Saturday Night at the Movies

Hosted by Nick Pilgrim

A Tribute to Soviet Style

Natalia Bestemianova and Andre Bukin
Free Dance -1985 European Championships

The immediate successors to Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, Bestemianova and Bukin's theatrical dance style could not have been more different from the Olympic champions from Great Britain.

Where Torvill and Dean caressed the ice with smooth edges, ballroom elegance, and complex transitions, Bestemianova and Bukin were angular, fiery and dramatic.

Here, their free dance to “Carmen” exemplifies the heat and passion Bizet's famous suite demanded. Treating the rink like an enormous stage, the Soviet couple stamped and vamped their way through four exciting non-stop minutes.

Natalia Mishkutenok and Artur Dmitriev
Free Skate - 1991 World Championships

Until its dissolution in December 1991, the former Soviet Union seemed to have an endless supply of champion pairs teams on tap. When Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov retired from eligible competition in 1990, a new team with a look of their own immediately stepped up to the plate.

Trained by the legendary Tamara Moskvina, Mishkutenok and Dmitriev had a program created for them, which showcased both her flexibility and his balletic strength. Watch particularly for the closing spiral and spread eagle sequence.

Their skate to Franz Liszt's “Liebestraum” was an immediate hit with judges and audiences alike. So much so that they kept it for the following season, and with it won Olympic gold in Albertville, France.