Stars on Ice closed its 2015 national tour on Friday night at KeyArena.
Time flies when you’re gliding magically across the ice. Was it a year ago that Meryl Davis and Charlie White pocketed the gold medal for ice dancing at the Sochi Olympics?
It was. And while these awe-inducing skaters have not yet decided whether they’ll go for the gold again in the 2018 Olympics, they haven’t been idle. Davis won a round of “Dancing with the Stars.” The duo appeared together in several skating exhibitions.
And Friday night, when Stars on Ice closed its 2015 national tour with a performance at KeyArena, Davis and White earned their headline status with two beautifully harmonized duets. They also joined the rest of this year’s cast in some delightful group numbers created by their chief choreographer, 2006 Olympic bronze-medal figure skater Jeffrey Buttle.
Aptly titled “Dancing for Joy,” the program began with a classy ensemble number to George Gershwin’s overused, but here highly effective, “Rhapsody in Blue.” Garbed in silky, dove-gray costumes, weaving in and out of interesting patterns and formations, the cast set a tone for an evening that soared on gimmick-free skating.
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If the ice work was often balletic, the musical background characteristically featured tunes by current pop stars as well as more classic and classical fare.
Though he appeared here (along with Davis and White) in last year’s Stars on Ice edition, Ryan Bradley, 2011 U.S. Men’s Figure Skating champ, really made his mark this time around with a skate to One Republic’s “I Lived” and an adroitly comical take on the “Mr. Cellophane,” from the Broadway musical “Chicago.” Bradley has matured into a very engaging performer, and his tight jumps and back flips were clean as a whistle.
A silver Olympic medalist at Sochi, Patrick Chan brought poise and poetry to the ice, skating to a medley of the Beatles’ “Dear Prudence” and “Blackbird.” And his fellow Canadian Joannie Rochette added a little sass and pizazz in her numbers, which included one set to the torchy French anthem “La Vie en Rose.”
Two excellent ice-dancing duos with different personalities shone in their own ways. The Scottish brother-sister team Sinead and John Kerr fired up the audience with a rousing routine to the hard-strummed Mumford and Sons tune “I Will Wait,” which had Sinead flipping and lifting her taller brother with seeming effortlessness.
And there was some charming clowning by Tanith Belbin (who, by the way, is set to marry Charlie White later this month) and her ice partner Ben Agosto. Clad in bright togs and purple sneaker-skates, they tore it up to the upbeat oldie “Boogie Shoes.”
2010 Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek remains a crowd favorite, but there was a stiffness in his soloing, and in 2007 U.S. Women’s Figure Skating champion Kimmie Meissner, that contrasted with the greater musicality and charisma of others in the cast, including the eternally glowing 1994 Olympic pair gold medalist, Ekaterina Gordeeva.
But for pure enchantment, it’s hard to beat Davis and White. Their duet to the moody “Say Something” (a hit for A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera) was a mini-drama gracefully enacted on skates. It began with the two seated on chairs and ended with a wrenching, wordless breakup of a romance. In life, long may they skate together.