Ice Dancing to the Rhythm

VGThuy

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Let's say you, as a dedicated or even casual ice dance fan, needed to provide "textbook" or just your favorite examples of some performances/dancers/programs that you feel best represent specific rhythms for some sort of presentation for an ecclectic audiences of varying amounts of dance knowledge and interests. Which ones would you choose for each one?

Here are my top three* for each rhythm** (with or without the "pattern dances"):

*Keep in mind I only chose from a pool that I've exposed myself to and I don't pretend to have exhaustive knowledge of all the best dance programs, so this may be "top team" biased.

**Also, since FSU only allows you to post five (5) media links per posts, I'm going to start off with the waltzes for my first two posts.

Waltz (Viennese or other) Solo

1. Marina Klimova/Sergei Ponomarenko's 1987 OSP that became "The Golden Waltz" compulsory dance aka the gold standard: This has never been surpassed. They not only invented what could be the most difficult compulsory dance, but they performed it to perfection and at a faster tempo than where the CD is set. Most teams even with the advanced technique they are taught now will have a lot of trouble with this dance. Klimova/Ponomarenko made this (and everything else they did) look way too effortless. They were masters of making the extremely difficult look like child's play.


2. Marina Anissina/Gwendal Peizerat's 1999 Worlds OD to "My Sweet and Tender Beast": The perfect waltz, IMO. If I could only show one ice dance program, this one may be it. Marina and Gwendal showed that a waltz could have FIRE and PASSION. From the footwork to extension to flair...perfection in every way. Best video quality linked but the sound only works on the left earbud. Watch other uploaders to get better sound.


3. Suzanne Semanick/Scott Gregory's 1987 "Viennese Waltz" OSP: Check out that entrance! That's how you get the crowd excited for a waltz. This is everything I want in a waltz...they perfectly captured that airy, breezy, sweeping quality while still inputting eye-catching moves to grab the audience's attention.


Hon. Mention

Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje's 2016 SD to "The Blue Danube". This is cheating (you'll see I'll be cheating a lot) as it technically belongs in the next category as there's a march included here, but this is such a beautiful classical, Viennese-style waltz, so I had to include it in this category. I absolutely love this dance and everything about it, including the costumes. Andrew looks the most like a dream prince and Kaitlyn looks expensive!


NEXT UP: The Waltz Combos (Waltzs + another rhythm) aka "Memories of a Grand Ball".
 
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VGThuy

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Waltz Combination aka Grand Ball (waltz + foxtrot, march, or polka) aka mostly the 2016 Worlds Short Dance, apparently, :lol: (what can I say? This is probably the last "SD"/"RD" that I loved).

1. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani's 2016 Worlds "Ravensburger Waltz + March" SD to "Copellia": Perfect steps matching every beat and natural effect of the music (Igor and other coaches for other teams had to add sound effects and other artificial things to make their music match the Ravensburger but here everything is timed perfectly to the music as is (maybe sped up or slowed down, who knows). Observing Maia's perfect arched back, extended neck, bodyline, straight extended leg, and overall finishing is a workshop on its own. Love the way the Shibs do the prescribed steps as written with the right positions as well without cutting corners.


2. Albena Denkova/Maxim Staviski's 2003 European or Worlds OD to Baroque pieces by Lully and Purcell: Though ice dance die-hard fans knew who this team was before, this dance put them on many casual figure skating fans' radar. This baroque theme was something I did not know I wanted, but it turned out that I needed it. This is how you take the waltz theme and push the boundaries while keeping it totally in-character and even "traditional". This was the OD of the season by far.


3. Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron's 2016 Worlds "Ravensburger Waltz + March" SD to "W.E" and Karl Hugo: The opposite of the Shibs. A beautiful, haunting waltz that pushes genres into interpretive dance. A waltz with immense depth and passion that makes you not care so much about anything but what these two artists and dancers are doing on the ice. Side note: This is a dance that I think many previous teams have tried to portray or give off with "Masquerade waltz" but it just never worked for me. What I get from this is what I think fans of "Masquerade Waltz" programs get.


Hon. Mentions

Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier's 2016 "Waltz/March" SD to The Beatles: A lesson on how swallow your pride, move away from a great concept but maybe not great actual program to fix your program for the better. This version may have been less abstract or artsy as the first rendition, but when the second rendition is this good, you don't care about that.


Madison Hubbell/Zach Donohue's 2016 "Waltz/March" SD to K.D. Lang's "Hallelujah": Similar to Papadakis/Cizeron but less airy and otherworldly and more earthy and grounded. Much better than their FD adaptation years later.


I wish I could have found a great quality of their Worlds version, but alas.

What are you waltz and waltz combo choices?

