They're here! They're here! The Olympics are FINALLY HERE!
OK, yes, fine, the Sochi Games officially started yesterday. But tonight we'll get to see the splendiferous opening ceremony. And that makes it all so much more official.
The ceremony is also an opportunity for some pretty serious dancing. (NBC: Let's actually air the dancing this time, OK? Nobody wants a repeat of the London dance debacle.) And the choreographic mastermind behind tonight's sure-to-be-showstopping spectacle is actually a familiar face: Broadway's Daniel Ezralow, best known for his work on Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
Ezralow strikes a pose in Sochi (photo via thewrap.com)
Ezralow told People that he'll be using about 80 professional dancers and hundreds of volunteers to create a performance about "20th-century Russia." Here's the interesting thing: Though his grandfather fled Russia in 1905, Ezralow is pretty far removed from the country these days—he lives in L.A. So we're curious to see what kind of cultural-fusion choreography he's come up with. (We're picturing Bolshoi ballerinas flying through the air, Spider-Man-style...which actually sounds kind of awesome, right?)
Tune in to NBC tonight at 7:30 to see the show!
Yesterday, we said goodbye to what was perhaps the most dance-tastic Olympics of all time. And just like the somewhat cute (and somewhat creepy) Sochi Bear, we feel like shedding a single tear:
Mmk, we're done moping, we promise. Now let's talk about last night's closing ceremony. Just like the ceremony that opened the games, this event did not disappoint on the dance front.
We got more beautiful performances by Bolshoi and Mariinsky dancers:
(Photo by Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY)
As pretty as a painting. It almost looks like a Degas, doesn't it? (Photo by Richard Mackson/USA TODAY)
Those costumes... Can we be her please? (photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
We got some aeriel dance (from helium-filled clouds, naturally...):
Pretty psychedelic, huh? (photo by Jeffrey Swinger/USA TODAY)
And we got some circus performers:
OK, so it's not technically dance, but we're counting it—because we can. (Photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
But the most talked-about moment of Sochi's closing ceremonies involved a touch of dance humor. You see, during Sochi's opening ceremony, there was a technical difficulty. Five snowflakes that were supposed to explode into the five Olympic rings ended up looking like this:
The little snowflake that couldn't... (Photo by Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY)
But instead of hoping that everyone would forget about the mishap, Sochi's creative director Konstantine Ernst made sure everyone remembered, enlisting the help of 700 very sparkly dancers to recreate the incomplete Olympic ring formation:
(Photo by Richard Mackson/USA TODAY)
But then, in an act of glorious redemption, the fifth ring swirled open! (Click here to watch a clip of the big moment.)
(Photo by Gregorio Borgia/AP)
Kudos, Russia. That was pretty darn funny.
Fingers crossed that the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics will bring us just as much (if not more) dance. Gangnam Style, anyone?? We can dream.
What do Kristi Yamaguchi and Evan Lysacek have in common?
Let's see: They're both American figure skaters. They've both won an Olympic gold medal for their performance in singles (Yamaguchi in 1992 and Lysacek in 2010). They're both currently enjoying a pressure-free visit to Sochi...
Oh, and they both beasted "Dancing with the Stars." Yamaguchi took home the coveted mirror ball trophy in Season 6, while Lysacek placed second to Nicole Scherzinger (he was robbed!) in Season 10.
Kristi Yamaguchi and her partner Mark Ballas (photo by Kristy McNeal/ABC)
Evan Lysacek and his partner Anna Trebunskaya (photo by Adam Larkey/ABC)
But “DWTS” isn’t only for the figure skaters. Speed skater Apolo Ohno snagged the Season 4 trophy and gymnast Shawn Johnson won Season 8. (And there are over a dozen other Olympians who have made their way to the “DWTS” stage.)
This week, Entertainment Tonight caught up with Yamaguchi and Lysacek in Sochi to ask them the big question: Who will be the next “DWTS” Olympians?
Here’s what they had to say:
Which Olympian would you like to see on the "DWTS" stage?
Let's begin by saying that luger Kate Hansen is, indisputably, the Dancing Queen of the Sochi Olympics. But she's not the only Olympian boogying her way through the games: U.S. bobsledder Jazmime Fenlator is giving Hansen a run for her money.
Yesterday, Jazmine's teammate, Lolo Jones, posted this Vine of Jazmine in a pretty intense dance-off with a member of the Jamaican bobsled team:
Leave it to dance to bring Olympic competitors together! Also, can we live in the Olympic Village, please? Looks like we'd fit right in.
