Saying Goodbye to the 1980’s RD Theme


Article & Photos by Anne Calder & Gina Capellazzi

The music requirements for the 2023-2024 Rhythm Dance included “Music and Feeling of the Eighties”. Any music was possible provided it was originally released in the decade of the 1980’s. The couple should demonstrate through dance the culture and essence of this decade. The selected music may be remastered.

This announcement a year ago produced an outpouring of emotion in the world of ice dance. The pros and cons were bantered back and forth by athletes, coaches, choreographers, judges and, of course, the fans.

The season is now over and a new theme has been introduced for the 2024-2025 season. It is time to say goodbye to the old and welcome the new.

At the recent World Championships in Montreal, Canada, we spoke with ice dancers about their feelings of happiness or regret as the skating world bids adieu to the “Music of the Eighties”.

Madison Chock & Evan Bates (USA) – Queen medley
Chock: Since I wasn’t born in the 80s I can’t really compare it to anything, but this year I have really enjoyed taking a trip down to the 80s. I guess what I imagine it would be like – just like lots of big hair, lots of colorful outfits, and just hearing everyone’s music at training and competitions has been so fun. And so I’ve really enjoyed the 80s, especially Freddie Mercury – he’s definitely my jam, Queen.

Mariia Nosovitskaya & Mikhail Nosovitskiy (ISR) – George Michael selections
Mariia: Our coach chose George Michael.

Mikhail: I love the style of the 80’s. Next season, I am going to miss it, but we will find something new to do. The first few months skating this Rhythm Dance, it was kind of new, but I searched YouTube and all the dances of the 80’s, and It became more natural. The first months, it was hard.

Victoria Manni & Carlo Roethlisberger (ITA) – MTV Mash Up
Roethlisberger: For a year we heard the music of the 80’s, and now understand that the 80’s were iconic.

Manni: Skating wise, we had a lot of cultures up to the 50’s and 60’s. All this time we knew the songs, but maybe we did not know to reference them with the 80’s, so it’s nice now for us to hear a song, and say that’s from the 80’s. It’s been a learning opportunity. Now we’ll see what’s next.

Olivia Smart & Tim Dieck (ESP) “Call Me” and “Rapture” by Blondie
Smart: For a new team coming up with a concept together when you don’t know each other’s personalities and style fully yet, it is a good challenge. This season we based the programs off what suits our personalities already. Blondie is very much up my alley. I’ve been playing that character and that role and with the hair. It worked for me.

Davis & Smolkin (GEO) – Michael Jackson medley
Smolkin: We are a little bit sad actually. We really like this particular program we prepared for the World competition. It shows our strengths and abilities, so it was a joy to prepare for this competition. At the beginning of the season, not everything was smooth. We didn’t like everything about this Rhythm Dance, so we were always looking for something better. We finally found something.

Allison Reed & Saulius Ambrulevicius (LTU) – Guns ’n Roses medley
Ambrulevicius: It is a nice way to say farewell to this program. It was a very good time for us throughout the whole year with it, and it was very fun to skate in this arena and do it again in front of Canadian crowd. We’re going to miss it.

Charlene Guignard & Marco Fabbri (ITA) – “Holding Our For a Hero”, “Against All Odds”
Fabbri: We unexpectedly loved the 80s so much. I was born in the 80s, but can’t remember much of the 80s. We’re going to miss this program. It’s been a fun season and even practicing it has been fun.

Mariia Ignateva & Danijil Leonyidovics Szemko (HUN) – “Boys”, “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, “Push It”
Ignateva: We heard the music, “Boys” (Summertime Love) by Italian singer Sabrina one time. We said yes that we would take it. It is much easier to practice with this 80’s music than other seasons.

Szemko: Music of the 80’s, we love it. It’s amazing. While there is no more music of the 80’s, we are sure
that ISU will find something as unique and will surprise everyone with a new style.

Paulina Ramanauskaite & Deividas Kizala (LTU) – “I Love Rock N Roll”, “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, “Call Me”
Kizala: It’s definitely lots of fun with all the energetic music.
Ramanauskaite: It was very fun seeing everybody having different styles of the Rhythm Dance. At the beginning of the season, it was very interesting to think about the type of music, choice of music. We really enjoyed it.

Anna Simova & Kirill Aksenov (SVK) – Ghostbusters medley
Simova: At the beginning of the season when I heard we were going to have the 80’s, I was not happy. I was like, this is not my style. This is not something that I can express. When we chose the music and started to build the program, I started to enjoy it and love it. I will miss it a lot. All the ice dancers chose the best music, so I enjoyed all the Dances.

Aksenov: I will miss it. It was a great time.

Solene Mazingue & Marko Jevgeni Gaidajenko (EST) – “Walk This Way”, “Push It”
Gaidajenko: It was, of course, not our generation, but 80’s was definitely interesting because our parents listened to it, and our coaches listened to it, so they knew exactly what we needed. They gave us the right program to match our energy. We enjoyed to perform it through the whole season. We are going to miss the energy.