NEXT UP: Samba, Cha Cha, Rhumba, and the Latin American combos!
 
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VGThuy

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For we enter Latin American territory...well...figure skating style of Latin-American. To be honest, outside of the rhumba, I don't know if we've ever yet had an "ideal" Latin American dance (in ice dance) yet. But here is what I feel is the best of what I've seen. First I'll post about Samba/Cha-Cha then the Rhumba, and end on the Latin Combo.

Samba/Cha Cha
(I combined these two because there weren't a lot of YT videos for either)

1. Marina Klimova/Sergei Ponomarenko's 1990 "Samba" OSP: Please forgive the horrible "Casio keyboard" sounding music - the actual dance is amazing and I love the way they sold it. This is why they won Worlds that year despite it being the year of the Duchesnay's "Missing I".


2. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani's revamped from 2012 Nationals-on Samba medley SD (even with a rhumba pattern all the pieces were Samba) to "Batuca"/"The Girl from Ipanema"/"Samba de Janeiro": I know people will laugh at this choice but I bet most people don't even remember it. IMO, the most underrated SD that season. I held on to being an uber of theirs for a reason, and this was one of them.


3. Natalia Bestemianova/Andrei Bukin's 1981 Worlds "Cha Cha" OSP: What they may lack in authentic Latin flavor, they make up in great steps and capturing the character. A good example of even if you got a rhythm that isn't your natural one, work with what you got, give it your best try, and put it on the ice.


Hon Mention:

Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte's 2018's "Cha Cha/Samba" SD to "Kaboom"/"Skip to the Bip"/"1008 Samba": This qualified because despite it having the rhumba pattern, the music was all Cha Cha and Samba. I chose this for being a great display of "ballroom" style. I believe this dance is the reason they climbed back to the final group for the 2018 Olympics and (at least by the numbers) were in contention for a medal after the SD. Honestly, as much as I enjoyed Anna's character, but I believe it was mostly Luca who really sold this dance as I think he was the best Latin dancer of I saw among the many videos I've seen to make this list...well...

Actually, the above isn't true as Maxim Staviski in 2000 was by far the best Latin dancer I saw among the ice dancers I've seen, but he doesn't count as he can dance to any rhythm and make it "porny"; He's the most porny out of the PSOTY recipients...on ice.


Finally, for a bit of cheating, Anjelika Krylova/Vladimir Federov's 1993 "Cha Cha" FD...I don't like the middle "tango" part apart from some of the amazing positions Anjelika contorted her body in (and it shouldn't really count since this category is "samba" and "cha cha" only. Bezic was totally down on this dance as out-dated, and I personally don't know how much actual Cha Cha flavor there was in here in the first and final third of this FD. That being said, I just love the sheer athleticism on display and I can see why they jumped to the medal stands at their Worlds debut! There's so much going on that I had to include it as a recommendation as it makes me miss how ice dance used to be all staccato and quick dance/steps even though "curvier" is "better".


NEXT UP: THE RHUMBA!
 
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VGThuy

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Rhumba

These are all from the 1993-1994 season...sorry.

1. Jayne Torvill/Christopher Dean's 1994 Olympics "Rhumba d'Amour" OD: The Rhumba still remembered by ice dance aficionados. Used the slowest tempo allowed by the ISU. Goes to show you that when it comes to the Rhumba, slower is better. They've been trying to turn this into a CD forever and now pattern dances are dead so...:rolleyes:


2. Maya Usova/Alexander Zhulin's 1994 Olympics "Rhumba" OD: The SEX part 2 [Part 1 coming up later]. Enough said. This is a Rhumba. I almost want to give them gold just for this.


3. Susanna Rahkamo/Petri Kokko's 1994 Olympics "Rhumba" OD: Soft and yet energetic. Fun and eye-catching choreography.

 

VGThuy

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Latin Combo (combination of Meringue, Cha Cha, Samba, Mambo, Rhumba, etc. rhythms)

1. Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir's 2011 Worlds "Latin Medley" Free Dance to "Hip Hip Chin Chin"/"Temptation"/"Mujer Latina": I know I'm cheating here by using a FD but I couldn't place their SD version on this list knowing a superior FD version existed even though they were still recovering from injury this season, which affected the mileage they had with this program and how winded they seemed by the end. However, had they been healthy all season, I'm sure they would have performed the last part all out. I put this on top of the list because it's clear to me this dance has been one of the most influential of the discipline and even outright plagairized.


2. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani 2018 "Mambo/Cha Cha/Samba" SD to Perez Prado aka the best use of the music to required elements and use of all the accents and Prado's grunts. The 8-count first twizzle was the ballsy move of that season.


