Reports by Karen Frank

Junior Free Dance
Segien and Lilly’s Freedance, to music from “Grease,” also used a great deal of freeleg kicks to accent the beats of the music. In general, the program was rather slow, and spare of intricate footwork, but included some cute highlight moves, such as nested back shoot-the-ducks, a lift with Stephanie in upside down position, and a rotational lift with her in
horizontal position.

Continuing to emphasize their strong lifting ability, Chitwood and Chasman skated to “House of the Rising Sun.” Their lifts included another flipover entrance into a rotational lift, a change of direction lift with hydroblading, and a lift with Christina upside down while Stephen performs a Besti-eagle. Christina hits some lovely positions, not just in the lifts, as she also performed a pretty catchfoot camel during the dance spin. They did have some synchronization problems during the twizzles, and overall the program could use some more complexity in the holds and footwork, but overall this slow bluesy program suits them and shows off their strengths.

Junior Grand Prix competitors Lauten and Hill presented a waltz medley for their free dance, using the powerful “Masquerade Waltz” and “My Sweet and Tender Beast,” for music. They have a good feel for the waltz, and included strong lifts, such as a waist lift while Augie performed an outside to inside spread eagle, an upside down lift while Augie glided backward on one foot, and a rotational lift with Kimmerly resting one of her feet on his shoulder (reminiscent of a lift originally performed by Belbin and Agosto). Some of their footwork seemed a little sloppy Augie seemed to have a few balance checks during a quad-triple twizzle sequence, and they tripped during a circular footwork sequence but overall their timing and waltz expression made this an enjoyable program to watch.

Upon seeing Pratt and Gilles’s Freedance to music from “Romeo + Juliet,” one of the coaches in the stands said that it was a “highlight of the competition,” and later calling this program, “absolutely exquisite.” The current Junior bronze medallists presented a Tom Dickson program of seamlessly united elements, telling the story of the doomed lovers. The unique music cuts include snips of Shakespearean dialog, adding an additional level to the skating interpretation. Physically, the program seems quite demanding, full of fast steps, constantly turning edgework and quad-triple-triple twizzle sequences. But while their individual elements are impressive, especially during a one-handed rotational lift, it is their expressiveness that really carries this program. Unanimous (and well-deserved) first place ordinals from the judges.

Final results were same as the standings from the OD (and CD), with Pratt/Gilles in first, followed by Lauten/Hill, Chitwood/Chasman, and Segien/Lilly.