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Olympian skaters wow fans at E Center show

SHARE Olympian skaters wow fans at E Center show

"Smucker's Stars on Ice," Wednesday, May 26, E Center, one performance only.

WEST VALLEY CITY — Although there weren't Olympic medals to be captured, the performers for "Smucker's Stars on Ice" skated their hearts out during a show that was less serious and played on a sense of camaraderie that was entirely different from the performances at this year's Winter Olympics.

The production merged art and athleticism into an eclectic showcase of both individual and group performances that showed off the personality of each figure skater.

The audience didn't have a chance to get bored — with a mix of soft, graceful performances weaved in with hip-hop, swing and disco moves.

Skating to "Who Wants to Live Forever," 2010 Olympic gold medalists Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo, intimately connected with the audience and each other in an expressive performance that was not only technically seamless and exciting, but also heartfelt, as the couple held each other's faces and embraced.

The 2006 Olympic silver medalist, Sasha Cohen, showed off two sides of her personality. She glided elegantly to "Hallelujah," conveying the anguish in the song. With a red rose in her hair, she adapted jumps and two-handed Biellmann spirals into the spunky, pasodoble-style performance of "Espana Cani."

The show was full of upbeat, crowd-pleasing performances, too. One number by 2010 Olympians Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto went from jump roping on the ice to Agosto spinning Belbin by the straps of her small backpack.

Two-time world bronze medalist Michael Weiss drew screams from the crowd with his backflips, spread-eagles and knee slides across the ice. After several of the figure skaters searched the crowd with flashlights for world champion Yuka Sato, she was pulled onto the ice for knee slaps, shimmies and hops to "It Don't Mean a Thing."

And 2010 Olympic silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White mixed Bollywood moves with lift after lift.

Instead of sensing nervousness and pressure in the rink, the figure skaters appeared to be having a fun, carefree time — as though a group of close friends had gotten together for a lighthearted evening of their favorite activity — figure skating.

They grabbed the hands of audience members, threw ice into the air, and even wore jeans and T-shirts in several of the performances.

e-mail: mlizon@desnews.com