Introducing the Drobiazko & Vanagas

Skating Champions European Tour
Before and after the show

Part II

By Magdalena Osborne
Photos ┬ę EMJO

It's been too long since I last visited Germany! This wonderful country has everything to offer and as soon as we (Emjo and I) stepped off the plane in Berlin I was reminded why I love it so much. There was no snow although at night temperatures dipped below zero Celsius, painting trees, roads and lawns in a sparkly frost white color. During the days the sun was warm and bright like in the spring. December is a great time to come as the German Adventsmarkt is something extraordinary. We thoroughly enjoyed our short stay in Chemnitz walking up and down the rows of beautifully decorated booths. For wallets thick or thin there are all sorts of crafts to admire and mouth watering baked goods to smell and taste. Traditional German Christmas music is played and if all this don't put you in a Christmas mood, nothing will. Well, maybe a skating show, which after all was our reason for coming to Chemnitz.



The Eissporthalle is bright and spacious (and cold!), and for the occasion it was decorated with on-ice tables, complete with white tablecloths and heaters. This section was reserved for the VIP's and it was announced, under loud applause, that Frau Jutta M├╝ller, Witt's legendary coach, was one of them. The d├ęcor also included tiny red lanterns, and in the upper section: a palm tree! There were many men in the audience which was good to see.

We must pay compliments to the many chefs of the VIP buffet. They stood there ready to cook up the most delicious scampi and other bite size treats. The heaters placed above the stand-around tables were most welcome and gave us a reason to linger and enjoy a second helping. The VIP's were admitted first and could watch through the windows as the line of frozen people still waiting outside slowly moved along.

Something should be said about the show programs. They were very professionally made beginning with a personal greeting from Ingo Steuer. And the program was for sure a dream come true for Yagudin and Savchenko/Szolkowy fans as there were full page color pictures of them as well as smaller color pictures of most of the other cast. The poster advertising the event also showed Aliona and Robin, as did our accreditation badges and even the parking sticker. Fancy! Overall very little had been left to chance. The show itself was immaculately planned by Drobiazko & Vanagas and it's impossible to be objective about it. All the cast were true class acts and the costumes fabulous for both individual and group numbers.

Although the show ended late, there was a press conference afterwards in a warmer VIP area. A long table with several chairs was set up for the skaters. So far so good, but there were no microphones and the room was huge and filled with people talking, laughing and enjoying all the drinks. Aliona, Robin and Ingo arrived and sat down. They weren't able to say much as people immediately lined up to get autographs. Pictures were taken but it was still impossible to ask any questions. Finally a lady asked the crowd to hush, which worked to a degree, and the time was turned over to anyone having questions for the skaters or Ingo. My tape recorder, strategically placed in front of Ingo, picked up everything that was being said until his young son grabbed it and turned it off. It looked so cute but I really had to juggle my memory to recollect the missing portion.

Question: When Aliona and Robin teamed up in 2003, what were your expectations?

Ingo: I dreamed of a team that would get on the podium, and we did that last year at Europeans. This year we want to do it again and at Worlds also. I'm very happy, everything has turned out right!

Question: What does their success mean to German skating?

Ingo: Right now we have some very good skaters in Germany and there are young kids who want to be like Robin and Aliona. That will help make skating in Germany more popular and in time more successful, at least that's what I'm hoping.

Question: Do you have any other students?

Ingo: No, right now I'm very concentrated on Robin and Aliona. But maybe you saw in the corner of the arena, we had all the young skaters from the Chemnitz club and they are very promising.

Actually, we had seen them sitting there having a wonderful time. Aliona left and the autograph hunt was on again and in the middle of it all Povilas and Margarita made their way through the crowd to tell us their bus had to leave much earlier than they had anticipated. This was not good news since I had wanted to talk to them before they left, but I had to at least know if they were happy with the way the show turned out.

Povilas: This was the first time we came here and it was a bit cold in the rink, but the audience was great and everyone seemed to enjoy the show. For next time, next year, we'll strive for perfection!

Question: Will your tour expand next year to more German cities?

Povilas: We'll see. It would be great to do that but we'll have to see.

Well, we sure hope it'll work out so that they can.

Once things had quieted down somewhat, Robin was asked to comment on what it was like to skate for a home crowd:

Robin: I was very happy to be able to perform here; this was the first show in Chemnitz in several years. We've been successful lately and our fan base is growing and people are complaining saying they never get to see us except in the papers or on TV. But now I could tell them to come to this rink and watch the show!

And hopefully they did since Robin's and Aliona's only performance was in the Chemnitz show. Now they are busy preparing for the Grand Prix Final in which we wish them the very best!

For Margarita, Povilas and the rest of the cast it's back on the road. Skating fans still have the chance to see them in these cities:

VILNIUS, LITHUANIA December 10, 2006
2 shows!
2006 December 10 Vilnius
First show: 15:00 (doors open at 13:30)
Second show: 19:00 (doors open at 18:00)
Venue: Utenos pramogu arena, Azolyno g. 9 Vilnius, Lithuania
Phone: +370 52 424 444
E-mail: versenta@ledorumai.lt
Cast: Margarita Drobiazko & Povilas Vanagas, Stanick Jeannette, Rory Burghart, Laurent Tobel and Akop Manoukian & Armen Saakian
Guest stars: Alexei Yagudin, Tatiana Navka & Roman Kostomarov, Marie-Pierre Leray, Aidas Reklys & Collette House and the very talented violin player Katerina Bykova


KAUNAS, LITHUANIA, December 11 and 12, 2006
Show time: 20.00 (doors open at 18:30)
Venue: S. Daraiaus ir S. Gireno sporto cntras, Peruno al. 5, Kaunas
Phone: +370 37 201628
E-mail: sportohale@takas.lt
Cast: Margarita Drobiazko & Povilas Vanagas, Stanick Jeannette, Rory Burghart, Laurent Tobel and Akop Manoukian & Armen Saakian
Guest stars: Alexei Yagudin, Radka Kovarikova & Rene Novotny, Marie-Pierre Leray, Aidas Reklys & Collette House and the very talented violin player Katerina Bykova


TALLINN, ESTONIA December 13, 2006
Show time: 19:00 (doors open at 17:30)
Venue: Saku Suurhall, Paldiski str. 104B Tallinn
Phone: +372 6600200
E-mail: sakusuurhall@sakusuurhall.ee
Tickets office: www.piletilevi.ee

 

Cast: Margarita Drobiazko & Povilas Vanagas, Stanick Jeannette, Rory Burghart, Laurent Tobel and Akop Manoukian & Armen Saakian
Guest stars: Alexei Yagudin, Irina Slutskaya, Radka Kovarikova & Rene Novotny, Marie-Pierre Leray and the very talented singer Valerie


KLAIPEDA, LITHUANIA December 15, 2006
Free show
Show time: 15:00 (doors open at 13:00)
Venue: Akropolis Ice ring, Taikos pr. 61 Klaipeda
Phone: +370 52 414 348
E-mail: klaipeda@akropolis.lt
Cast: Margarita Drobiazko & Povilas Vanagas, Stanick Jeannette, Rory Burghart, Laurent Tobel and Akop Manoukian & Armen Saakian
Guest stars: Marina Anisina & Gwendal Peizerat, Radka Kovarikova & Rene Novotny, Aidas Reklys & Collette House, Valerie and Katerina Bykova

Happy skating holidays!

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