Dawn of new era with Dis­turbed dance moves

New Straits Times - - SPORT -

GANGNE­UNG: Roll over Beethoven and pre­pare to be Dis­turbed.

Pairs fig­ures skaters, once con­fined to clas­si­cal tunes and rigid tech­ni­cal el­e­ments, are em­brac­ing dance moves and heavy metal mu­sic to see how far they can both push the bound­aries while keep­ing the dis­ci­pline up to date.

A cover of “The Sound of Si­lence” by heavy metal group Dis­turbed was the haunt­ing sound­track for a free skate by French pair Vanessa James and Mor­gan Cipres last year, a dy­namic and am­bi­tious per­for­mance that proved a huge hit on so­cial me­dia.

Vanessa said the pop­u­lar­ity of that rou­tine prompted im­i­ta­tion... and she loves it.

“I think it’s good be­cause we’re ac­tu­ally evolv­ing as a pair event, a dis­ci­pline,” she said af­ter a prac­tice at Gangne­ung’s Ice Arena, the venue for fig­ure skat­ing at the Win­ter Olympics.

“Our goal is to skate like ice dancers, which is not al­ways easy be­cause of all the tech­ni­cal stuff we have to do, but it is the goal,” she added.

Tra­di­tional pairs skat­ing, mean­while, fo­cuses more on tech­ni­cal, ac­ro­batic moves such as throws, jumps and spi­rals, with a set al­lo­ca­tion in­cluded in each rou­tine.

Ger­many’s Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Mas­sot, strongly favoured for gold in Pyeongchang, are also among those lead­ing the rev­o­lu­tion.

Their spunky short pro­gramme to jazz singer Caro Emer­ald’s “That Man” is full of dance moves and glides, while their free skate is a haunt­ingly grace­ful rou­tine that is also packed with pun­ish­ing tech­ni­cal el­e­ments.

Pyeongchang is the first Olympics where mu­sic with lyrics has been al­lowed and this is one of the big­gest changes, mov­ing the dis­ci­pline for­ward from the rigid­ity of clas­si­cal in­stru­men­tals used ex­ten­sively in the past.

Songs used in this year’s short pro­gramme in­clude: “Paint it Black” by Hid­den Cit­i­zen, “Hal­lelu­jah” by Leonard Co­hen, “Big Spen­der” and an in­evitable smat­ter­ing of clas­sics.

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