Compulsory Dance Superfinal

Report by Melanie Hoyt

Isabella Cannuscio & Ian Lorello

They had a very nice opening and I noticed that their blades were fairly quiet.  Their lines matched well, but I would have liked to have seen a better waltz feel and more tension in their hold – particularly their extended arms seemed loose. 

Sara Bailey & Kyle Herring

She looks very elegant and suited for a waltz, but she needs to point her toe.  They had nice extension.  Although the last pattern wasn’t quite as solid, they appeared smooth and relaxed overall. 

Pilar Bosley & John Corona

Overall, their dance was very relaxed and had good flow.  Their leg lines weren’t always matching and her toe point was off and on, but it was a great waltz, and I really liked their arm hold. 

Rachel Tibbetts & Collin Brubaker

I didn’t get much of a waltz feel from them, but I liked their arm hold and she looked very elegant.  Their unison had some great moments, and they closed with a very pretty rotational lift. 

Madison Chock & Greg Zuerlein

I just love her expression!  She’s so vivacious, and he’s expressive too, but not as much in his face.  They had nice held extensions, and I think that they are good at waltzing.  They might have had a bit too much tension in their extended arms, but I enjoyed this waltz from them. 

Vanessa Crone & Paul Poirier

He’s fantastic and always looks so relaxed – she didn’t appear as at ease with the waltz, and I don’t think the waltz is the best style for them.  They were confident, though, and they had good extension.  They ended with a nice rotational lift. 

Piper Gilles & Timothy Mckernan

They are so smooth and their blades are very quiet.  They had great unison and their toes were always pointed.  Their style wasn’t as strong as some of the other teams, but they were extremely smooth and performed a beautiful waltz. 

Lili LaMar & Zachary Donohue

I love her turquoise dress – it moves so well for a waltz.  The closeness between them varied throughout the dance, and his leg was not always as high as hers on the extensions.  Still, it was a very relaxed dance and they looked like they were at ease.  A pretty rotational lift closed their dance.

Original Dance

Group A

Report by Melanie Hoyt

Uyeda & Nichol – Greek folk dance
Who knew that there were Greek folk dances besides “Zorba?!”  Good for them for choosing something original.  He yells “Opa!” to start the dance, and they continue the energy throughout.  The music for the footwork is slow and smooth, which gives them a chance to really make their steps count.  Their first lift featured him on one leg and her in a Bielmann position.  Their straightline footwork was in unison most of the time, and after a spin that slowed down, they recaptured their original energy in the final rotational lift.

Richardson & Coulter – Peruvian folk dance
They are the first team that I have seen to use a prop.  They had scarves attached to their wrists and twirled them to begin the program. Their costumes, though a bit blinding, fit the dance well.  Starting with mirror steps in their straightline footwork, they kept in unison and ended with good catchfoot twizzles.  Their spin featured two different Bielmann positions, and their first lift, with him in a spread eagle, was controlled.  The music slowed down for their diagonal footwork, and then it sped back up to end.  They used the scarves throughout the dance, but not as much during the slower music as they did during the faster beginning and end.

Ralph & Hill – South African dance
This team is always innovative, and they did not disappoint with this dance.  Their interesting opening led right into mirror footwork that began their straightline steps.  The steps were slow and deliberate, but they went with the music, and they were very expressive. They had an excellent rotational lift that flowed directly into the next move.  Their circular footwork was to faster music, but it was still smooth.  Their second lift was straightline and he was crouched.  With good speed, they went into a Bielmann spin, and although they lost some speed on the transition into a layback variation, it was still solid.  I really liked this program!

Cannuscio & Copely – “Kalinka”
Our first “Kalinka” of the evening, and they started right away with their straightline footwork, which featured great twizzles at the midpoint.  The twizzles at the end weren’t quite as confident, but they were still decent.  Their first lift had him in a spread eagle and her in an upside down position.  They kept the character of the dance well throughout the program.  The spin, which had two varieties of Bielmanns, was okay, but lacked speed.  Their rotational lift, on the other hand, had good speed, but wasn’t as controlled as other parts of their dance.  They had great energy through the fast parts of the music, but when the music slowed down at their circular steps, they lost a bit of their spark.  It was a very cute “Kalinka,” though!

