Wednesday, September 29, 2010

That Slow Dance

Finally, my first taste of Nebelhorn: the Shibutanis. This video could not make for a better start to my following of the international season. I love them, and I love this program.

Being a sibling team presents a number of challenges to and limitations on their programs, obviously--the intense romance and sexual tension that simply oozes from Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir is (should be?) impossible, and would be so highly problematic if it were. The Shibutanis have dealt with this well, though, without becoming cutesy or gimmicky, and they have made music choices that bring an element of romance onto the ice without actually implicating them. This was true of their exhibition from last season, which I adored, and it is true of this FD, which has a very similar era and feel.

In this musical sense, this program is very trademark Shibutani--or what I hope will become their trademark--but their lifts have the very clear Marina Zoueva/Igor Shpilband mark. The entrances and exits for their six-second lift in particular, while gorgeous, are quite reminiscent of both Tessa & Scott and Meryl Davis & Charlie White. Looking at these three teams has also led me to conclude that the coaching pair really knows how to dress their teams. Maia's dress is beautiful, and it makes her look even more mature than she already does.

One thing that really stood out to me was how much their twizzles have improved. They were by no means poor last season, but this time they were remarkably sharp, fast, and together. The sparse audience noticed it, too. :)

Apparently there are a few technical issues in this program as it stands now, but it is early in the season and I can't imagine anything slipping by Zoueva and Shpilband's eagle eyes (unless, of course, they are distracted by having too many top teams under their tutelage at once, which is something I've been wondering about ever since Emily Samuelson & Evan Bates announced their coaching change).

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