3. Kati Winkler/Rene Lohse's 2000 "Samba/Rumba/Mambo" OD to various artists: Fantastic adaptation of ice dance to Latin rhythm. This was animal and sexy. I wonder if Krylova/Camerlengo were inspired by this when they did Weaver/Poje's 2012 Latin SD with the "controversial" tiger stripe dress.


Hon. Mentions:

Irina Lobacheva/Ilia Averbukh's 2000 "Latin" OD to "Ritmo de Bom Bom" and "Rhumba de la More" - not sure if this is "good" or "bad" but it was certainly spirited and fun. That opening...I'm not sure if it was cringe or enticing...Ilia put the balls in "ballroom Latin" with those opening gyrations - his look to Irina during the slo-mo replay was worth the watch. I felt like they opened the curtain to give us an obstructed view of their sex life with this dance.


Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje's 2018's "Bolero and Mambo" SD to Dianne Reeves' "Tango" and "Julio Daivel's Big Band's "Do You Only Wanna Dance" aka the SD that seemed like the best display of Latin dance real people would do. Would be higher but I think Morosov's talents was limited and it was all Kaitlin & Andrew who sold this dance. I can see myself entering a Latin club and seeing something akin to this more than most other ice dance Latin programs.


That's it for Latin.

Next up: The Polka! Yea?
 

deegee

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thank you for this thread, @VGThuy !

just wanna put in a plug for del/shoes charleston/slow foxtrot. i think of this dance often when lamenting the steady obliteration of pattern/rhythm dances in ice dance.

i just love how committed they were to the character of each piece of music, not just in artistic presentation/interpretation, but also in the choreographed steps. just the right amount of camp when the music called for it, just the right amount of sultry without outright sex (which del/shoes could never have pulled off anyway 😆).

the ice coverage throughout is incredible, the sheer amount of steps they're doing is mind-boggling, and then the way the transition in the combo lift from rotational to curve with him on one foot and her completely upside down perfectly timed to the musical transition from charleston to foxtrot is just <chef's kiss>.

 

VGThuy

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thank you for this thread, @VGThuy !

just wanna put in a plug for del/shoes charleston/slow foxtrot. i think of this dance often when lamenting the steady obliteration of pattern/rhythm dances in ice dance.

i just love how committed they were to the character of each piece of music, not just in artistic presentation/interpretation, but also in the choreographed steps. just the right amount of camp when the music called for it, just the right amount of sultry without outright sex (which del/shoes could never have pulled off anyway 😆).

the ice coverage throughout is incredible, the sheer amount of steps they're doing is mind-boggling, and then the way the transition in the combo lift from rotational to curve with him on one foot and her completely upside down perfectly timed to the musical transition from charleston to foxtrot is just <chef's kiss>.

Spoiler Alert:

That dance is definitely on one of my lists. ;)
 

VGThuy

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Polka (Solo)

1. Marina Klimova/Sergei Ponomarenko's 1986 "Polka" OSP: Ignore the costumes, this polka is first-rate.


2. Isabelle Delobel/Olivier Schoenfelder 2008 European CD to "Yankee Polka" (this is cheating but whatevs, this is how you perform a CD):


3. Sophie Moniotte/Pascal Lavanchy 1992 "Polka" OD. Thematically, this was my favorite polka I've seen that season. I probably would have placed them in the top 3 after the OD after Klimova/Ponomarenko and Grishuk/Platov...assuming they skated the OD at the Olympics the same way they did at Worlds.


Hon. Mentions:

Stefania Calegari/Pasquale Camerlengo's 1992 Olympics "Polka" OD. After watching a bunch of polka ODs and OSPs, this is the one of the programs I remembered the most. Lots of character and seems very appropriate to the theme even if slow. Superior teams had speed but lacked character.


If you prefer your polkas athletic and speedy, Grishuk/Platov are your team. I appreciate that they chose "zydeco" sounding music.

 

VGThuy

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@gk_891 and other ice dance ubers or anybody, I'd love to see your recommendations as well!

On to the next one...

Rock n' Roll/Jive

1. Marina Anissina/Gwendal Peizerat's 1998 Worlds "Jive" OD to "Snatch and Grab It": Their Worlds performance was on a different stratosphere compared to their shaky and hesitant Olympics one. No question for me, this was the OD of the season and one of the greatest ODs I've ever seen. No wonder Judy Blumberg was in love with this in this video's commentary:


2. Jayne Torvill/Christopher Dean's 1983 "Rock n' Roll" OSP: I'm not very sure about this music, but the choreography is undeniable. Although just watching the way Dean manipulates Torvill around makes my shoulders sore. I can see where the Duchesnay's style of using the female partner as a prop came from.


