Stars on Ice
As a little girl, I have always watched figure skating with my mom and grandmother. My grandmother loves figure skating as a whole but her true love is ice dance. She has journals where she has written her observations Olympics after Olympics. She had me in dance classes as soon as she could and I will always be grateful to her for always being my audience to every single dance recital I was in or for enjoying the small little dances I made up. These past Olympics, the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics I watched with waited breath and with a few tears in my eyes. When I looked online and saw the cast for the Canadian version of Stars on Ice, I bought my ticket that same day. I haven't and will never regret that purchase. For me attending Stars on Ice in Calgary is not only a completed item on my bucket list but a magical unforgettable experience. If you asked me tomorrow, I would once again travel those 3,415km in a heartbeat.
Opening Number: "Raise Your Glass" by Pink
Raise Your Glass truly is the best way to open the show because it truly shows the chemistry of this phenomenal cast. In the beginning, the cast is split into two groups and it is a great way for them to cover the ice. Towards the middle of the number, there is a section where for a skating super fan you don't know where to look because each skater is doing jaw-dropping tricks. There is a fun highlight of the only non-Canadian skater, Javier Fernandez, but what resonates most is that the cast is genuinely having fun out there and the number energizes the crowd and prepares you for the rest of the night.
Gabrielle Daleman: "Save the Last Dance" by Michael Buble
After such an energized opening number I had a thought that perhaps the next number could be one filled with less energy but that was not the case. Gabrielle Daleman came out all guns blazing and delighted the crowd. She landed all her jumps with finesse and grace. Her music selection was great because it allowed her to jam pack this number with amazing tricks. After all, she ends the number by doing a backflip into a split.
Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje: "Applause" by Lady Gaga
Now, this number is a personal favorite of mine because it is ballroom based. For my dance fans I do believe Serge Onik from Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance helped choreograph this number. It is also a key example of how great an exhibition piece can be because it allows the skaters to break the rule of having to have your partner on hold for the majority of the number. It is filled with tricks and lifts galore and the body suit that Kaitlyn Weaver has on is truly beautiful and is showcased once she has that wardrobe change mid-dance that is in perfect synchronicity with the music.
Elvis Stojko: "Through the Ghost" by Shinedown
Now I do have to say that it truly was great to see Elvis Stojko perform live. I grew up listening to Elvis Presley and watching Elvis Stojko skate. This number made me reminisce about my grandmother and it truly was beautiful. My seatmates and I were struck by the technique and finesse that Elvis still possesses and I am sure will have forever.
Female Cast: "Dream" by Priscilla Ahn
This number is very ethereal and it truly is a masterpiece. The choreography is simple but elegant and truly showcases each of the skaters. I do have to admit that my eyes were drawn to Tessa and Kaetlyn. Tessa due in part to that she just captivates you when she is on the ice but also because she has such beautiful lines in her arms. Kaetlyn drew me in because it struck me just how much the lyrics relate to her currently.
Transition- Weaver/Poje and Tessa Virtue: "Where's My Love" by SYML
Beforehand I did have some reservations about this small transition number but they all slipped away instantly once it started. I truly would have loved for it to be longer but I was transfixed by the sweet chemistry that Andrew and Tessa have and once again Tessa truly is a magician on the ice because she drew me in with every movement. I can spot a fellow former ballerina miles away!
Jeffrey Buttle:"For Forever" by Ben Platt
Dear Evan Hansen is one of my favorite fresher musicals and I may have been singing along throughout this piece. I do have to say that Jeffrey Buttle has been, is, and will continue to be a great performer. And I tend to believe that someday soon he will be among the best choreographers the sport has ever seen. I am not sure if he choreographed this himself but it is such a great piece either way. There aren't any huge tricks like we see in skating all the time now but his sublime skating is apparent to anyone and everybody.
Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford: "Sign of The Times" by Harry Styles
Meagan and Eric are the best pairs skaters due to the sheer power and musicality they have. They are the prime example of how great performances can be when the skaters are not held back by pesky rules. It was so great to see them exude all the power they have and be applauded by the crowd because they truly delighted us with this performance. I can't wait for them to continue to see their performances now that they have retired from competition.
