Japanese ice dancers Kana Muramoto and Daisuke Takahashi presented their programs for the 2021-2022 season at the Annual Labor Day Invitational, which took place in Estero, Florida, in early September.

Muramoto and Takahashi debuted a new rhythm dance to “Sōran Bushi” (a traditional Japanese sea shanty) performed by Maïa Barouh, laying down a clean performance of the high energy, fast-paced program that leaves little room for error. They were awarded 84.74 points to take the lead.

Coach Marina Zoueva told a Japanese outlet that it was her idea to use Japanese music because “they are so special that I wanted them to skate a piece that no other team could do this season. It was Kana and Daisuke who found the song. I think it is a sophisticated and original work based on Japanese tradition.”

Muramoto and Takahashi have kept their “La Bayadère” free dance from last season, but modifications and changes have been made to the program. Those adjustments paid off in their first performance of the year in Florida. The team earned 129.70 for the segment and with a combined tally of 214.44 waltzed away with the gold medal.

The improvement in their performance, execution and expression is a huge leap forward compared to last season. While the lifts are still a work in progress, Muramoto and Takahashi have raised the bar in every other way. Zoueva said the decision to keep the program for a second season was based on the feedback she received from all sectors of the skating world.

IFS OCTOBER 2018Throughout his singles career, Takahashi was admired and respected by the global skating community and his move into ice dance has only heightened his popularity.

“Everyone wants them to do well. I received a lot of advice from technical specialists and others, and I increased the density of the content accordingly,” Zoueva explained.

Muramoto and Takahashi are scheduled to compete at NHK Trophy in November.

Watch their “La Bayadère” free dance.