3. Elizabeth Punsalan/Jerod Swallow's 1998 "Jive" OD: I'm not the biggest fan of this team but I am convinced that they were totally robbed this season in both the OD and FD. They should have been in medal contention at Worlds quite honestly given both the OD and FD.


NEXT UP: a BONUS category and then on to the Blues.
 

Karen-W

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2. Jayne Torvill/Christopher Dean's 1983 "Rock n' Roll" OSP: I'm not very sure about this music, but the choreography is undeniable. Although just watching the way Dean manipulates Torvill around makes my shoulders sore. I can see where the Duchesnay's style of using the female partner as a prop came from.

How has this never been turned into a CD or Pattern Dance? This is so great and seems to be something that would fit remarkably well with ice dancing as it has evolved to the current generation. I know that CDs and Pattern Dances aren't being used at the senior ranks right now, but this would be perfect for juniors, where they still have the KSP as part of the RD. A swing/jive/blues/rock & roll RD theme with this as the KSP would be fantastic and completely age appropriate!
 

VGThuy

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Before I move on to the Blues (then...Blues/Hip Hop, and finally the Swing Combo that includes a combination of Rock n' Roll, Swing, Blues, etc.), I figured what this thread needed was:

An ELVIS category.

Here are three unranked Elvis programs...two from Igor and one from Marie-France, Romain, and Patrice:

Elizabeth Punsalan/Jerod Swallow: The first Igor-choreographed Elvis program that I remember. Maybe he had more before this, but he certainly made more AFTER this one. They ended up dropping this program for a Tango FD right before Nagano, which was a superior FD, but this one has a soft spot for me, and it used the now popular skating warhorse, "Can't Help Falling in Love" before it was cool.


Tanith Belbin/Benjamin Agosto: Probably the best "Elvis" on ice. This routine was like a debutante debut for Belbin/Agosto and was part of their steady and quick rise to the medal stand by the time that Olympic cycle was over. Tanith's penchant for having to play "catch up" to Ben worked well for this dance as she played a female fan who was chasing after Elvis.



Madison Chock/Evan Bates: I credit this program and their follow-up Snake one as cementing their "come back" and put them back into the top tier. IAM were clearly inspired by Madison and Evan with their programs.


How has this never been turned into a CD or Pattern Dance? This is so great and seems to be something that would fit remarkably well with ice dancing as it has evolved to the current generation. I know that CDs and Pattern Dances aren't being used at the senior ranks right now, but this would be perfect for juniors, where they still have the KSP as part of the RD. A swing/jive/blues/rock & roll RD theme with this as the KSP would be fantastic and completely age appropriate!
Isn't that dance incredible? There's so much to it and T/D kept the audience guessing as to what would happen next. That sense of spontaneity and surprise is missing in figure skating these days — generally-speaking.
 

VGThuy

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I don't know about you all, but I got the BLUES at the start of this Labor Day weekend...

1. Isabelle Duchesnay/Paul Duchesnay's 1991 Worlds "Blues" OD to "Le Grisbi". I was surprised that I picked this as my no. 1, but for the blues rankings, I felt it was more important really choose a team who I think really captured the essence and the angst of the theme and not put so much emphasis on the content itself and I found myself more and more convinced that team was the Duchesnays. I loved what they did here and I understand why the judges put them first even if Usova/Zhulin and Klimova/Ponomarenko had more difficult ODs, among other teams. Ignore Robin Cousins' stick up his butt...other than wearing a lilac nightie and "blue jeans" this program was nothing like Underhill/Martini's professional program to "When a Man Loves a Woman". Paul D.'s costume wasn't even that similar to Paul U.'s, and Isabelle looks good in lilac so whatever. This is going to be sort of a...gross comment, but them being brother and sister added to the angst...if you really want to go Flowers in the Attic and taboo desires with this dance.


2. Oksana Grishuk/Evgeny Platov's 1993 Blues FD to "St. James Infirmary": I wasn't planning on using this FD, but this one is so amazing that I had to. My favorite FD of theirs. This routine reminds me of the musical The Wild Party (both the LaChuisa Broadway version and the Lippa Off-Broadway version). I think they captured how dark, how sweaty, how violent, how rage-filled, and how chaotic the blues can be. This was a masterpiece, IMO. Linichuk should have used Shanti Rushpaul for Grishuk/Platov all of the time, and maybe they wouldn't have left her...:shuffle: I would have loved to see them revisit this program when they were a bit older and mature, but alas. They should have won Worlds, IMO, but to think some judges got in trouble for scoring and placing them high here.



3. Maya Usova/Alexander Zhulin's 1991 "Blues" OD to "Summertime": As one of our most famous mods would say: "THE SEX!" This program invented "THE SEX" in ice dance. Enough said.



