 😉 and she got a lot of support from the audience.
Evgenia Medvedeva on the other hand was completely perfect and seems pretty invincible, also her LP to „Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close“ (I’ve read the book, which is REALLY recommendable) was wonderfully choreographed and she managed to interpret the very serious topic (the book and movie is about the terror attacks on the World Trade Center) very convincingly. She pretty much was in a class of her own.
The two Canadian Girls managed to hang on to silver and bronze, which was a really nice surprise. I especially like Gabrille Daleman, who might not be the most spectacular skater ever, but she has a lovely style and did deliver so well at this World Championships. Carolina Kostner also had a rather good skate again and managed to end up on a very respectable 6th place.
If I had to choose a favorite from the LP, I’d probably go with Mai Mihara: