Tag Archives: Dancing

Ice Dancing Siblings Alex and Maia Shibutani Earn Audience Raves at Their 2018 Olympic Debut

To audible audience joy, siblings Alex and Maia Shibutani skated to second place in the short dance at the first half of the 2018 Winter Olympics‘ figure skating team event on Sunday morning. But they left the rink a little disappointed with their scores, they told reporters.

Speaking to PEOPLE minutes after leaving the ice, Alex, 26, reflected on the craziness of competing on an Olympic staged, watched by the world.

“We just saw Hoda and Al from the Today show sitting in the crowd and we’re like, ‘Oh this is cool, like they’re not at every competition we do,’ ” he says. “We saw Michelle Kwan sitting in the stands with her mom.”

“We see faces in the crowd that we recognize and that’s special,” Alex tells PEOPLE. “I think a lot of athletes, well I can’t speak for everyone, but some people are really in the zone and we know how to be in the zone while also embracing  the moment and looking around us and having these memories that we’ll have for the rest of our lives. … It’s just a special feeling and to be out there the two of us, that’s always special wherever we are.”

Keep Following PEOPLE’s Complete Coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics

Alex and younger sister Maia, 23, dominated nearly all of their competitors at the short dance portion of the team event in Gangneung, South Korea, on Friday morning (which was aired live in primetime in the U.S., on NBC).

Performing seventh out of 10, their total score of 75.46 shot them more than 10 points ahead of second place at the time they skated, and the crowd had clearly been won over by the end. Then Italy, Canada, and the Olympic athletes from Russia, competing in the eighth, ninth and 10th slots, also made a strong showing — but the “Shib sibs” held on, ultimately coming in behind only Canadians Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue.

“Yeah, I thought we brought it,” Alex told reporters after skating.

Maia echoed that, saying:

“I mean the audience, you guys can hear it, they’re amazing. The energy is unlike any other event we’ve bene in. So I feel like Alex and I really just took the time to enjoy the moment and I’m really proud of the skating we showed today.”

It was good enough to keep Team USA in the top five, meaning they will likely qualify for the second half of the event when the men, women, pairs and ice dancers from the top five countries so far will all perform their free skate or dance.

Still, despite that success, Alex said they were “a little surprised by the score, to be honest.”

He explained: “We’ve been accustomed to receiving stronger scores with skates that maybe weren’t even as strong as today’s, so we’ll have to go back and see what the panel saw and how they determined our scores.”

“So that’s a little bit disappointing — but overall we’re just so psyched with our skate, and that’s what we came here to do and looking forward to the rest of the competition,” Alex said.

The figure skating team event continues Friday morning with ladies singles, including a short program from American teen Bradie Tennell, who has shot from relative obscurity to Olympian in a matter of months.

'Shib Sibs' Ice Dancing Duo Alex and Maia Shibutani on Their Olympic Training and Lifelong Bond

The Shib Sibs are back!

Brother and sister Alex and Maia Shibutani were breakout stars of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Now, they’re eager to snag a top spot at the PyeongChang Games this month.

“We feel really good and excited heading into our second Olympic games,” Maia, 23, tells PEOPLE. “We learned so much from our first experience in Sochi. It inspired us a lot, but since then our career has really taken off.”

The sibling duo finished ninth in Sochi, but Alex, 26, says he and his sister left the Games more focused than ever.

“We came away incredibly motivated,” Maia tells PEOPLE. “We knew that our goals and our sights were set on 2018 and that gave us four years to develop our craft and really grow as people.”

Keep Following PEOPLE’s Complete Coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics

She adds: “We focused on a lot of the work on the ice, but then we also just took our skating to a whole other level by reaching outside of our lane and really collaborating with incredible people.”

In 2018, along with performing Mambo, cha-cha and Zumba numbers, the pair will do a free dance to Coldplay’s “Paradise” — a nod to their headline-making number to the group’s hit track “Fix You” performed last year at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

“That was at a moment in our career when we really needed to find ourselves,” Alex said of the win. “It’s nice to be back to Coldplay, but we’re doing it in a completely different way.”

The duo has been performing together for more than a decade, and Alex says that what makes the two special is their relationship both on and off the ice.

