Pros Bring Ballroom Flavor to the Ice for Detroit Dancers
Junior and Senior Grand Prix FinalPhotos by Melanie Hoyt Read More +
Skate Canada ChallengePhotos by Melanie Hoyt Read More +
NHK Trophy photographs
Photos from Eastern SectionalsPhotos by Barry Gropman Read More +
Trophee Bompard Photos
Photos from Rostelecom Cup
Cup of China Photos!by Robin Ritoss Read More +
Photos from Skate Canadaby Robin Ritoss Read More +
Hubbell & Donohue Ready for Reinvention
Coverage of Skate America!
Testa & Csolley aim for Pyeongchang
The Latest from the ISU
Other Technical Updates
Pros Bring Ballroom Flavor to the Ice for Detroit Dancers
- Created on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 22:24
by Jacquelyn Thayer | Photos by Robin Ritoss
Whatever stylistic freedoms the discipline has developed in its decades of life, ice dance was born of a ballroom world.
Though only drawing tangential inspiration from their counterparts, the majority of compulsory patterns are named for Standard and Latin styles like the Foxtrot, Waltz, and Rumba. The original dances of old, and today's short dance, were and are typically ballroom-oriented, and many teams and rinks have called upon outside instructors for guidance, sometimes forming ongoing relationships like that between Arctic Edge’s Maia & Alex Shibutani and famed ballroom professional Corky Ballas. For the elite dancers at Bloomfield Hills' Detroit Skating Club, proximity to the community's Fred Astaire Dance Studio—a mere 0.2 miles away—has proven useful on occasion, especially in preparations for this season's Paso Doble rhythm.
Ilya Ifraimov, a multi-time Latin champion with partner Nadia Goulina, took three days of a late July visit to the dance studio to work rinkside with the club's leading ice dance couples. Though Ifraimov, a co-owner and long-time instructor at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Princeton, New Jersey, had made a previous visit to the club, the unusual territory has required some adjustment.
Recap - Grand Prix Final
- Created on Monday, 15 December 2014 21:30
by Katie Tetzloff | Photos by Melanie Hoyt & Robin Ritoss
Last week, the city of Barcelona, Spain hosted the 2014-2015 Figure Skating Grand Prix and Junior Grand Prix Finals. This event is one of the most important figure skating events of the year, second only to the World Championships. Beginning in August for the junior division and in October for the senior, elite skaters were sent to compete in no more than two of six ISU international competitions. They earned points based on their placements at these events, and the top six skaters or teams in each discipline (ladies, mens, ice dance, and pairs) were then invited to compete in Barcelona for the Final.
In the junior division, four of the qualifying teams were from Russia, whereas the remaining two skated on behalf of Canada. Heading into the event, Anna Yanovskaya & Sergey Mozgov were seeded first. They came in as seasoned veterans, having competed at the Junior Grand Prix final every year since 2011, and having won the event last year. Additionally, they are the current World Junior silver medalists, and had an extremely successful Junior Grand Prix season, winning both the Tallinn Cup and the Croatia Cup by over five points. After a fall in the warm up, Yanovskaya & Mozgov made no major mistakes in their Rhumba-Samba short dance and achieved a new personal best of 59.12. Nevertheless, the couple had higher expectations for themselves, saying that they were unable to skate their very best. After a bit of disappointment in the short dance, Yanovskaya & Mozgov held their lead in their Argentine Tango free dance, a dance that they both love. Scoring 89.46 for a total score of 148.58, they won by over 12 points and earned a new personal best.
Barcelona a first-time host for ISU's Grand Prix Final
- Created on Wednesday, 10 December 2014 21:50
by Gina Capellazzi & Daphne Backman | Photos by Robin Ritoss
This week, Barcelona, Spain will host the International Skating Union’s 2014-15 Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final with both the junior and senior events being hosted at the same location as they have been since 2008-2009. This is the first time the event will take place on the Iberian Peninsula.
The top six teams at each level qualified for the Final by earning points based on placement at their respective Grand Prix events. In the senior event, the United States and Canada each have two teams competing, with France and Russia each sending one team.
Over the past few years in the senior competition, all eyes have been on the duel between Meryl Davis & Charlie White from the United States and Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir from Canada. With both teams not competing this season, there could be another duel between different North American teams, Canada’s Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje and Madison Chock & Evan Bates of the United States. Both teams faced off at Nebelhorn Trophy in September with Weaver & Poje taking gold, despite Chock & Bates winning the free dance.
Weaver & Poje are competing in their fourth Grand Prix Final. They scored a total of 171.10 at Skate Canada to win their first Grand Prix gold medal. They followed it up with another gold at NHK Trophy in Osaka, Japan, but they finished with a lower score. At the Grand Prix Final last season, Weaver & Poje finished in fifth place and are the only returning team from the 2013 event.
Team USA’s Chock & Bates won their first Grand Prix gold at Skate America. They posted an ISU overall personal best score of 174.28 at Rostelecom Cup to win their second gold medal and qualify for their first Grand Prix Final. The two are also heavy favorites to win the national title at the U.S. Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina next month.
Grand Prix Final slots up for grabs at NHK Trophy
- Created on Wednesday, 26 November 2014 23:09
This weekend, eight dance teams will take the ice in Osaka, Japan, at NHK Trophy. This is the final event in the Grand Prix Series, and two spots to the Final are still up for grabs.
One of those spots will likely go to Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje, the gold medal favorites in Osaka. With a gold medal at Skate Canada already under their belts, the Canadians only need a medal of any color to guarantee their trip to Barcelona. While they skated well to win Skate Canada, their free dance was not met with the rave reviews that last year’s program enjoyed. It will be interesting to see if their “Four Seasons” program sparkles more this weekend.
