I'm new to ice dance. I've been watching singles forever--mostly the ladies and the men every now and then. I never gave much attention to pairs and hardly any to ice dance. However, this season I found myself getting bored with the ladies event so I started branching out. I watched everything: all of the men, all of pairs...and ice dance.
Wow. I'm mad I haven't been watching longer! It's weird because I'm a huge fan of dance. I love it! I follow a ton of dancers on social media, I was obsessed with Dance Moms (not for the drama but for the dancing), I love Bring It!, World of Dance, So You Think You Can Dance?, I follow a bunch of choreographer channels on YT...I love dance. I don't know why it took me so long to get into ice dancing but I'm glad I did.
I'm one of the people who feel the artistry in skating has been sacrificed in favor of getting an extra point, so to have a discipline that focuses a lot on the artistic side is fabulous. I know there are technical aspects (I'm trying to learn and understand them) and that's great, but for me the artistic side shines. Beautiful posture, fluidity, gracefulness, lovely lines, attitude and fire, the ability to create a mood/set a tone, performing from head to toe, emoting and projecting to the crowd, musicality and thoughtful interesting choreography all on top of great skating skills... These are all things I love to see in skating and it turns out you have to have them to excel in this discipline. If a pair goes out there with blank faces, bad posture, horrible lines, bad skating skills, perfunctory choreography, and basically phones in everything except the technical stuff, they will not win. That's not the case in singles a lot of the time. You can have all of those bad qualities and still wipe the floor with everyone because you can land jumps. It's annoying. Ice dance is refreshing for me. The things that used to matter still matter in this discipline.
I can recognize speed, power and flow, but I don't quite understand how some pairs score higher than the others. Like I said I'm working on it. At the very least I'm thoroughly entertained while watching the competitions. I'm still learning names but here are the standout pairs for me:
Papadakis/Cizeron: They are just lovely to watch. I loved their SD and their FD was art, plain and simple. It gave me contemporary dance vibes, which I love. They are special.
Chock/Bates: My favorite of the Americans. Fun and energy in the SD and the FD may end up being a signature program for them. I really enjoy them.
Hawayek/Jean-Luc Baker: They were my 2nd fav of the Americans. I think their disco SD was really under-rated--I loved it!
Stepanova/Bukin: She is so gorgeous to me! I liked their SD and though I didn't care too much for the music edit of their FD, the beginning was lovely.
Wang/Liu: Their Black Swan FD was fabulous! I know they aren't ranked that high but their FD stood out a lot for me. So many great moments and I loved the ending.
There are more but those are the ones off the top of my head. With next season up in the air I'm happy I have a lot of new skating to watch. I plan on going back a couple of years to watch some competitions and learn about past competitors (Virtue/Moir, Davis/White, the Shibs, Belbin/Agosto etc.).
Sorry for the super long post. It's just that I'm kind of excited about skating again and that hasn't happened in a while...