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Stars align for Lake Placid performance

January 4, 2017
BY CHRISTIE SAUSA - Correspondent , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - "Stars on Ice" has always been one of Lake Placid's premier events, and on Friday, Dec. 30 it brought a legendary cast to the Olympic Center for a special one-night performance.

Olympic ice dance gold medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White led a cast of veteran and newer cast members that included two-time US National bronze medalists Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre, world champion Kimmie Meissner, national champion Ryan Bradley, world champion Yuka Sato, four-time US National champion Jeremy Abbott, world champion Jeffrey Buttle, two-time Olympic pairs gold medalist Ekaterina Gordeeva and Olympic pairs gold medalist David Pelletier.

The show incorporated several familiar elements from previous shows, while also allowing performers to experiment with different styles of skating and performance. Stars on Ice fans were given the opportunity to experience parts of previous blockbuster group numbers in the form of transitions.

Article Photos

Ekaterina Gordeeva and David Pelletier perform a death spiral during their Stars on Ice performance Dec. 30 at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid.
Photo — Christie Sausa

Many fans were most excited to see Davis and White, who captured an Olympic gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Games.

"We enjoy that we have more time to experiment with styles and movement, and continue to perform for the entertainment of the audience," Davis said. "So being able to dedicate time to that is a bit different for sure than focusing on competition."

Making the most of their flawless ice dance technique, Davis and White performed to "Un Sospiro" by Franz Liszt. Their second performance to "Sax" by Fleur East was playful and fun, showcasing their footwork and performance skills.

"Un Sospiro was choreographed with our long-time coach Marina (Zueva). (In this piece it) is very obvious that the two hands (playing the piano) have to work in concert, so we like that as an idea and parallel to our skating and how we have to work together," White said. "Sax was choreographed with Jeff Buttle; we always enjoy watching him skate in general and the energy he brings to choreography he creates. We wanted a slice of that for ourselves, so we decided to work with him, and that's exactly what we got with this program. It's a lot of fun, the movement is very Buttle, very crisp and clean, and it makes sense and it's comfortable. I can't say enough about working with Jeff."

Perhaps the highlight of the show for pairs skating fans was the pairs performance of Ekaterina Gordeeva and David Pelletier, who skated together in last year's special show, "Ekaterina Gordeeva - From the Heart."

Gordeeva and Pelletier are both legends in pairs skating; Gordeeva was an Olympic champion twice with partner and husband Sergei Grinkov, who died tragically of a heart attack in 1994 in Lake Placid.

Pelletier is the 2002 Olympic gold medalist in pairs with partner Jamie Sale, sharing the gold with Russian pairs skaters Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze after the 2002 Olympic judging scandal. The pair previously headlined past Stars on Ice tours.

Skating to "Autumn Leaves" by Charlotte Cardin-Goyer, Gordeeva and Pelletier skated beautifully together. Gordeeva also skated a solo performance to "Hometown Glory" by Adele.

The blending of past and current skating champions is a formula that works well for Stars on Ice, introducing young skaters to legendary skaters who left a huge impact on the sport, while entertaining casual skating fans with excellent skating.

One of the names Stars on Ice fans will recognize is Yuka Sato, a veteran cast member who starred in the 2001 and 2004-2010 tours. In addition to winning the World Championships in 1995, she is a two-time Japanese national champion and two-time Olympian. After her competitive career, she performed most notably in Stars on Ice but also started coaching. Her star pupil is Jeremy Abbott, whom she performed alongside during this year's tour.

"You can never get enough of it," Sato said. "Lake Placid is very special to me personally. So many beautiful memories and major history has been created here. I feel so blessed and privileged to be invited back time and again."

Sato skated two performances, one to "The Color of Roses" by Susan Anton, and the other to "Clair de Lune" by Claude Debussy which showcased her pure, classic skating style.

"The meaning of (the Color of Roses) resonates now that I'm older and have experienced so much more than the last time I skated to this song. I have more depth of performance that I can offer to tell a story," Sato said. "Clair de Lune is one of my signature pieces. I have never performed this program in Lake Placid, but it is a signature piece for me and I thought I should share it with the Lake Placid audience.

"Obviously this show is a tribute to our long-time Stars on Ice director and costume designer Jeff (Billings) and this program was the last time my creative team, with Jeff's costume design and lighting ideas and my long-time choreographer Lee Ann Miller, and I worked together on a performance. It's very special to me."

The show included a tribute to Billings, who was with the tour from its inception. Billings passed away in September at the age of 71, and his Stars on Ice family offered the following tribute in the program: "Tonight we say goodbye to you and pay homage to your beautiful vision and designs. We are truly fortunate to have been a part of this chapter in the story of your life."

Stars on Ice travels to Japan next to start the Japan leg of the tour, on Jan. 13. There will also be a spring tour, with dates and locations to be announced soon.

For more information on Stars on Ice, visit their website at



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