Ice Network

The Inside Edge: Aldridge, Eaton debut new routine

Miner suffers ankle injury; Buckland undergoes heart surgery
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Alexandra Aldridge's grandmother painted the ornamentation on Daniel Eaton's free dance costume. -Getty Images

Miner sprain

We were sorry to hear that Ross Miner injured his right ankle on Nov. 7, necessitating his withdrawal from Trophée Eric Bompard.

"I fell on a triple axel in my short program and sprained my ankle," Miner told us. "It's nothing too serious, it's just bad timing. I was ready to go, and then I did something stupid to my ankle."

Miner said the injury was a Grade 1, or a slight sprain. He plans to be back to regular training by the middle of next week.

"I'm working on choreography right now, and trying to make the most of the time that I have," he said.

Skate Canada didn't go as planned for Miner, who finished in ninth place at the event, but he said things have been going pretty well since then.

"Canada obviously wasn't the skate I was hoping for or had trained for, but I'm going to find the silver lining and make it positive and use the time wisely," Miner said. "I'm excited to go and have a great Nationals, that's really what I'm focused on."

Bollywood wedding

Alexandra Aldridge and Daniel Eaton made their Grand Prix debut in China with a sparkling new free dance to Indian music.

"When we started this season we were unsure of what to do for music, because all the pieces of music we've skated to so far have been more for the crowd and not so much the musicality," Eaton said. "We were trying to involve the crowd as much as possible."

Pasquale Camerlengo -- who choreographs for the team along with coaches Angelika Krylova and Massimo Scali -- came up with the idea of Indian music, specifically Bharata Natyam, a classical style from southern India. The last part of the dance is to Bollywood music.

"My dad had heart surgery (recently)," Eaton added. "The doctor was Hindu and he set up a couple of connections for us to go and watch some dances."

The team has been working with Chaula Thacker, the artistic director of the Nadanta dance company, and they have been to several dance performances to learn the style and gain inspiration.

"It was such a beautiful dance," Aldridge said. "There was one part I wish we could have incorporated -- they have bells on their ankles, as part of their outfits, and the sound adds to the musical accents. We incorporated the precision of their hands, and how it told the story of the whole dance."

The hand gestures, and the dance as a whole, tell a story. The lyrics of the first piece tell the tale of a young girl trying to find a lost piece of jewelry.

"It's about a couple meeting and trying to go through life," Aldridge said. "In the beginning it's a search for a connection, in the middle it's a story of love and compassion, and the last section is a fight, a battle."

The costumes are part of the story, too. Both are made from traditional wedding clothes.

"I bought a sari wedding gown from an Indian bridal shop," Aldridge said. "All we had to do was make the skirt skate-able, we didn't change the top at all."

"The shop is run by our choreographer Chaula," Eaton went on. "She imports all the costumes from India. Alex's grandma hand-painted all the embroidery on my costume to match Alex's, which was remarkably tedious work."

Heart

Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland won the Ondrej Nepela Trophy in October. According to a blog entry posted by Buckland on Nov. 12, he was told shortly after the competition that he needed a heart procedure. He wrote that he has had a tachycardia, or racing heart, condition for several years. He has now had a minimally invasive procedure to cauterize a nerve in his heart, and he's back on the ice -- in fact, the team is in Paris to compete at Trophée Bompard. Read the full blog entry here.


Winners

Lots of people showed up at NHK Trophy with new costumes, trying to reach new heights in the Olympic season. Most of the new looks were improvements and all were interesting. Sergei Voronov and Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov made their Grand Prix debuts in stunning style. Ilinykh and Katsalapov, skating to Swan Lake, made an early bid for best-dressed in breathtaking ballet costumes. Her black swan tutu was embellished with silver Secession-stylized feather patterns, and his Von Rothbart magician echoed the feather shapes in powerful black-on-black. We would prefer her look without the gloves, elegant though they were. Perhaps for Sochi?

It is a year for silver and black, as Daisuke Takahashi, the Shibutanis and Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier also wore the striking combination. Voronov skated his free program in one of the best men's costumes we've ever seen, a white jacket trimmed with ornate, stylized black paisley patterning. The black lapels set it off perfectly and the pattern on the sleeves melded into black gloves -- this time, the gloves worked just right.

Valentina Marchei is wearing stunning creations by Carmela of Silvia Fontana's company Karisma. We also liked both of Takahashi's costumes, Mao Asada's new free skate dress and Jeremy Abbott's new multi-colored shirt. Bravi.

Sarah and Drew

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