Stanislavska & Fieldhouse – Spanish Flamenco – “Rockin’ Gypsies”
They open their program with an introduction to show off the character of the music and their first element is the straightline footwork.  The unison is not completely there, and it could be a lot snappier, but they executed the steps and included a nice lunge highlight about 2/3 of the way through it.  Their first lift was him in a spread eagle with her upside down, and they followed that with a rotational lift where she was in a Bielmann that was nicely controlled.  Although their circular footwork was cautious, the energy built towards the end, and they finished with a neat lunge that went directly into their spin, which included a catchfoot position.
Tibbetts & Brubaker – Russian Folk Dance – “Korobushka”
Beginning their dance with circular footwork, they showed off their ability to execute difficult steps.  They did a straightline lift with her blade on top of his boot, and then their spin had good speed and a catchfoot position.  The dance had many steps throughout it and they did a great job maintaining the energy level.  They had a huge pause just before their straightline footwork, and then she fell near the halfway point.  Recovering nicely, they executed good twizzles at the end of the straightline, and their rotational lift was fast, though it lacked control.  It was such a shame about the fall, because they had a great spark until that point.

Lenko & Islam – Russian Gypsy
They entered their straightline footwork with good speed, and executed the mirror steps well.  Their twizzles were excellent, and they maintained good unison throughout the steps.  In their straightline left, they let go with all of their hands, displaying great balance.  Choosing to do serpentine footwork, they had great energy and went into their rotational lift with good speed and a lot of control.  Although the spin, which began with her in a Bielmann position, could have been faster, it was still a solid element.  Great, energetic performance.

Vermeulen & Doleman – Gypsy
With good speed, they began their program with steps into a solid rotational lift.  The diagonal steps could have been snappier, but they were all there and executed fairly well to the music.  Beginning their straightline with mirror steps, they lost some unison on twizzles late in the footwork, but the straightline was good besides that.  For their second lift, Andrew is in a spread eagle while Maja is upside down.  After hesitating slightly, they completed their program with a spin, and it’s possible that it was shorter than it was intended to be.  Still, a cute program, and I think that their music suited them well.

Nadeau & Bouthillette – Québecois dance
They chose to reflect their own heritage with this dance, which was the only Québecois traditional dance that I saw tonight!  Their spin was very complex, with three position changes, and they kept decent speed through it.  The music changes from something smooth to something closer to a jig, and they liven things up with a good rotational lift.  The circular footwork was a bit slow, but there were a variety of holds.  During their straightline footwork that began with mirror steps, they picked up speed in the middle, but their twizzles slowed them back down again.  Their final element was a curve lift that kept the character of the piece.

Vienneau & Cluett – Celtic from Scotland
Beginning their program with a spin, they had good positions and about average speed.  They followed the spin with smooth steps into a crouch lift.  Despite beginning their circular footwork on a shallow pattern, the circular widened as they skated through it.  As the music transitions into a lively jig, they have some fun with dance steps, then enter the straightline footwork with some speed.  She is smiling throughout the footwork, and they appear very confident, despite the twizzles giving them some problems at the end.  Their final rotational lift has her in the splits, with one leg on his shoulder.  They, and especially her, have genuine expression throughout the dance, and appear to be enjoying it.

Harvey & Gagnon – Ukrainian folk dance
Right away, they have good speed and since they are much taller than their competitors, I notice the way that they move across the ice.  They really make their height work for them.  The circular footwork has good speed and they flow in and out of it well.  They follow the circular steps with a lift where he is in a spread eagle, and then the dance spin, featuring her in a couple of Bielmann positions.  However, they begin to lose speed in the spin.  Building the energy back up, they enter their straightline footwork with speed, and they have a mirrored section in the middle.  When they came back to side by side synchronized footwork, they almost collided, but got right back into the steps and carried great unison through the end.  Their rotational lift was solid, and overall, they had good energy throughout the dance.

Crone & Poirier – Romanian folk dance
They look very mature for their ages, and particularly at the junior level.  Using a variety of facial expressions, they have good expression throughout the dance.  I hardly notice when they begin their circular footwork, because all of the steps are very fluid and they ease into it.  There is a nice highlight move with her hanging onto his neck with her arms, facing away from him.  Their hydroblading lift was good, and they have fantastic unison in their straightline steps.  She’s in an interesting position on the rotational lift – not something I’ve seen over and over again today – and the lift carries them right into the spin to close the program.  Overall, I really enjoyed this dance, but I would like to see more punch in their steps from them as the season goes on. 

