Preseason update

There's no time to waste in Canton

World's top three ice dance teams hard at work

By Klaus-Reinhold Kany and Lynn Rutherford, special to

(08/08/2011) - Things are humming at the Arctic Edge Ice Arena in Canton, Mich., with skaters and coaches working out the details of new programs from dawn till dusk.

Some of their students took much-needed short breaks, but after winning all three ice dance medals at the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships in Moscow in late May, coaches Marina Zoueva and Igor Shpilband have hardly had a day off. The month's delay holding worlds simply didn't allow it.

"Igor and Marina started to get some ideas for the new season before worlds and we had already chosen the music," Charlie White, who won a first-ever U.S. world ice dance gold with Meryl Davis, said.

"I've always liked the film La Strada (The Road) and its soundtrack by Nino Rota. Not many dance teams have skated to this music the last few years. We decided to use it because we want to portray characters in our program, in addition to showing all of the elements. We want to be actors on the ice."

Federico Fellini's 1954 film, which tells the sad story of an impoverished young woman sold by her mother to an itinerant performing strongman, certainly opens up new avenues for expression. The music was most famously used by Finnish skaters Susanna Rahkamo and Petri Kokko during the 1993/1994 season.

Davis and White chose three Latin pieces for the short dance: "Batucadas" by Mitoka Samba, "Life is a Carnival" (the required rumba) by various artists and "On the Floor" by Jennifer Lopez.

"Not everything is ready yet, because we were in Japan for the "The Ice" tour in July, doing eight shows, which was great,"

White said."We're not rushing into the season. We will start [competing] with Skate America in October, plus Cup of Russia a month later. We decided to do only two Grand Prix, plus hopefully the Final, and not three. We were satisfied with the amount of competitions we did last season and don't want to get too stressed."


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