Skating Highlights of the Week: Fantasy on Ice
Annual Japanese tour Fantasy on Ice opens in Makuhari and has its second stop in Kanazawa; week sees broadcasts from both cities.
The big show of both last week and this week was Fantasy on Ice. It’s another one of Japan’s annual summer tours, one that typically features not only top skaters, but also top Japanese musical artists. This year, this month-long affair travels through five different Japanese cities, with the exact cast varying from city to city. The musical talent includes a top violinist, a solo singer, and a popular two-man band. It was high-profile enough an affair to even attract the interest of the American TV network the Olympic Channel, who showed up at the opening show in Makuhari with their interviewers and their social media feeds.
It’s also the full return of Yuzuru Hanyu. After busting his ankle last fall, getting back on ice just long enough to win the Olympics again, and getting off again, he did some short skates in his Continues with Wings show, but it was only now he’s back to full strength. But also heavily anticipated was the arrival of Evgenia Medvedeva, simply to see if she’d make any comments about her recent coaching change. She did, talking to the Olympic Channel about it.
After their first shows in Makuhari last weekend, this weekend the show moved to Kanazawa, the cast losing only one skater. Both weekends saw the show recorded for broadcast, and both broadcasts have since aired. There were some variances in each broadcast’s contents, as well as even the programs performed.
Fantasy on Ice Makuhari
For his first full-fledged appearance post-injury Yuzuru Hanyu skated to the music of JPop duo Chemistry. Those jumps look as good as new, and he looks invigorated.
Medvedeva took to the ice with “Experience,” a program she choreographed herself to reflect her history. One sees the influence of longtime choreographer Ilia Averbuch here.
But Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte stole the show by dressing up as superheroes. Apparently they ship Spiderman/Wonder Woman. (That’s a new one.)
Violinist Emiri Miyamoto played “You Raise Me Up” and found the perfect match for it in Carolina Kostner.
She also can play The Swan, and Johnny Weir was on hand to revive his most famous ever program.
Akiko Suzuki is an equally good match when it comes to channeling the likes of Karl Jenkins and his Adiemus series music.
Miki Ando shared a flower with R&B singer May J.
Nobunari Oda also shared a song with Chemistry.
After a trip to Italy, Evgeni Plushenko brought his stunning steps and spiral back to Japan.
Satoko Miyahara, the one skater performing only in Makuhari, weaved her subtle magic.
Fantasy on Ice Kanazawa
May J teamed up with Miyamoto to do “I Dreamed a Dream,” a collaboration to which Virtue & Moir then applied their brilliance.
Chemistry, too, had a team up with Miyamoto, and gave Cappellini & Lanotte a chance to get romantic.
This weekend, the Italians eschewed being superheroes for something a little more mind-bending.
As well as doing her autobiographical number again, Medvedeva brought the beauty of her skating to “Memory” from Cats, as sung by May J.
May J also sung one of her own songs, accompanied by a sparkling Suzuki.
Javier Fernandez showed he can do quiet emotional numbers, skating to Spanish singer Pablo Alboran.
Misha Ge, of course, has long been showing audiences what he can do with “Ave Maria.”
Weir and Miyamoto repeated their Swan act, then he went from one glove to silver wrappings on his hands to do his cross-dressing “Creep” number.
Kostner had her new number to Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” to contrast with “You Raise Me Up.”
There might have been a bit much of the Andrew Lloyd Weber when Miki Ando did her “You Must Love Me” program, but she sold it well.
Later in the month, Fantasy on Ice will do shows in Kobe, Niigata, and Shizuoka, and while it will lose Medvedeva and Ge, it’ll gain far more additions to the cast. It’ll be quiet next week, however, when all eyes in the skating world will instead be on Spain, where the International Skating Union will hold its biannual Congress.