Yesterday I saw the finals for senior pairs and ice dance at U.S. Nationals 2016. I sometimes forget how visceral the response to watching skating can be, but I realized mid-way through the Shibutani’s program that I was holding my breath and that my heart was pounding and my palms were sweating. I haven’t felt that in a long time.
I have written elsewhere about Alex and Maia Shibutani’s long program to Coldplay’s “Fix You.”
The ShibSibs performed that beautifully here. The judges thought so too; they came in first. I have been a fan of theirs for years, so I was delighted to see their first U.S. title. My palms don’t sweat for nothing!
But I also wanted to highlight another program that I thought was just breathtaking: Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker, skating to music from the film, The Theory of Everything.
I will try to add a video from Nationals when one is available, but here they are at Skate America.
If you’ve seen this film, you will know that it is about the renowned physicist Stephen Hawking and his first wife Jane. I thought that this was one of the most moving programs I’d seen in ages. The music is put together seamlessly, and conveys a range of emotions. The choreography, gestures, and facial expressions reference the complicated relationship between the characters in the film: Stephen Hawking as he struggles with his growing disability, Jane Hawking as she copes with the demands of the marriage. I noticed that Kaitlin had tears in her eyes at the end of the program, and I hope that was part of the story, not because of their skating. They skated beautifully.
So it’s a little sad to have Nationals over and done with. Part of me still hopes to be able to sneak away to Boston for Worlds, but this looks increasingly unlikely. At any rate, I’m looking forward to getting my own skating back in gear after the bruise (that now looks like some kind of weird tattoo, mapping out all the points of contact between ice and body) fades a bit. Sitting down is the worst part!