Konnichiwa from Aichi for the last time! We cannot believe that our final event is already over – the time here was simultaneously intense and it flew by faster than expected.
We woke up this morning ready to ruffle some feathers and to bring our Swan Lake story to life for the Free Dance event. Our interpretation involves Alex being the embodiment of evil, although his true nature is initially hidden from Ellie, and she is representative of pure sincerity and beauty. As the program progresses, Ellie comes to realize and almost fear the evil within Alex, but by that time, she is so intrigued by his danger that she ultimately becomes his ally and embraces the evilness too, culminating in our final pose – one that is delicate and beautiful, yet dark and dangerous!
We skated 2nd in the 2nd group, and Alex spent the final minute of the warm-up stalking his prey (Ellie), as he was getting himself into character. The program was exhilarating – the audience felt alive and was easy to build off of, helping us to transform into our characters. We entered the ice as athletes, but we completed the program as actors. At the risk of sounding lame — it was a transformational experience for us as a team and a complete departure from any program theme that either of us has done before. The audience responded with extremely generous applause, and we cherished our moment at center ice! Our program earned 4th place marks and a new personal best in our FD; our teammates Rachel and Michael ended the event with the bronze medal!
For the remainder of our Team USA experience, we cheered on Jimmy and Kevin for their long programs, presented a gift of appreciation to the president of the Japanese skating federation and then we celebrated our week with an authentic Japanese dinner for the team. The guys all sampled marbled horse sashimi, which Alex jokingly referred to as “Spirit” just to annoy equine-aficionado Ellie, and then we unwound at a karaoke bar. Rachel & Ellie shared a duet of “Wrecking Ball,” Jimmy & Michael channeled Eminem in “Lose Yourself,” while Alex & Michael crooned “Can’t Help Falling in Love” back to Jimmy.
Rachel and Alex closed the evening with an appropriate anthem to sum up the experiences of the team – Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” While we skaters had the fun, none of this could have happened without the guidance of our team leader, Ann Barr!
The team splits up tomorrow – headed back to all parts of the United States. Alex and Ellie will tour historic Kyoto tomorrow with our families and Adrienne, before returning to Novi and to see what Igor has in store for us!
We appreciate the support and interest from the IDC readers and we hope that this blog helped you to understand what it’s like for a new team to spread its wings in dreams of soaring.
~ Ellie & Alex