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Fancy footwork and a few falls mark show

Source: Boston Herald
Date: January 1, 2000
Author: Christie Taylor

Copyright 2000 Boston Herald Inc.

"Target Stars on Ice" at the FleetCenter, Boston, Thursday night.

To the crowd at the FleetCenter Thursday night, the champion skaters of "Target Stars on Ice" could do no wrong. The skaters, who included Olympians Scott Hamilton, Kristi Yamaguchi, Tara Lipinski, Ilia Kulik and Ekaterina Gordeeva, as well as world champion Kurt Browning and British Champion Steven Cousins, were free from the watchful eyes and number scoring that they're so used to during Olympic and world competitions; they were performing for a crowd of fans. But on Thursday night it seemed they might have taken their freedom a bit too seriously.

There were four falls in the program's first half - Yamaguchi, Hamilton and Gordeeva went down. But the crowd continued its loud cheering as if they were passionate spectators at a world competition. Admittedly, each performer's energy level was high and their routines were full of personality.

Hamilton, known not only for winning numerous medals throughout his career, but also for his fight against cancer, was the best entertainer of the evening. His solo pieces - a funny caricature to Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al" and a skaters's spoof on ballet, set to music from "Don Quixote" - revealed his lighter side. He added his signature back flip to each routine and made it through those smoothly.

Lipinski shook things up with snazzy, almost mischievous attitude throughout the program. Her technique was flawless, and she hit every jump and turn without a hitch. Lipinski, the youngest in the group whose most recent medal was first place in the 1998 Olympics, skated like she was still in competition mode.

Gordeeva had a beautiful, serene way of moving, yet she got visibly frustrated after falling, then getting tangled up with a ribbon during one solo. Yamaguchi was also graceful when she skated to Paul Simon's "A Bridge Over Troubled Water" - part of a Simon and Garfunkel montage that closed the program's first half - but watching her lose her focus and fall in the middle was disappointing.

After intermission, Kurt Browning did a disco-saturated number that was show-stopping in the way he moved on the ice like it was a hardwood dance floor, and Ilia Kulik was charming, in an aw-shucks kind of way, in "Baseball Cap."

U.S. National Dance Champions Renee Roca and Gorsha Sur performed one of the two classical numbers on the program - "Ghost" to music by Bande Original Du Film. Elena Bechke and Denis Petrov smoothly pulled off the other, a czardas, where he lifted her overhead with one arm, then swung her off the ice by her arm.

Theirs was an example of how breathtaking ice skating can be - even without on-the-edge-of-your-seat jumps and turns.