Last night, I went down to Providence, Rhode Island, to see “Skating for the Jimmy Fund,” a summertime benefit show to support cancer research, starring Nancy Kerrigan, Castelli/Tran, Richard Dornbush, and others. Unfortunately I don’t have time to do a full review of the show, but here are some quick notes!
Nancy Kerrigan, two-time Olympic medalist, acted as host for the show. Nancy introduced each skater and did brief interviews with some of them after their numbers. She also performed a short solo in the opening group number. I think it’s great that Nancy donated her time to this important cause!
Current U.S. pairs bronze medalists Marissa Castelli/Mervin Tran debuted their new short program to Alicia Keys’ “Fallin’.” I was able to chat with Marissa/Mervin briefly before the show; Marissa said they were excited to get their new program out for the first time, but a bit nervous, as the program is still very new. The will be working on polishing & developing it before their first competition in a few weeks (Quebec Summer Championships).
Marissa/Mervin got a great round of applause from the hometown crowd when they took the ice (Marissa is from Rhode Island). They opened the program with a triple twist (slight issue on catch), followed by SBS 2S. Unfortunately, Marissa fell on the throw 3F. (Too bad, because I saw them nail this element 3 or 4 times in practice beforehand.) They closed the program with a death spiral, which had some very interesting transitions beforehand.
Although it’s still a work in progress, I found this new short program quite powerful & intense! The music is strong and intriguing, and the skating is the same–deep edges, difficult transitions, lots of powerful moves. I found myself wowed by the transitions as much as the elements. Obviously it’s still very early in the year and the program is raw yet, but I think this is a very exciting piece for Marissa/Mervin and could be a difference-maker for them. (Admittedly, I am a big fan of C/T and, as such, perhaps not entirely objective here; but that’s my initial impression.)
Current U.S. dance pewter medalists Anastasia Cannuscio/Colin McManus also appeared in the show, performing a lovely rendition of their “Gravity” exhibition. Anastasia/Colin are strong supporters of The Jimmy Fund cause and made a long 7-hour car trip just to appear in this show! This couple is a delight, and it’s always a pleasure to see them. They spoke with Nancy Kerrigan afterward; she asked what it meant to them to win the pewter medal at Nationals last year. “It’s hard to put into words,” said Colin. “For us, it felt as good as a gold medal.”
Former U.S. silver medalist Richard Dornbush also made a long trip to appear in the show, along with fellow Californian Sean Rabbitt. Richard performed a great exhibition number to “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”; it was humorous and showed off his great edges and smoothness on the ice. The choreo was minimalist and laid-back, which suited the program perfectly. Richard landed a 2A, 3T, and a back flip, and then performed a second back flip for the crowd afterward.
Sean Rabbitt also performed a fun exhibition number to Mike Posner’s “Cooler than Me.” Sean choreographed this number himself, and it was so entertaining! He really sold the program, with lots of smiles to the crowd, and stayed very much in character to the music. Sean is quite tall for a skater, and he has great movement and ice coverage. He really commands the ice easily. He landed a 2A and a triple jump.
Like Castelli/Tran, U.S. junior bronze medalist Megan Wessenberg opted to show her new competitive short program to “I Put a Spell on You” (Annie Lennox version, I think). I really liked this program for Megan. She has good speed and nice, clear, definite positions in her transitional moves. She did 3T (nice), 3Lp (spinout), 2A (fall), and several good spins. Megan told Nancy that she hopes to be assigned to some junior competitions internationally, but will skate seniors in the U.S. this season.
A few other U.S. Nationals competitors skated in the show. Ryan Van Doren, National men’s Novice competitor, again performed his “Demons” program, which I had previously seen at the Ice Crystals Colonial FSC club show. It’s a very nice program and I enjoy Ryan’s skating; he has nice flow, elegant lines, flexibility, and good choreo. He could perhaps add some more power, but still, nice to watch. He did 2A and 3s (fall). Young U.S. juvenile boys’ pewter medalist Philip Baker also performed and landed a good double Axel. Philip is a great performer for his age and really puts together a nice package on the ice. He told Nancy that he will move up to Intermediate level this season. “I’d like to go to Nationals again and hopefully do well there!” he said.
A couple of international ladies also appeared. Brooklee Han skated a beautiful program to a haunting piece of music–“Dans la Maison” by Philippe Rombi. Brooklee had very interesting choreography/interpretation in this program–I really enjoyed it. Her spins were very fast and well-set to the music. She did 3T, 3Lp (fall), and 2A. Brooklee is attending Wesleyan University full-time now, but I hope we get a chance to see this very interesting program in competition this season.
Aimee Buchanan of Israel also appeared, skating to a Celine Dion medley. I enjoy watching Aimee. Everything is in place in her skating–solid speed, flow, edges, positions, nice interpretation to the music. She hit a 3S, 2A, and a particularly beautiful Biellmann spin.
Many local New England competitors performed in the show to support the Jimmy Fund cause. Of these, perhaps the most notable was New England Sectionals Intermediate competitor Jamiesen Cyr, who performed a program to Middle Eastern music. Jamiesen has nice polish, line, and character to her skating. She landed several 2/2 combos in her routine.
The Ocean State Ice Theatre team also performed two programs to “Hallelujah” and The Lion King. This team just won a gold medal in the open division at U.S. Theatre on Ice Nationals, held in Birmingham, AL.
It was a fun show for a good cause. And I loved getting to see some live skating again! 🙂