The 2010 Dreams on Ice
July 8, 2010
By Atsuko Kuryu
Photos © Munenori Hashimoto
This yearâ€™s edition of â€śDreams On Iceâ€ť was held in the Shin-Yokohama Ice Skating Center on June 25 - 27. These shows are very popular and tickets were sold out just five minutes after they went on sale, several months ago. But an hour before the show started there was a long line of fans outside the venue, hoping to be able to buy one of the few ordered, but never picked up tickets.
Almost all Japanese top skaters, except Nobunari Oda but including the top three junior skaters, joined this annual exhibition. Originally it was created in order for young Japanese skaters to get a chance to perform in front of an audience and to enhance their own powers of expression because they seldom had that opportunity. However, figure skating became very popular in Japan and consequently the skaters already have many chances to skate in shows. So although the show might have lost its original significance, itâ€™s still important to fans since, besides Nationals, itâ€™s the only chance to watch Japanese top skaters perform together.
Added to the Japanese skaters were three wonderful guest skaters: Evgeni Plushenko, StĂ©phane Lambiel and Laura LepistĂ¶.
The audience which filled the venue was really enthusiastic and seemed hardly able to wait. When the show started the expectations of the fans became so high that when the first skater, Shoma Uno, appeared on ice after the opening number, he was greeted with loud roars and cheering.
Shoma Uno â€“ Bronze at the Japanese Junior Championships
â€śFly Me to the Moon, The Saints Go marchinâ€™ inâ€ť
Shoma, who just graduated from elementary school this March, looked very tiny but his performance certainly wasnâ€™t. He showed extreme talent in showmanship and even though he fell or stepped out of some jumps, his performance was fun to watch because he knew how to appeal the audience. The elements were well executed fully using his little body. As everyone who watched him may think, I would say he is a very special and promising young skater.
Yukiko Fujisawa - Bronze at the Japanese Junior Championships
Mary Poppins: â€śChim Chim Cheree, A Spoonful of sugarâ€ť
Yukiko had her hair cut short and it seemed to change her image which used to be girlish and juvenile. In the costume of a chimney sweeper she looked boyish and a little older than she really is. But her soft and graceful skating was still there. Especially her spins were fantastic with fast rotations and beautiful positions. The playful footwork at the end of the program enchanted all in the audience.
Kent Nakamura â€“ 8th at the Junior Grand Prix Final
On his way up onto the international stage, Kent always performed gentle and artistic programs, but now he chose faster and more rhythmic music. At the opening night he didnâ€™t follow the music so well but gradually became better and on the third day, the final performance, he timed it very well. More than that he found his way to communicate with the audience, which could be a strategy for him to become a real top ranked skater. Although his jumps were not in top shape, the program was very enjoyable, and I hope a lot of people will see it at the galas of the competitions he will attend next season.
Haruka Imai â€“ 8th at Four Continents, second at the Japanese Junior Championships
Haruka looked lovely wearing a glittery pink costume with cheerleader pompoms. She skated an upbeat program which encouraged the crowdâ€™s excitement. Her long smooth spread eagle was very impressive and the spins outstanding. This performance was so enjoyable I felt like time went by far too quickly.
Narumi Takahashi/Marvin Tran â€“ Silver at the Junior Grand Prix Final and the Junior World Championships, 5th at Four Continents
This pair performed their new short program for the upcoming season. This is the fourth year for them and every year they have shown great improvement. They performed this jazzy program very well considering the time of the year. The side by side double Axel was a little off, but the twist was very high and consistent. Their throw jump looked a bit small and I hope Tran can throw Narumi a bit farther before too long. The side by side steps were beautifully synchronized. This pair might need to work some on their spins, but Iâ€™m sure this program can be very competitive.
Yuzuru Hanyu - Winner of the Junior Grand Prix Final and the Junior World Championships
Yuzuru won all the junior competitions he competed in the past season and will now step up into the senior circuit. His performance during this show was more than enough to show he is ready for this step and that he has the talent to deliver. â€śSwan Lakeâ€ť is his new short program but performed with a special Japanese touch at this exhibition. In spite of breaking in new skates and the jumps being a bit off, his performance was still something to see. Watch out! Yuzuru will be on the podium at international senior competitions very soon.
Kanako Murakami - Winner of the Junior Grand Prix Final and the Junior World Championships
â€śBe Italianâ€ť from NINE
If you expected the girlish type of program Kanako used to skate, you would be disappointed. She chose a more mature exhibition program this season. In a deep green, black and red dress she performed a fast and powerful program. She had good ice coverage and impressive danceable moves. She nailed four triples including a triple toeâ€“triple toe and a triple Salchow-double toe-double loop. A very promising skater for the upcoming season!
Kanako : â€śI want to show my new image. This program is sexy and grown-up and I try to express the essence of the music.â€ť
Yasuharu Nanri â€“ 9th at Skate America, 12th at Four Continents
â€śYasuharu Nanri Historyâ€ť
He didnâ€™t skate in this show last year because of hip surgery, so this year he decided to show a medley of his old exhibition programs to show his gratitude for the fans who still support him. All of these programs are very familiar to the fans and this performance was totally welcomed by the audience. Yasuharuâ€™s movements were very smooth and it seemed his range of moves has improved after the surgery. We can certainly expect him to have a brilliant time in his skating carrier this year.
Fumie Suguri â€“ 7th at Cup of China, 4th at Skate America
â€śSong of Scheherazadeâ€ť
Fumie appeared on the ice with her face masked and set an oriental atmosphere. She is known to be an outstanding performer and never disappoints her fanâ€™s expectations. As she had twittered, the first performance was not so exciting but day by day it improved. Even after the program was over, she left the rink as the Arabic slave, Scheherazade.
Tatsuki Machida - 4th at Four Continents
Last year, Tatsuki skated an enjoyable program and pleased the crowd. This year he brought a brilliant program and become a sensation. Along with the well known music his performance was passionate and the jumps huge. He looked thin and small in a black costume, but his energy was enormous. Watching him skate this program, you knew he is a contender for the Japanese world team, something special as the 2011 World Championship will be held in Tokyo.
Tokyo Synchronized Skating Team - 10th at the World Synchronized Skating Championships
â€śIryuâ€ť - the title tune from a Japanese TV drama
Many young skaters/teams showed great improvement from last year and this team was no exception. Their moves were much more powerful and smooth, in addition they followed the beat of the music which sometimes changed tempo. It was beautiful and fun to watch the 16 young ladies in black dresses. I hope they keep on improving with the 2014 Sochi winter games in mind.