The British team of Penny Comes & Nicholas Buckland has a great chance to qualify for their first Grand Prix Final. They need to finish at least second, which is within their reach in this field. They won a bronze medal in a close decision at Rostelecom Cup two weeks ago. If they skate with a little more finesse and polish this week, their clever, crowd-pleasing programs could get them into the 160-point range.
Two Russian teams with fourth-place finishes earlier in the Series still have outside shots at the Final, too, but they would need place at least second, ahead of Coomes & Buckland, and put up a huge score to win the tiebreaker in the standings. The new pairing of Victoria Sinitsina & Ruslan Zhiganshin finished over 10 points behind the Brits at Rostelecom Cup, and it seems unlikely that they could leapfrog them. Ksenia Monko & Kirill Khaliavin’s score at Skate Canada was even further back (almost 15 points), but they have had more time to work on their dances. So while a trip to Barcelona is unlikely, one of the Russian teams could win their first Grand Prix medal.
Grand Prix series heads to France for Trophee Bompard
- Created on Wednesday, 19 November 2014 20:00
by Laura Flagg | Photo by Robin Ritoss
Trophee Bompard, the second-to-last Grand Prix event, takes place this week in Bordeaux, France. Only seven teams will be competing in France as the reigning World Champions, Anna Cappellini & Luca LaNotte, withdrew last week.
Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron are coming off a stunning victory at Cup of China. Given the immense amount of progress they've made, their beautiful free dance to music by Mozart, and the home ice advantage, they are the favorites. A medal of any color will guarantee them a slot in the Grand Prix Final, and they should manage that with relative ease. However, picking up a second victory will be a slightly more difficult task.
Among their main competitors is the team of Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier, who won the silver at Skate Canada. Barring major mistakes, like the ones they had in their short dance, they should be able to improve their score. Whether this will be enough to place ahead of Papadakis & Cizeron remains to be seen. Their short dance, if skated cleanly, has the potential to be one of the very best this season. A top-two finish will clinch them a spot in the Grand Prix Final, barring multiple major upsets in Japan next week.
Skaters head to Moscow for Rostelecom Cup
- Created on Wednesday, 12 November 2014 22:40
by Laura Flagg | Photo by Daphne Backman
Rostelecom Cup, the fourth event in the Grand Prix series, will take place this week in Moscow. A full roster of eight teams will compete, headlined by the battle between new Russian teams (and former partners) Elena Ilinykh & Ruslan Zhiganshin and Victoria Sinitsina & Nikita Katsalapov.
Madison Chock & Evan Bates are coming off their first-ever Grand Prix win at Skate America and are the favorites to take gold in Russia. Coached by Igor Shpilband, a strong showing in Moscow will pave the way for their first Grand Prix Final appearance. Both their short dance and their free dance to "An American in Paris" have been extremely well received by international judging panels.
Another American team, reigning World Junior champions Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker (pictured, right), will be making their Grand Prix debut. They competed at Nebelhorn Trophy earlier this season, where mistakes in the short dance cost them a medal; they finished fourth overall. Their beautiful new free dance is to music from the 2013 film adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet.” While the story is very familiar to skating, this music is not. Hawayek & Baker are coached by Angelika Krylova and Pasquale Carmerlengo.
Alexandra Aldridge & Daniel Eaton hope to improve on their sixth-place finish at Skate Canada. Their free dance, to music from “Gone with the Wind” had a lackluster reception from the judges, especially in comparison to their short dance. The duo, who recently switched coaches to train with Marina Zoueva, placed fifth at last season's U.S. Nationals. Before that, they were two-time U.S. junior champions, and the direct comparison to Hawayek & Baker could set up an interesting battle for the second half of the season.
Shanghai hosts Cup of China, next stop on ISU Grand Prix series
- Created on Wednesday, 05 November 2014 19:40
by Melanie Hoyt | Photo by Robin Ritoss
This weekend, the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating will make its third stop in Shanghai. Cup of China was last held in Shanghai two years ago. This event will mark the season debut of the reigning world champions, Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte, as well as the competitive debut of the new team of Elena Ilinykh & Ruslan Zhiganshin.
Cappellini & Lanotte have made a major change since their narrow victory at the World Championships last season. While they continue to split their time between Milan and Michigan, their secondary training base is now in Canton with Marina Zoueva, instead of in Novi with Igor Shpilband. The Italian world champions should have plenty of confidence after last season, but since they have not competed yet this season, all eyes will be on their technical mark to see if they achieve their targeted levels. Their Paso Doble to “Capriccio Espagnol” should have plenty of flair, and they have chosen darker music than usual, “Danse Macabre,” for their free dance this season.
Their American training mates are expected to be among the medal contenders. Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani will surely hope to build on their silver medal from Skate America. Another silver or a gold should be enough to qualify them for the Grand Prix Final, but with a bronze, they will have to wait and see how the rest of the series goes. The Shibutanis performed very well two weeks ago in Chicago, but their levels held them back from challenging for gold. Coach Zoueva was not impressed with the calling, and it will be interesting to see if they have made the necessary changes to get the levels this time around.
4th New Year's Cup Bratislava02 Jan 2015 All Day
January 3-6, 2015
Bratislava, SVK Website - coming soon
2015 Mentor Nestle Torun Cup06 Jan 2015 All Day
January 7-10, 2015
Torun, POL Website - coming soon
Minsk Trophy14 Jan 2015 All Day
January 15-18, 2015
Minsk, BLR Website - coming soon
2015 Prudential US Figure Skating Championships17 Jan 2015 All Day
January 18-25, 2015
Greensboro Coliseum Complex
Greensboro, NC USA Website
2015 ISU European Figure Skating Championships25 Jan 2015 All Day
January 26-February 1, 2015
Stockholm, SWE Website - coming soon