“We often get asked is it harder to be a brother and sister in ice dance and there are always challenges but I think that what sets us apart makes us unique,” he tells PEOPLE.

2018 Olympic Winter Game Hopefuls Talk the Power of Sports & the NFL National Anthem Controversy

“Maia and I have always had a really great relationship,” he also says. “I remember being really excited to have a younger sister because I think I knew that I would have a friend. And we’ve been friends ever since.”

“We’re a really balanced team in that respect. I understand the things that Maia does really well and she understands the things that I do well and so being able to combine those things makes us a really formidable team and I think that gives us an edge over the competition.”

REPORTING by ADAM CARLSON

What's the Difference Between Ice Dancing and Figure Skating? Olympian Evan Bates Explains

The Winter Olympics are here and buzz surrounding the worldwide competition is heating up.

For many fans, figure skating events are an Olympic highlight, but every four years many people seem to have the same question: What’s the difference between figure skating and ice dancing?

The short answer is that ice dancing falls under the broader umbrella category of figure skating.

Leading up to the PyeongChang Olympics, PEOPLE sat down with 2018 Olympic ice dancer Evan Bates, whose partner is Madison Chock, to clarify some of the differences between figure skating and ice dancing.

Keep Following PEOPLE’s Complete Coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics

“Ice dancing has more restrictions,” Evan Bates explained to PEOPLE. “We can only do lifts that are below the head so I can’t raise my hands above my head, which is a really easy distinction when you’re trying to differentiate between pairs and ice dancing.”

According to Shape.com, ice dancing places more importance on having a graceful and entertaining routine compared to figure skating, which focuses more on jumps, lifts and spins. Figure skaters are scored based on connecting their footwork for all of their various moves, but ice dancers are evaluated by the precision of their moves.

RELATED VIDEO: Olympic Hopeful Figure Skaters Show You How to End a ‘Perfect Performance’ in 5 Steps

“We’re really more like ballroom dancers,” Bates explained. “We’re interpreting music, putting a lot of emphasis on the connection between the couple and on the connection to the music.”

Ice dancers work together in pairs to complete their routine, and the music that they dance to must have a steady rhythm for skating.

San Diego Ice Arena coach and former ice dancer Justin Ross told NBC San Diego that while pairs figure skating is recognized by its throws and jumps, ice dancing pairs are scored more on how they move together as one. For example, if one dancer moves or spins at a slightly different pace than their partner, it could mean huge point deductions.

Ross continued to explain that pairs figure skating is all about the heavy lifting and jumps, placing an emphasis on over-the-head lifts, triple jumps and throws — all things you won’t see in an ice dancing routine.

The 2018 Winter Olympics will air live starting Feb. 8. To learn more, visit teamusa.org.

WATCH: Internet Goes Wild for Grandma Dancing to Daddy Yankee's 'Dura'

A few weeks ago, Daddy Yankee challenged his followers to send videos dancing to his new song “Dura” and a grandma showed him she’s got the moves! Daddy Yankee loved the video of her stepping along to the dance hit, next to her workout teacher at a gym class, and reposted it. “The abuelita is dura. She looks so beautiful dancing. It’s one of my favorite videos,” the reggaeton star said in his caption.

The singer has been reposting his favorite videos of the “Dura” challenge. He also shared the sexy dance video posted by Zuleyka Rivera on her Instagram. The Puerto Rican actress and former Miss Universe, who was the model for Yankee and Luis Fonsi’s record-breaking music video “Despacito,” drove social media wild with her own “Dura” video. In mere hours, her clip garnered over 1,700,000 views and thousands of comments.

The catchy song, which is about a girl who is “dura” (“hot”), is inspiring people of all ages to get up and dance. Daddy Yankee’s followers fell in love with the grooving grandma, showering her with compliments. “That’s going to be me at that age,” one said. “She’s divine,” another gushed. “The best one of all!” a third chimed in. The endearing clip already has over 3 million views — Zuleyka Rivera has fierce competition.

A video of an 88-year-old Irish lady dancing to Daddy Yankee and Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” also went viral last year. Apparently the reggaeton star is a hit with older generations too.