3. Jayne Torvill/Christopher Dean's 1982 "Blues" OSP to "Summertime": A classic and highly influential. Added to their danceography of classic dances. Probably "invented" the blues in ice dance.


Hon. Mention:

Madison Hubbell/Zach Donohue's 2018 FD to "Across the Sky" by Rag n' Bone Man/"Caught Out in the Rain" by Beth Hart. They started the trend of skaters using Beth Hart in figure skating and it's easy to see why. Probably the sexiest ice dance routine in many years. Madison Hubbell is a WOMAN and Zach harnessed his inner natural chaos well here. This is arguably their best work and they provided the most seductive, raw, and sexually mature routine that season. I believe this program was the spiritual sequel to Naomi Lang/Peter Tchernyshev's "Parisian Walkways", which was made even more famous by Yuzuru Hanyu.


NEXT UP: Blues + Hip Hop!
 
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VGThuy

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Blues + Hip Hop:

Two seasons of this rhythm and it's already made a huge splash. It hasn't been the disaster many of us expected it to be but I do believe it has pointed out that this, with the blues and the Latin-American dances, figure skating could use some real diversity. That being said here are some great blues + hip hop combos.

1. Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron's 2022 "Blues + Hip Hop" RD set to John Legend's "Made to Love" and "U Move, I Move". Brought ice dancing to a whole new level with this. Simply changed the game. Just seeing how great this program was in the beginning and just how much they kept improving on it that by the Olympics/Worlds I just couldn't believe how much more they added and what they were doing. Enough cannot be said about how they really broke the mold with this dance while respecting the theme. This is how you do hip hop on ice. Smart to pick one very specific dance and show off how well you mastered it throughout the ENTIRE dance. Reminds me of when another team (who I will show later on for another rhythm ranking) prepared for then upcoming Olympic season's OD by studying with actual dancers from another country where a particular style of dance was invented and the results showed.


2. Kana Muramoto/Daisuke Takahashi's 2022 "Blues + Hip Hop" RD set to "Soran Bushi" and "Koto": Shows you can do hip hop and still do what you do best and keep the flavor of our culture in-tact. A twist on the dance that really became a season break out dance. Everything about this dance works. Shame Daisuke is still new to ice dance and this is a new partnership. I wonder how this dance would look if they competed in ice dance together for much longer than they did here.


3. [tied] Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir's 2017 "Blues + Hip Hop" SD set to Prince Medley: Yes, Prince isn't really hip hop but those dance moves were and I honestly think they really showed the world they were back and better than ever with this RD. Tessa/Scott challenged themselves with this dance, were dancing to the beat better than ever, looked strong and dominant, and had the performance of the season with it, IMO.


3. [tied] Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani's 2017 "Blues + Hip Hop" SD set to "That's Life" and "That's Life" remix with Jay-Z's "Paris". IMO, the most authentic hip hop dance that came out that particular season. A lot of consultation, training, and research with L.A.-based Asian-American hip hop dance crews went on behind-the-scenes to create this dance and the results of their effort show; There's a reason why the Nationals version caught so much attention when it was posted on Facebook and achieved like 9 million views. I don't know what happened to the higher quality uploads on YouTube, unfortunately.


Hon. Mentions:

All the top American junior teams from 2017 Nationals.

Bonus:
Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier's 2017 "Blues + Disco" SD to "What a Night for Dancing" and "Disco Inferno". Not enough programs in this rhythm combo to give it its own category, but I like this dance so much that I needed to include it:


If you're wondering why I've linked their Nebelhorn performance and not one of their many performances later on in the season, I liked this dance best when it was new and fresh. By Worlds, I kind of felt they were too aware of their "quirk".
 

VGThuy

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Ok, last rankings for the night...

The Swing Combo (Jive, Boogie Woogie, Jitterbug, Rock N' Roll, Blues)

1. Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron's 2017 "Blues + Swing" SD to "Bittersweet" and "Diga Diga Doo". They got some criticism for not bringing more "happy" energy to the swing portion but I'm just still in awe of the choreography here and everything they're doing with their bodies. Also, total respect to them for putting the lindy hop on ice!


2. Tatiana Navka/Roman Kostomorov 2004 Worlds "Blues and Rock n' Roll" OD to "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Rock Around the Clock". Don't ask me why she's dressed like that. Russians don't really get Rock n Roll, but this dance works, especially the blues part. The steps to the repeated "I know..." is why we love ice dance.


3. Isabelle Delobel/Olivier Schoenfelder's 2004 "Boogie Woogie + Blues" OD set to "Love Bug"/"Cry Me a River". I remember seeing this during the GP season and thinking it was my favorite OD that season. This dance still holds up as a swing dance on ice and when teams choose this style of dance, I would prefer them to take after a dance like this.