Mazingue: I actually loved the program. I am going to miss it and the mood of the 80’s. It’s really a treat
and so different from last year.

Lilah Fear & Lewis Gibson (GBR) – “Sweet Dreams” by Eurythmics
Gibson: We both enjoyed our music selection for sure. It’s been exciting. It’s also fun getting to just sing along to music as we were waiting to skate. That’s all I was doing. I was like hearing the track, and I’d have the melody stuck in my head. I just knew all the words. It’s cool. I’m like, its so fun. We didn’t grow up in that era, but our parents love that music.

Fear: We just love anything that’s fun and entertaining. The selections for the 80’s were filled with so many options. It’s cool to see everyone’s different personalities expressed through what they chose this season. 

Gibson: I’m excited for next year, though.

Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier (CAN) – “No More I Love You’s”, “Addicted to Love”
It was funny when we started to look for music we didn’t really know what route to go in, but I’m really happy with the direction that we chose. It was kind of unexpected for us, but it’s really gained momentum, and I’ve really grown fond of this program. Performing like we did today, it felt nice to kind of say goodbye. We won’t see you again, but it was fun.

Milla Ruud Reitan & Nikolaj Majorov (SWE) – Yello medley
Reitan: I think I will miss everything about skating to the 80’s music. It’s our first season together and first Rhythm Dance together, so it’s really special for us. I think just like listening to the music in practice, we’ll miss that as well. (On where she found a hair crimper for her 80s look): I got it from my grandma.

Gina Zehnder & Beda Leon Sieber (SUI) – Yello medley
Sieber: What I enjoy from watching the other skaters and the other programs, is really how fun all the programs are, like most of them are in a really good mood and super entertaining. We went in a little bit of a different direction with our music. We’re skating to the music from the group, Yello, which is an 80’s band from our hometown from Zurich. So that’s a cool factor. We are trying to differentiate ourselves from the
others by doing a little bit of a different take on an 80’s program, while still incorporating this whole atmosphere that the 80’s gave to the music.
(Their race-car program and costumes added a uniquely different theme to the 80’s music choices.)

Adrienne Carhart & Oleksandr Kolosovskyi (AZE) – Billy Ocean medley
Carhart: In the beginning of the season, I didn’t know how I felt about skating to the 80’s. There were so many different ways to develop it, but this program has really grown on us. We love it so much. We enjoy skating it. It’s great music that makes you excited to want to dance. After the theme was announced last year at Worlds, my dad who was born in the 60’s told us he had us covered. He then sent me about 120 80’s songs. We listened to them. I found “Caribbean Queen” and Sasha found the other two. It was quite a bit of research, but worth it in the end.

Christina Carreira & Anthony Ponomarenko (USA) – Selections by Stevie Nicks
Carreira: I’m glad how we skated our last Rhythm Dance. It’s a good way to say goodbye to the 80’s.

Phebe Bekker & James Hernandez (GBR) – Selections by Prince
Hernandez: A typical skating program does not conform to the 80’s. As we got more comfortable with some of the movements we kept changing it to make it more 80’s. We had some judges come to work with us. They were like, More, More, More.

Olivia Oliver & Filip Bojanowski (POL) – “Relax”, “Careless Whisper”, “Final Countdown”
(The team changed the entire Rhythm Dance for Worlds, including their first and last music selections)
Bojanowski: When we found out about the theme for this season, I was upset because I didn’t think I could feel it. Three times we sent music to our coach, but he said it wasn’t 80’s, so we could not use that music. When we started skating to the music the coaches chose, it was very enjoyable. We changed so much, that today it was basically a new Rhythm Dance. I really enjoyed doing it.

Olivia: It really brought the 80’s-girl character out of me. I’ll miss that part of the 80’s old school.

Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) I.AM Coach, Choreographer – (World, European, GPFinal Gold medalist)
What will you miss the most about the 80’s music?
Cizeron: Nothing! I have nothing against the 80’s. It is fun to some people and less fun to others. That’s always the challenge that we don’t always have things we would have chosen, but we make it work. We try to be creative enough to still produce and present something that we find interesting. But then why? Are we trying to compare the couples creativity, are we trying to touch an audience who can relate to the 80’s style of music? I’m not sure what is the point.

Did you find it challenging to choreograph for the 80’s theme? What is a favorite or least favorite element?
Cizeron: Extremely challenging, which is fine. We love a challenge. My personal least favorite element is the Choreographic PD. I understand where it’s coming from but it’s obviously not important. I’m not saying that to point fingers at anyone. Everyone is trying to do their best, but as a skater and choreographer it doesn’t result in something really exciting for people to watch – then it would be okay. Ice dance is so intricate, so complicated even for us that it’s almost impossible to explain it to someone who doesn’t practice ice dance.

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