Javier Fernandez:"I Love Paris" by Henri Rene and his Orchestra
Javier is the ultimate attraction when it comes to exhibition skates and this one does not disappoint. It is fun and light and still holds up to the intensity of the numbers that came before and the showstopper that will come after it. This performance is set to an orchestra and it shines as being the only number of the show with music that doesn't have lyrics.
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir:"You Rock My World" by Michael Jackson
This is a showstopper. Basically, Tessa and Scott moonwalk on ice for roughly four minutes and I have no regrets or complaints. I have been a fan of theirs since 2008 and this number is an exceptional demonstration of their evolution as performers. Their connection and chemistry are at an all-time high and the quality of their movements truly makes them the greatest ice dance team the world has ever seen. I love their side by side work and Scott not only matches Tessa but truly shines! It was also very special for them to do their signature move, The Goose, with a fun little twist. There is a critique that some have that they state that movements like Michael Jackson's don't transfer from the floor to the ice, but this number proves that it can translate to the ice when you have performers as talented as Virtue/Moir. I can't wait to see Virtue/Moir continue to push ice dancing forward!
Patrick Chan: "Lovers in a Dangerous Time" by Barenaked Ladies
It is fun to see Patrick wear a jersey from each city as his top for this program. I have always been a fan of Patrick Chan but my gosh was I missing out because I had never seen him perform live. Overall I really enjoyed this number and it was a great recharge after Virtue/Moir blew my socks off! In no way shape or form was this less impressive than You Rock my World and my goodness Patrick is the best performer of all time.
Kaetlyn Osmond:"Lost" by Anouk
There was a sweet video welcoming Kaetlyn into the World Champions Club prior to her skating. This exhibition is lyrical, gorgeous and incredibly touching. Kaetlyn has an incredible gift of connecting with the audience and having the audience connect with her. She had a fantastic season this year and for her to finish it off with a surprising but very much deserved win at Worlds is truly fantastic!
Male Cast:"Feel It Still" by Portugal, The Man
The energy and the fun that this number and that the skaters create is palpable! All but one man in this number is a former World Champion. I am still so in awe of the genius that is Jeffrey Buttle's choreography. It is quirky and delightful and allows you to appreciate the skating skills of every skater. The only drawback I have is that these are my least liked costumes but I forgot all about them and truly enjoyed this piece.
Virtue/Moir, Duhamel/Radford, & Weaver/Poje: "Shape of You" by Ed Sheeran
Aside from the apparent chemistry that Virtue/Moir share, this truly is my favorite group number of this tour. I enjoyed that each partnership truly had the opportunity to have the spotlight be focused solely on them. I also can't help but rave about the Virtue Moir lift that is in this program. I would have adored seeing the exchange of partners last a bit longer but this piece truly showed just the chemistry each partnership has.
Gabrielle Daleman: "I Have Nothing" by Whitney Houston
This is by far my favorite exhibition program that Gabrielle Daleman has ever done. Her artistry is so wonderfully displayed throughout every note and nuance in this piece. It is hard to perform to Whitney Houston because of the emotion that is prevalent in all her songs but Daleman not only matches it but at times exceeds that emotion. She truly was on fire all night and it truly was magnificent to experience this skate live.
Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje: "Tennessee Whiskey" by Chris Stapleton
This piece made this Texas gal swoon! It was filled with beautiful lifts and once again they shine on their side by side work. Overall this number was very sweet and a wonderful way companion to the skates that came before and after it.
Transition- Olympic Team:"Fields of Gold" by Drew and Ellie Holcomb
I shed quite a few tears during this program. When I had the realization that every skater finishes in their ending pose from their Olympics free skates, I shed even more tears. The Team's reaction to the standing ovation was incredibly endearing. The only drawback of this program is that it is a transition piece and not a full skate! Team Canada is not just a team but a family and it was beautiful to honor Canada's first Olympic Gold in the Team Event. I will miss Tessa, Scott, Meagan, Eric, and Patrick but their legacy is not only firmly planted but will be continued by Kaetlyn and Gabrielle.
Jeffrey Buttle:"Gotta Get Through This" by Daniel Bedingfield
Jeffrey Buttle was absolutely delightful in this number. Every person seated near me had a smile on their face. Gosh, Jeffrey Buttle creates and performs undeniable masterpieces.
Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford: "Be Mine" by Ofenbach
Those pesky rules really held back Megan and Eric. I was amazed by their sheer power and athletic ability! I can't wait to see their evolution as professional skaters now that they have retired from the competitive world.
Elvis Stojko:"Someone That You're With" by Nickelback
Elvis right before this piece is introduced as"the King" and I am in full agreement with that statement. He truly engages the audience and it is an incredibly energizing number. He truly proves that age is just a number and that that he will remain as one of the greatest of all times, no matter how much time passes since he retired.
Transition-Patrick Chan and Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford:"One" by Three Dog Night
I wanted to include this because it is honestly refreshing. The intricacy of Meagan Eric and Patrick skating together was incredible to witness.
Javier Fernandez:"Promise" by Pablo Alboran
While Javi is known for his more exciting exhibition skates. He is, in fact, an elegant lyrical skater and I always go back to this quote that he said after a Worlds, "If we lose skating, we lose everything."
Kaetlyn Osmond:"Too Darn Hot" by Ella Fitzgerald
Kaetlyn picks the energy right up and it truly is a great exhibition piece to culminate this fantastic season she just finished. Her costume is absolutely gorgeous in person. It was delightful to see her begin off the ice and then shift onto the ice. She is fantastic at keeping the rhythm of the music and finishes on this gorgeous spin.
Patrick Chan "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley
Patrick took my breath away. If you are a fan of his and have the opportunity to watch him live, please take that opportunity. He truly changed the sport of figure skating with his beautiful combination of technique and pure artistry. To me, Patrick is the best male figure skater of all time. The sport has evolved technically but Patrick's artistry has no match and I am not sure if there will ever be a match. He received a grand standing ovation and there was just awe by all of those there at getting the honor to see him skate.
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir: "Medley" by Moulin Rouge Original Soundtrack
This was the masterpiece I was anxiously awaiting the entire show. Before I get to my reflection on seeing it live in person, I have to preface this. My grandmother who I talked about at the beginning of this post is losing her memory faster now that her life partner is gone. But this year she was actively present with me for the first time this year, as we watched Tessa and Scott individual free skate. Her eyes lit up and she knew all of us from the first note of Roxanne. My mom, her, and I had tears in our eyes during Come What May. My grandmother states it best in that Tessa and Scott embody artistry and every single aspect of love that exists. I will forever be thankful to them both to have touched my grandmother enough to have sparked her memory that she was my grandmother again for the rest of the night. Now as to seeing it live it absolutely lived up to the hype and it truly is one of the Top 10 experiences of my life. I had tears from my eyes and held my breath since the first note. I couldn't get up my seat fast enough to give them a standing ovation. Tessa and Scott truly are the greatest ice dance team the world has ever seen.
Finale:"You Will Be Found" by Dear Evan Hansen Original Broadway Cast
This song has a profound message and it is such a splendid way to end an amazing show. Stars on Ice truly is a must-see show and if you have the opportunity to attend please do. To every skater, thank you for pouring out your hearts and souls it was my honor to attend the show.
Meet and Greet Experience
I have to admit that I am one of the lucky ones who had the opportunity to purchase a Meet and Greet Pass. I contemplated not purchasing it but you only live once. If I was making the travel I was going to do the damn thing and purchase a pass. I am so glad I did because this cast truly is fantastic. Aside from their excellence in their skating ability, they all are genuinely kind people. I had a small gift for each cast member and they were beyond appreciative and were delighted to hear that I had made the journey to attend the show. All of the cast truly makes an effort to make the few minutes that you spend with each of them, a time in which you can have insightful conversations with them. As far as Tessa and Scott go, if you have just fallen in love with them these Olympics may I say that you picked two great people to fall in love with. They are the kindest human beings on the planet and were so incredibly touched when I shared the story of my grandmother.
If you have made it to the end of this, thank you so much for reading my recap of Stars on Ice. All the beautiful photography that you see in this post is done by the talented, Danielle of Danielle Earl Photography. Danielle truly has a talent for not just taking beautiful photos, but of actually capturing the hears and souls of the performances and skaters.
This gift is dedicated to every single fan who wasn't as lucky as me to be able to get tickets or to those of us who just want to continue to relive this special tour. But this separate gift is especially to my sweet friends from the Happy Chat, I love Y'all more than tongue can tell.