The Grand Prix events held overseas convincingly showed that the first two positions in ice dancing are firmly occupied by the same teams that dictated ice dancing style for the past three seasons — the Canadians Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir and Meryl Davis/Charlie White of the U.S.
Both teams experienced quite a shock in the summer, when the famous coaching duo Igor Shpilband and Marina Zoueva had split. Zoueva/Shpilband tandem had coached these teams to gold and silver at the Olympic Games in 2010 in Vancouver, and then three more times at the three consequent World Championships. After the coaches had split up, the athletes stayed with Marina.
This is prehistory that explains the incredible impatience with which the whole figure skating world awaited these two teams' performances in the new season.
To discuss points, levels, and speed of athletes now, when the season has just started, is quite useless. So let's talk about something else. About Carmen. Program, choreographed by Marina Zoueva for the Olympic champions and two-time world champions Virtue/Moir.
First impression after watching the program was strange. Maybe it's because TV never adequately shows speed or dance pattern on the ice. Or maybe perception was slightly affected by the fact that when you hear the word "Carmen" (probably the most overdone theme in figure skating), you automatically expect its obligatory attributes: red dress, skirt flapping, foot stomping and in general, the female partner showing off her power over a random man.
Tessa and Scott's dance was nothing like that. It was wild, almost animal passion - sometimes almost over the top. Just, to be able to properly see it, you have to get rid of all the stereotypes.
And I started the video for a second time.
The famous Hollywood director Zalman King, who directed the scandalous "Wild Orchid" more than twenty years ago, once said in an interview something along these lines: a true passion in real life rarely looks attractive to the audience. And the most difficult for the director planning to portray a love story is to make erotic scenes look beautiful and authentic. The line between beautiful and vulgar in art is too thin.
The dance choreograped by Zoueva is balancing on this line from the beginning to the end. It is packed with non-random gestures and the most complex, unexpected, specially contrived elements, that will became stronger and stronger as the program gets more mileage. Now one cannot fully appreciate it — there are too many little mistakes, but I have no doubt that Virtue/Moir's "Carmen" will became a main event at the World Championships in London, Canada.
Only now, after the premiere, it's clear that for many years Zoueva masterfully led Tessa and Scott to their "Carmen" as an experienced director leads already established big actors for the main role in their lives. Such programs usually make you think with mild annoyance: "Why now, why not in the Olympic year?" Perhaps there is also hidden reasoning behind, I can, of course, be wrong, but I believe that in case of perfect skate of such a great program no other ice dancing team in the world could came close to the Canadians. And in this case, it is unlikely that judges will have any doubt as to who should become a world champion this year and win the Olympics the next.
Immediately after Shpilband and Zoueva had parted, most voiced in the press comments boiled down to the conclusion that the termination of their collaboration will negatively affect the skaters. And thanks to that, others will get a chance to close the gap to the leaders.
"Carmen", choreographed by Zoueva for the Olympic champions, suggests rather the opposite. That if a strong and confident woman wants to prove something to somebody, she will do it. No matter how much effort it will cost.
In fact, the dance that has shaken up the world of ice dance is about this, too ...