2024 Stars on Ice (Halifax) Review

Halifax is abuzz with the news that the 50th anniversary of Skate Canada International will be hosted in the city this fall. When people talk about major skating events alternating between cities in the "West" and the "East", the "East" always stops in Ontario and Quebec. Nova Scotia has only hosted Skate Canada three times in the event's fifty-year history. This upcoming event is expected to have a significant impact on figure skating in the Maritimes, and the anticipation and enthusiasm are palpable. That energy and excitement could absolutely be felt on the opening night of this year's Stars on Ice tour.

Last year's Stars on Ice tour was an emotional one, with Kurt Browning performing for the final time. It's natural for some to struggle with the idea of a tour without Kurt. However, this year's tour managed to capture the essence of Kurt in such a way that his presence was felt in every aspect, despite his absence on the ice.

The recurring theme of the show was the science of skating, as studied by the Skating Observation Institute - SOI for short. Throughout the show, the cast members would come out in small groups to conduct various experiments. The concept was clever and it was pulled off very effectively.


Keegan Messing attempted to break the world record for the longest backflip. The Quad God, Ilia Malinin demonstrated a single, double, triple and quadruple Axel. A long scroll of skating elements was unfurled for "Choreography 101". Satoko Miyahara performed every element on the scroll in fast succession. All was well and good until Paul Poirier and Madeline Schizas got into a fight over one of the elements on the list. Was it called a half-loop or an Euler? Amusing Easter eggs like this were interspersed throughout the show, presented in such a way that they were delightful treats for knowledgeable fans and entertaining moments for those who didn't know a Lutz from a layback spin.

The Skating Observation Institute's theme really pushed the skaters out of their comfort zones, and I was genuinely surprised and impressed by how well they all adjusted to the whimsical world of prop comedy.


The highlights of the first half of the show were Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier's stunning performance to Annie Lennox's haunting rendition of "A Whiter Shade of Pale", Patrick Chan's stunning performance to selections from the film "La La Land" and Satoko Miyahara's thoughtful interpretive piece to David Darling's "Minor Blue". I asked my dear friend Craig, who is not a skating person whatsoever, who his favourite performer in the show was and he immediately said Satoko.

The energy surged in the second half of the show. After a fall on a throw in their first number to the strains of Adele, World Champions Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps came out and delivered an absolutely fabulous performance to Deniece Williams' "Let's Hear It For The Boy" that was a huge hit with the audience. There were definitely many Deanna and Max fans in the crowd!


The first standing ovation of the evening was given to Patrick Chan for his farewell performance to "Send in the Clowns" by Frank Sinatra. The audience was so entranced that you could hear a pin drop while he performed. It was evident that everyone knew they were witnessing a truly special moment. Patrick will be greatly missed, and it was a privilege to witness his final tour live.


The standing O's continued with Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier's fabulous performance to Morgan Harper-Jones and Whitney Houston's interpretations of "I Wanna Dance with Somebody". This program had #TheSk80s written all over it and the choreography really showed Piper and Paul's fun side.

Elvis Stojko came out with a mic-stand for his second program, to AC/DC's "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution" and "Thunderstruck". Elvis had the crowd in the palm of his hand and was in amazing shape, nailing triple toe-loops and double Axels in this year's show. The electricity of Elvis' performance carried over to the finale to Crowbar's "Oh, What A Feeling", which was a high-energy, feel-good time. 


If you're at all on the fence about going to this year's show, don't be! The performances were top-notch, and watching a new generation of talented individuals breathe life into Kurt Browning's imaginative choreography was an absolute joy. You will love the show.

Skate Guard is a blog dedicated to preserving the rich, colourful and fascinating history of figure skating. Over ten years, the blog has featured over a thousand free articles covering all aspects of the sport's history, as well as four compelling in-depth features. To read the latest articles, follow the blog on FacebookTwitterPinterest and YouTube. If you enjoy Skate Guard, please show your support for this archive by ordering a copy of "Jackson Haines: The Skating King" and pre-ordering "Sequins, Scandals & Salchows: Figure Skating in the 1980s", which will be released this fall where books are sold: https://skateguard1.blogspot.com/p/buy-book.html.