NEXT UP (for tomorrow): Everyone's fave rhythms...the American ballroom styles of the early 20th Century...Quickstep, Foxtrot, Charleston, and the Combo of all of the above! I know how FSU simply loves these dances. :lol:
 

clairecloutier

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@VGThuy I like your Blues picks. 1991 was the first year that I really watched ice dance (outside of casually seeing Torvill & Dean during the 1980s, of course). And what a year that was!! Those '91 blues dances from the Duchesnays and Usova/Platov really did make an indelible impression on me (as did Klimova/Ponomarenko's Lawrence of Arabia free dance). Just an amazing, if controversial, time in ice dance. The Torvill/Dean "Summertime" is indeed a classic and captures the mood of that music much better than most. Hubbell/Donohue's 2018 blues free dance is also really outstanding and one of my faves from them.

Only place I would disagree is on Grishuk/Platov's 1993 blues FD. What can I say, I'll just never be a fan of this team. 🤷‍♀️
 

VGThuy

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Alright, I hope everyone has on their tails or long-cocktail dresses with their dancing shoes, as it's time to strike up the band and turn into some "dancing fools"!

First up,

Quickstep (solo)

1. Oksana Grishuk/Evgeny Platov's 1995 Worlds "Quickstep" OD: With this dance, they proved they can do ballroom and yet still show off their incredible speed and Russian-taught ice dance skills. They captured this dance exactly the way the judges and audiences wanted. This is one of my most watched dances ever.


2. Susanna Rahkamo/Petri Kokko's 1995 Worlds "Quickstep" OD: The Finnstep. The originators. Such a lovely quickstep in every way and I always am in a good mood after seeing this. Perfectly nailed the ballroom look and steps. If it wasn't me being in awe of G/P's content and sheer power above, I would have had this first no question.


3. Marina Klimova/Sergei Ponomarenko 1985 "Quickstep" OSP: If you want to see a classic quickstep that is all about the steps with classic posture, dance hold, intricate partnering but without all the extraneous fluff, this is the dance to watch. Their perfect posture and carriage with the crazy speed and variety of steps is mind-blowing.


Hon. Mention:

Bourne/Kraatz's "Quickstep" portion of their 2001 OD set to "Jumpin' Jack Flash". Their Foxtrot portion to "Big Spender" left a lot to be desired for me, but I thought out of all the competing top teams that season, they had by far the best quickstep and should have placed better than they did considering the other ODs that year.


NEXT UP: The Foxtrot and the Charleston!
 

VGThuy

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Foxtrot - there wasn't many videos of just Foxtrots alone, so I did what I could with what I could find.

1. Natalia Linichuk/Gennadi Karponosov's 1980 "Foxtrot" OSP: I'm convinced they dominated the way they did because of the strength of their CD and OSPs. This OSP shows why. A fun Foxtrot with steps even I can remember. Some people may not like this take though.


2. Krisztina Regoczy & Andras Sallay's 1980 "Foxtrot" OSP: The crowd seemed to love this. This is a more traditional take on the foxtrot and I like the idea behind it. It just seems a bit..snoozy or lacking in constant character for me.


3. Marina Anissina/Gwendal Peizerat's Foxtrot portion of their 2001 Quickstep combo OD from Worlds to Nat King Cole's "More". This is really cheating, but I love the foxtrot portion of this dance so much and it was much improved from how it had been all season long. I think they were underscored here, and had they been allowed to just skate to the "More" section throughout this dance, I believe they would have given us probably one of the best ODs of their career. They probably should just have just done the entire second half to it and finished it on that note. Alas.


Charleston

1. Marina Klimova/Sergei Ponomarenko's 1990 Worlds "Charleston OSP - There is a much better quality video of their Euros performance, but Worlds just had more oomph, power, character, and punch. This is the best mix of difficulty, complexity, technique, display of intricacy between two partners, and best actual footwork by far while keeping the Charleston character. This blew me away when I first saw it even through this quality video.


2. Susan Wynne/Joseph Druar 1990 Worlds "Charleston" OSP - forgive the quality again, we make do. Almost ranked first because it had the best spirit and character of the dance.


I only saw two that were worthy of note. Maybe there are more to see if someone provides it in response.

Next up: The Quickstep-Foxtrot-Charleston-March Combo before we head across the Atlantic to the Iberian Peninsula for the Spanish rhythms.
 

VGThuy

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Quickstep-Foxtrot-Charleston-March Combo

I'm convinced this is actually the most difficult rhythm to translate on the ice with how hard it was for me to find routines I felt were worthy of mention and the way so many fans seem to groan when these rhythms are announced. That being said, I love the following dances and hope you all enjoy them too.

1. Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir's 2014 Grand Prix Final "Foxtrot-Quickstep with FinnStep" SD to "Dream a Little Dream", "Muskrat Ramble", and "Cheek to Cheek": IMO, simply the best. No other dance in this rhythm has come close to this.


2. Sophie Moniotte/Pascal Lavanchy's 1994 "Fred & Ginger" Inspired FD to "Top Hat"/"Shall We Dance"/"Swing Time"/"Follow the Fleet": All the attention was on Torvill/Dean's FD that season, but I thought this was the best choreographed dance of the season by far. This is my dream "Fred & Ginger" routine.


Shame they fell like twice at the Olympics as that video is in HD, but glad they got a Worlds silver with this. Their NHK performance is also in HD.

3. Shae-Lynn Bourne/Victor Kraatz's 1997 Worlds FD to "High Society". Most likely my second favorite FD of theirs. Thoroughly entertaining and everything this dance should be about and yet so many teams are unable to translate this on the ice for some reason.


Hon. Mention:

Isabelle Delobel/Olivier Schoenfelder’s 2005 Foxtrot-Charleston OD. I’m more and more convinced this team was criminally underrated and @deegee already explained it best a few posts ago.


Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani's 2014 "Foxtrot/Quickstep with FinnStep" SD to Michael Buble Medley. They were slightly better at Worlds but this video is just much clearer than any of their Worlds uploads. This was my second favorite SD that season, and I actually prefer this to their 2010-2011 Senior career-making Quickstep combo FD that won them a World bronze at their senior worlds debut.

 
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clairecloutier

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14,190
Swing is a hard genre to define, and even harder to put on the ice. I did swing for a couple of years when I was younger, recreationally. It's a dance associated with a specific time period/set of music (especially the 1940s), but the basic Lindy Hop steps can be applied to music from other genres/time periods as well.

Wikipedia says: "Swing dance is a group of social dances that developed with the swing style of jazz music in the 1920s–1940s, with the origins of each dance predating the popular "swing era". Today, the best-known of these dances is the Lindy Hop, which originated in Harlem in the early 1930s. .... Lindy Hop evolved in the early 1930s. It is a dance of African-American origin characterized by a high degree of physical vigor."

This is just my take, as a viewer, but to me, what feels right in a swing program and successfully conveys the feeling of swing is: 1) It has to be fun, 2) It should be a little physically demanding, 3) Ideally, it has a period feel to it.

In real life, as I did it anyhow, swing makes you hot. You come off the dance floor sweating and wanting a drink. Of cold water, not alcohol! Any swing dance that doesn't convey that feeling is a miss, for me.

Of the swing programs that you mentioned, @VGThuy, the one I like the most is Delobel/Schoenfelder's, as it has the energy, buoyancy, partnering, difficult steps in the first/third sections, and a bit of a period feel. The Navka dance is upbeat but doesn't feel at all associated with the era and kind of lacks soul. The Papadakis dance has some nice steps and good music but doesn't convey a sense of fun/high energy.

For me, one of the more successful swing dances I've seen is Capellini/Lanotte's 42nd Street SD from 2014. This one really felt right to me. It has the quick steps, a good amount of dancing in hold, a great sense of fun, plus a vintage feel with the costumes, music, and attitude. It worked. (As an aside, Pechalat/Bourzat's SD that year had some of the right swing feel, but no period sense, and kind of not enough personal interaction between them, or something.)


Another swing-type dance that I liked was Carreira/Ponomarenko's "Too Darn Hot" RD from a couple years ago. Although this dance isn't particularly technically or choreographically outstanding, what I liked was the overall mood and tone, which I thought conveyed that feeling of fun and exuberance and athleticism.


My favorite ice dance that I've ever seen set to swing music is Bourne/Kraatz's 1995 FD. Now, that's going to sound weird, because B/K use very few actual swing/Lindy steps in this dance. But to me it captures so well the actual feeling of dancing to swing music, doing cool rhythmic and athletic stuff with another person, and having a great time every second of it. There is some vintage feel to it with the costumes and music, but it's like a reinterpreted modern ice dance concept of swing. The hydroblading moves feel really right to me, as the kind of athletic improvisation that swing dancers might actually try if they went on the ice. The expression and attitude is right. I don't know if I'm explaining this well. But I really love this dance. I've watched it a ton of times, and still enjoy it today.



