Photo copyright Liza Dey Photography
Trying to name 6.0 of 1984 World Champions Barbara Underhill and Paul Martini's best programs is like trying to name six of Julia Child's best recipes, six of Tracy Chapman's best songs or six of one of those football people's best touchdowns or home runs or whatever it is they do. I don't know anything about the team sports. I do know a thing or two about fantastic skating and as far as the marriage between music and movement and just simply beautiful pairs skating, Barbara Underhill and Paul Martini are two of the most talented and memorable stars the sport has ever seen. There's something larger than life about their skating that draws you in and something so authentic about their interpretations of music that puts you at ease and makes you completely in awe of their talent. Let's celebrate Barb and Paul by taking a trip down memory lane and enjoying 6.0 of their best programs! Grab yourselves a hot beverage (I sound like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory) and get ready for some great skating:
WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN
NOT A DAY GOES BY
ONE NIGHT WITH YOU/IT'S NOW OR NEVER
From their most emotional performance to one of their most lighthearted comes a look at Barb and Paul's tribute to the music of Elvis Presley. Skating to covers of The King's hits by Billy Ray Cyrus and Wet Wet Wet, Barb and Paul were tongue in cheek, sensual and even comedic in this larger than life program that can't help but make you smile from ear to ear every time you watch. It won the duo the 1995 Canadian Professional Championships and 1996 Legends Of Figure Skating Competition and was a fan favourite in shows. If you haven't seen this one before, get ready for an absolute treat!
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN LOVE?
Last and ABSOLUTELY not least on the list of 6.0 of Underhill and Martini's 'greatest hits' as it were is their signature program to the Oscar and Grammy nominated song "Unchained Melody", timelessly crooned by The Righteous Brothers. It's considered by many to be the quintessential love song and this program is considered by many to be one of the most romantic and seamless programs ever skated. What makes it so great? Let's talk about that for a minute. Well, for one... the choreography is just fantastic. Sandra Bezic outdid herself with this particular piece. The simplicity and strength shone and again, the use of highlights to accentuate the music is what makes pieces like this work. There is no rushing, there is no extraneous movement that we are questioning. Every edge and lift has its purpose in relation to the music. I remember Scott Hamilton commentating a professional event and saying of Rosalynn Sumners skating to "Hello Dolly!" something to the effect of "all she needs is a beaded gown and some big music and she can go out there and knock your socks off". A similar statement stands true for all of Barb and Paul's classic programs: sometimes less is much, much, much more. "Unchained Melody" is a superb example.
Skate Guard is a blog dedicated to preserving the rich, colourful and fascinating history of figure skating and archives hundreds of compelling features and interviews in a searchable format for readers worldwide. Though there never has been nor will there be a charge for access to these resources, you taking the time to 'like' on the blog's Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/SkateGuard would be so very much appreciated. Already 'liking'? Consider sharing this feature for others via social media. It would make all the difference in the blog reaching a wider audience. Have a question or comment regarding anything you have read here or have a suggestion for a topic related to figure skating history you would like to see covered? I'd love to hear from you! Learn the many ways you can reach out at http://skateguard1.blogspot.ca/p/contact.html.