Grace, style, pizazz, innovative choreography, dare-devil leaps, lithe, ballet-like maneuvers.
These elements were all there and more on Tuesday night when six Olympic and professional soloists and two dazzling teams glided onto the rink in the Salt Palace arena for two hours of world-class skating.
The only disappointment during the evening was the size of the audience. The arena was barely one-third full for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see some of the world's finest championship skaters doing what they do best - without the glitz and tinsel of a hyped-up "revue."
Instead of being restricted to gimmicky production numbers and fairytale, character-laden routines, the "Stars On Ice" show was anything but routine.
The loosely arranged format (with some changes from the hastily printed notes that were inserted the glossy official program) allowed the skaters to show their top-notch, Olympic-caliber form in a variety of solo and ensemble routines.
One of the most unusual and breathtaking ensemble pieces was a beautifully choreographed ballet-on-ice set to Bohemian composer Smetana's majestic tone poem, "The Moldau." Usually, this conjures up images of a babbling brook flowing and growing into the major Czech river that flows through Prague.
Now, when I listen to this classic orchestral work (one of my favorites), I'll envision Rosalynn Sumners, Kathleen Schmelz and Elaine Zayak gliding across the ice with long, billowing scarves flowing gracefully behind or between them. And Scott Hamilton, Brian Orser and Toller Cranston, along with Tracy Wilson and Robert McCall and Lea Ann Miller and Bill Fauver, in maneuvers that were patterned after Czechoslovakian folk dances.
One reason a last-minute program is inserted into the "Stars On Ice" program is because some of the stars' routines are dress rehearsals for upcoming professional competitions. The lineup of specific routines can change from month to month.
Canadian champion Toller Cranston, who also choreographed some of the ensemble pieces (the program did not specify which), demonstrated his artistic talent in two routines: "Spellbound" and "Le Corsaire." It was easy to see why he's been described as "Nureyev on Skates."
Wilson and McCall brought their own special brand of excitement to the ice with "Havana 3:00 A.M.," a tempestuous, Latin American routine, and "Chanson D'Amour."
Miller and Fauver were showcased in "O Mio Babbino Caro" and a sultry "On the Waterfront."
Sumners' time in the solo spotlight included a jazzy "Wilkommen" ("Welcome") from "Cabaret," and a cleverly executed rendition of "Walk Like an Egyptian."
Hamilton - arguably the hottest skater on ice today - was a real crowd-pleaser with his "Tour de France," the comical "When I'm 64" and the jaunty "In the Mood," the latter piece which earned him something rarely seen in Salt Lake skating shows - a standing ovation.
Orser was featured in a two-song segment during the first half of the program as a dapper "Lassiter," paired with the soulful "Harlem Nocturne" then, later, a novel version of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight."
Both Hamilton and Orser stunned the audience with their remarkable flips, spins and somersaults.
And it was probably just as well that the best - a hot, Latin-tempoed "Salsa" - was saved for the finale. From the dazzling maneuvers to the sultry costuming, I'm surprised that there wasn't just a puddle of water remaining on the arena floor after this colorful blend of fire and ice.
"Spectacle" is the first word that comes to mind, but that just barely begins to explain this fast-paced number.
"Stars On Ice" was an electrifying evening of sophisticated skating.
And it's unfortunate that so many people missed it. This kind of skating is seen all too rarely in these parts.
My one complaint, and it's a minor one, is that the show seemed a little fragmented. It just didn't flow quite as smoothly as the Torvill & Dean show did a few years back.
But the skating itself was incredible.