As a general aside-- Looking at short/rhythm dances from the point of view of a specific rhythm, it makes me realize how hard it is to really express the intrinsic character of dances in this format. Because, just considering swing for example, there are no twizzles in real swing dancing. There is no non-touch step sequence in swing dancing. So how do you keep the swing character while doing these elements?? :unsure:
 

VGThuy

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39,777
I think you hit the nail on the head why it's so hard to capture the right essence and feeling of a lot of these more staccato and physically demanding dances because IJS-style judging has put much more emphasis on skating basics and foundations, which has now meant big sweeping, curvy, gliding turns and steps and the floor version of the dances themselves aren't about that. So the teams need to keep in mind what will score well in terms of TES while at the same time trying to keep the character of the dance. It's hard enough to get the latter right but add in being cautious so that you don't lose a level or GOE, etc. I think the reason the ISU tech committee keeps adding more level 1 "character" elements is to recapture the feeling that say Delobel/Schoenfelder had where they didn't seem to care so much about execution and were all about capturing the character. Of course, they were doing insane difficulty for their time and were forever in 5th-4th place so I guess things weren't that different back then, haha.

Funny enough, I feel like the ISU doesn't make the waltz a rhythm/short/original dance as much as they should and that's one genre of ballroom that totally lends itself to ice dancing.
 

gk_891

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4,261
Here are my picks although some of these are repeats. I'll just go with the single-themed dances for now.

Waltz
Klimova & Ponomarenko - 1987 Worlds OSP
The grace and elegance is one thing but the way the way this program is constructed is just awe-inspiring. Not to mention their effortless execution.

Quickstep
Grishuk & Platov - 1995 Worlds OD
This dance suited them perfectly and it showed off their power and snap amazingly well. I love how they skated this program while almost entirely in either waltz or foxtrot holds.

Tango
Grishuk & Platov - 1997 Worlds OD
I prefer their quickstep but it seems like their street-style tango captured more attention. I can understand why as artistically this dance is arguably more interesting than their quickstep.

Blues
Torvill & Dean - 1982 Worlds OSP
Everything looks like one continuous movement. Absolutely stunning skating.

Paso Doble
Torvill & Dean - 1984 Olympics OSP
Iconic dance. Nothing more to be said although I honestly prefer their Blues OSP to this one (not sure if it is heresy to say that or not)

Jive
Anissina & Peizerat - 1998 Worlds OD
I agree that this was the best OD that season. By miles. It had amazing content and I also liked the playful expression.

Polka
Grishuk & Platov - 1991/1992 OD
NHK - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUHEkfRaWOg
Olympics - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AmWJ4aaDbg
I actually loved both versions of G&P's polka that year. The first one seems kind of Celtic to me and I actually preferred it to their Olympic and World version (in spite of the error by Platov towards the end of the program).

Charleston
Klimova & Ponomarenko - 1989 Worlds OSP
As Toller said in the commentary, their clinical execution is something to behold. They were the best that year by quite a distance over the rest of the field.

Rhumba
Torvill & Dean - 1994 Olympics OD
I'm not as enamoured with this dance as many others are. But this was still the best rhumba on ice that I've seen. Although U&Z's OD that year came pretty close in my personal opinion.

Will try to think of more
 

gk_891

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4,261
Polka (Solo)

3. Sophie Moniotte/Pascal Lavanchy 1992 "Polka" OD. Thematically, this was my favorite polka I've seen that season. I probably would have placed them in the top 3 after the OD after Klimova/Ponomarenko and Grishuk/Platov...assuming they skated the OD at the Olympics the same way they did at Worlds.
Their performance at Worlds was a bit better than their Olympic performance IMO but this was still pretty good. I also had them in third for this OD in Albertville.


On a completely different note, these days I would actually rank Grishuk & Platov in first after the compulsories in Albertville instead of K&P. A few months ago, I rewatched the ice dance event from Albertville for the first time in years. And one thing that struck me was how much better G&P were at tracing out their patterns than K&P, U&Z, and D&D (especially during the closed choctaw in the Blues CD). But that's likely to be a controversial opinion.
 
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gk_891

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4,261
If we had an Elvis category, can we have a Middle Eastern category?

Grishuk & Platov - 1997 Europeans FD
Arguably their best free dance although I personally preferred Memorial Requiem. I love how they used their powerful running edges to phrase the music (that was a quality of theirs that was missing throughout most of their Linichuk years)

Honourable mention goes to Anissina & Peizerat - 1997 Worlds FD
They really got the thumbs down on their material that year. But I think this free dance was aged very well. I actually would've placed them in second at both Europeans and Worlds that year as their programs had far more ambitious content than the programs of either K&O or B&K.
 

Karen-W

Neither sexy nor sultry, but loving life!
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24,684
Hmmmm... How about a Bollywood category? Or an all-encompassing "world/folk dance" category?
 

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