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Smucker's Stars on Ice 2004 U.S. Tour
-Onstage with the Dancers

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(J. M. Smucker Website)
Produced by Olympic Champion Scott Hamilton
(Bio)
Created by Olympic Legends:
Scott Hamilton and Christopher Dean
And Emmy Award Winner Jef Billings

"Time" A Theatrical Adventure
At Madison Square Garden, NYC
(Website)

Producer, Scott Hamilton
Director and Choreographer, Christopher Dean
Associate Director and Costume Designer, Jef Billings
Jamie Isley, Assistant Choreographer
Roy Bennett, Lighting Designer
Michael Sterling, National Publicity
msterling@msapr.net

Performed by:
2002 Olympic Gold Medalist, Alexei Yagudin
2002 Olympic Pair Champions, Jamie Salé and David Pelletier of Canada
2002 Olympic Pair Champions, Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze
of Russia (who shared the gold with Salé & Pelletier)
World Champion and six-time U.S. National Champion, Todd Eldredge
World Champion, Yuka Sato
World Silver Medalists and three-time U.S. National Pair Champions,
Jenni Meno and Todd Sand
World Bronze Medalists and three-time U.S. National Pair Champions,
Kyoko Ina and John Zimmerman.

Special Guest Performers:
Scott Hamilton
Olympic Champion, Kristi Yamaguchi
Olympic Champion, Oksana Baiul

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 4, 2004

Originally Published on ExploreDance.com

Tonight marked my first night, ever, at Madison Square Garden (MSG), NYC, and also my first experience with a live ice dance event. Madison Square Garden is very easy to navigate, with some initial guidance, and the sight lines and acoustics are excellent. In addition, for the first few pieces, I was allowed to take photos (no flash) in very close proximity to the ice. In chatting with an usher (the MSG ushers are historical and sports enthusiasts with a wealth of information), I learned that for the entire winter season, the arena ice remains intact. For basketball, layers of wood and the game platform are placed over the ice. For hockey, the platforms are removed; so, this ice dance event was actually performed on the hockey ice.

For many years, I have watched the Winter Olympics, with the extreme excitement of ice dance competition. So, tonight's experience with Smucker's Stars on Ice was the culmination of many years of imagining these very same skaters, dancing live in NYC, and in the finest of all arenas, Madison Square Garden. Smucker's Stars on Ice has its own lighting designer, and there were colored spotlights positioned in very effective patterns, some geometrical and some impressionistic, some stationary and some moving, some on one dancer and some on the entire arena. The music was piped in, along with ongoing announcements about the various stars, including jokes and background information. But, this was not a very cerebral event. Au contraire, Smucker's Stars on Ice can be a family event, as the entertainment is mainly visual, often comical, always athletic and virtuosic, and extremely energized.

Scott Hamilton says, "It's really all about balance, precision, and memories; all concepts that are beautifully brought to life on the ice." Olympic ice dancing champion Christopher Dean (of Torvill & Dean) says, "Time is such a wonderful concept to illustrate...It naturally allows you to create a mood, a feel. We've done that through the use of music, lighting, and beautiful projections on the ice. The task has been challenging and exciting at the same time." (Publicity Notes).

Tonight's recorded music was heralded with Grofe's Sunrise - Grand Canyon Suite, and introduced with Glenn Miller's In the Mood, as Scott Hamilton, ever vital and vibrant, danced a sexy, snappy solo, landing on his knees more than once. Yuka Sato danced to Misty with deep purple lighting effects and smooth and graceful dancing. Jamie Salé and David Pelletier danced a duet to Come Away with Me that had upside down skating and lightning fast spins. Todd Eldridge danced a powerful Flamenco and world-renowned, Oksana Baiul, of Russian origin, danced to Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake with an ethereal and elegant quality, as always. Alexei Yagudin danced a sensational solo, Memorial, exuding pathos and poignancy, as well as power and possession. To complete Act I, TGIF, an uplifting work for the entire cast, included train whistles, bullfights, black pants, and brilliantly colored blazers. The choreography was expansive and electric, as the ice dancers catapulted their bodies in aerobic fashion, as if the ice were merely a dance floor. This was truly impressive.

Act II brought Todd Eldridge, David Pelletier, Alexei Yagudin, and John Zimmerman onto the ice in a comical family fare, Work'n Time, with floor brushes and gray work outfits. Shall We Dance, with Jenni Meno and Todd Sand, presented multiple en air spins, with leaning bodies that defied gravity. Todd Eldridge danced When You Come Back to Me Again and leaned on one leg with miraculous momentum. There was a comical routine, in which Scott Hamilton engagingly entered the ice arena three times, before his final performance, to be mentioned below. Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze danced the traditional Kalinka in red and black glittering costumes, as Elena was tossed into the air, spinning without end. Balancing techniques were more than miraculous and mesmerizing.

The world-renowned Kristi Yamaguchi, in vibrant pink and purple lighting and costume, was extremely exciting and professionally poised, dancing to the melody, Have You Ever Been in Love. Alexei Yagudin danced Ain't That a Shame in pulsating, wild, and daring disco rock, and the children were thrilled. Jamie Salé and David Pelletier interpreted Ballroom, from the film, Strictly Ballroom, in a humorous, but wildly athletic performance that found Jamie riding David's neck, and, of course, all the while spinning on ice. Finally, the ageless and virtuosic Scott Hamilton danced to Michael Feinstein's live rendition of his own piece, Only One Life, sung from a platform on the ice. This was a tribute to one American soldier, and, with Michael Feinstein's vibrant vocals, Scott Hamilton ice danced across the entire arena with back flips and perfectly balanced leaps and landings. The cast completed this event with Time, danced in simple white costumes in a scintillating and soaring style.

Kudos to Scott Hamilton, Christopher Dean, Jef Billings, Jamie Isley, Roy Bennett, and the J. M. Smucker Company, and kudos to the entire Cast of Smucker's Stars on Ice. I eagerly look forward to experiencing their next event.


Smucker's Stars on Ice
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower



Smucker's Stars on Ice
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower



Smucker's Stars on Ice
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower



Smucker's Stars on Ice
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower



Smucker's Stars on Ice
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower



Smucker's Stars on Ice
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower



Smucker's Stars on Ice
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower



Smucker's Stars on Ice
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower



Smucker's Stars on Ice
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower



Smucker's Stars on Ice
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower



Smucker's Stars on Ice
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower



Smucker's Stars on Ice
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower



Smucker's Stars on Ice
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower



Smucker's Stars on Ice
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower



Smucker's Stars on Ice
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower



Smucker's Stars on Ice
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower



Smucker's Stars on Ice - The cast
Photo courtesy of Heinz Kluetemeir



Smucker's Stars on Ice - The cast
Photo courtesy of Heinz Kluetemeir



Smucker's Stars on Ice - Kristi Yamaguchi
Photo courtesy of Heinz Kluetemeir



Smucker's Stars on Ice - Oksana Baiul
Photo courtesy of Heinz Kluetemeir



Smucker's Stars on Ice - Scott Hamilton
Photo courtesy of Heinz Kluetemeir
 

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net