As we suspected, the 2014 Winter Olympics' opening ceremony Friday night was nothing short of sensational. A flashy and mind-boggling revue spanning Russia's rich history, it had all the ingredients necessary for a Broadway-sized spectacle—multiplied by a bajillion. Special effects? Check. Amazing sets? Check. Wacky costumes? Check. Far-out symbolism that was slightly over everyone's heads? Check!
Missed it? Here's a rundown of our five favorite moments (excluding the ever-trending snowflake-to-ring debacle):
1. Svetlana Zakharova. Need we say more? The Bolshoi star appeared during the section representing Russia's Imperial age with a tribute to Tolstoy's War and Peace. Plot line? Didn't matter—once Zakharova displayed some leg and foot action, the night was complete.
A heavenly pas de deux: Danila Korsuntsev and Svetlana Zakharova. (Photo Paul Gilham/Getty Images via ctpost.com)
2. Ivan Vasiliev. Also part of the War and Peace dance break, he broke the mold with this manège:
Swoon. (Gif via Vanity Fair)
3. The human-size hamster wheels plus all the dance and theatrics during the Age of Industrialization section.
Not sure what this contraption would make...but all the moving parts were super cool. (Photo by Grigory Dukor/Reuters, via nbcnews.com)
4. These light-up roller-skaters and sky-bound illuminations:
White unitards are rough—LEDs make them better. (Photo Ryan Pierse/Getty Images via nbcnews.com)
5. That moment when we thought it was over, but then Mariinsky star Diana Vishneva appeared and twirled to music from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, MOMIX-style (the ceremony's choreographer, Daniel Ezralow, was one of MOMIX's original dancers and choreographers):
The whirling Vishneva. (Photo REUTERS/Brian Snyder via yahoo.com)
Bonus: Team USA's promenade into Fisht Olympic Stadium. USA! USA! (PS: If anyone has an "in" at Ralph Lauren, I'd love a complimentary USA sweater. Thanks!)
USA! USA! USA! USA! (Photo via mashable.com)
Oh my gosh, you guys.
We owe Buzzfeed an eternal debt of gratitude for introducing us* to "ski ballet," the most amazing Olympic sport that ever was.
Unfortunately, we're using the past tense here for a reason.
At the 1988 and 1992 Olympics, ski ballet was a demonstration sport—it had a trial run, essentially, to see if it was worth including permanently. AND IT WAS GLORIOUS.
Here's the ridiculous thing: The judges saw all that amazingness and still somehow failed to renew it in 1996. A few years later, the International Ski Federation discontinued all ski ballet competitions.
The world makes no sense.
Anyway, we're with you, Buzzfeed. Maybe it's too late for Sochi, but let's get on bringing ski ballet back. It doesn't seem totally unrealistic—the X Games is adding "snowboard ballet" in 2015, after all. And just look at it!
*Fine, maybe we weren't total ski ballet newbies. But are you really mad at us for posting about this fantabulousness again? We didn't think so.
NBC's "Today" is in full-on Olympic fever mode (aren't we all?). This morning, the show's Sochi installment was a look at Russian ballet, particularly as it relates to the training of Russia's figure skaters.
In addition to touring the Bolshoi Academy (where they captured footage of some very sweet—and serious—little ballet students), "Today" interviewed our friend Keenan Kampa, the gorgeous American dancer who's an up-and-coming member of the Mariinsky Ballet. Hi Keenan!
Take a look:
Let's talk about Olympic figure-skating hopeful Gracie Gold, shall we?
OK, no, she's not a dancer. But 18-year-old Gracie's one of those rare skaters who's more than just an athlete. In addition to nailing all her technical elements, she moves with balletic elegance, fluidity, and purity of line—elements that, while they don't necessarily affect her final score, make her routines even more compelling (especially to us dance nerds).
Most ice skaters take ballet classes, and Gracie's no exception: She revealed on "TODAY" yesterday that she still dons ballet slippers twice a week.
Here's Gracie's free skate routine from Saturday's final round of the US Figure Skating Championships, where she earned her first national title. Gracie performs beautifully to a medley from The Sleeping Beauty, doing her best Aurora while also, you know, throwing off about a hundred triple jumps.
We're rooting for you, Miss Gold! May your awesome name prove prophetic in Sochi.