Monday, January 18, 2016

Elizabeth Punsalan and Jerod Swallow's 1998 Olympic Free Dance

First post of the new year. And it's a good one.

Elizabeth Punsalan and Jerod Swallow arrived at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano Japan with something to prove. Not to the judges, but to themselves.

After being unhappy with their material that season, the 5-time U.S. ice dance champions, scrapped their free dance and created a new program in the month between Nationals and the Olympics. They worked on choreography late at night into the wee hours of the morning. The end result was stunning. This piece, a variety of tangos by Astor Piazolla, is the best work of their career. Subtle and intricate, yet passionate and flowing, this program is a perfect example of why ice dancing is a showcase of masterful skating skills, beautiful movement, and the silent story that is told between partners.

Punsalan and Swallow were always under-marked, and this competition is no exception. Now many years removed from this event, the marks and placements simply don't matter. Brilliant skating always withstands the test of time.

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