Group B

Report by Melanie Hoyt

LaMar & Donohue – Hungarian folk dance

Right away, they have a lot of expression, particularly her.  In their first lift, he is in a spread eagle and she is flipped completely upside down – very well done.  They are very committed to the steps in the circular footwork, but I think they could work on timing the steps to the rhythm of the music more.  Their rotational lift features a change of position, but he did not look completely solid in his rotations.  Their spin is a camel variation changing to a Bielmann position.  They are carrying a lot of energy through this dance, and unfortunately, their momentum got away from them and he tripped and fell forward.  Their straightline steps were off because of the mistake, but they started getting things together towards the end of the steps, recapturing the energy towards the end of the program.  It’s a shame about the fall because they had a very engaging dance until that point. 

Patitucci & Edelmann – German folk dance

This is a very cutesy program that featured a lot of hand claps.  I liked that they carried the clapping theme throughout the program.  The audience begins clapping along immediately as they got into their straightline footwork.  Their steps and twizzles were confident, but they lost unison towards the end.  Next was the spin, which was two Bielmann variations.  The serpentine steps were nice, but they need more punch and confidence, like they had with the straightline footwork.  Saving both of their lifts for the end of the program, their first was a spread eagle lift with a change of position and their second was a rotational lift that had good speed and solid rotations. 

Gilles & McKernan – New Orleans style blues

This was introduced as a dance “from the American south,” so it works as a folk number, even though it is a less typical choice.  They use a variety of holds and levels in their choreography.  Their first element is a crouch lift with him holding onto one of her legs while she’s in a very pretty position.  The music, which is slow and slinky, does not appear to help them on the straightline steps, where they seem to lose the timing.  They include a nice highlight into their spin, featuring the ever-popular double Bielmann variations.  Their circular steps worked better than their straightline for me, and they have a lovely slow lift to end.  With the exception of the straightline, I thought this music worked well for them, because they are very smooth and have a lot of poise.  I think it enables them to show off what sets them apart from the other junior teams. 

Von Bloedau & Schneider – Alpine folk dance from Germany

Almost immediately, I notice that they look a lot smaller than some of the other teams.  I don’t think it’s their height, but the way that they move on the ice.  I really liked their first lift, which had an interesting swinging quality to it that went well with the music and kept the character of the dance.  They lost unison on the mirror portion of their straightline steps, but got it back for the last part.  Including some traditional dancing steps that fit the music, they look like they are having fun.  Their circular steps were solid, and although they almost lost it going into the final rotational lift, they recovered nicely.  Their spin was highlighted by a smooth transition from a Bielmann position to an “X” position. 

Bosley & Corona – Turkish folk dance

In a costume that looks like it was taken from Jasmine in Aladdin, Pilar certainly looks the part!  They have a great opening that expresses the interesting music, and I love their holds that keep the character of the music in their hands.  The circular steps were slow, but they were very complicated.  I liked their spin, which was a layback variation, then kind of a camel position with a catchfoot.  Their straightline footwork begins with an excellent set of twizzles, the twizzles at the midpoint were also good, and they used stylized steps that kept the feel of the dance.  Their lifts are last, and they have transitions with good flow into them.  Overall, it was one of my favourite dances. 

Cannuscio & Lorello – African dance

Beginning with interesting movements, their first element is a very fast spin.  Nice twizzles then highlighted their circular footwork.  Their straightline steps are next, with a full stop before they begin.  They had great attack and the steps were well done, but I think the next step is to make their arms more stylized, even during the difficult steps.  Their first lift had him in a spread eagle and her in a layback position on his skate.  Their rotational lift was her in a Bielmann.  Although they incorporated African movement into the dance well, I felt that he had better commitment to the moves than she did. 

Bailey & Herring – Greek sirtaki dance to “Zorba the Greek”

They open with circular footwork, and they have good speed.  Their first lift is a rotational lift, with her in a split position.  The energy is still high as they enter their straightline footwork with good unison.  They need more punch in the steps, but the catchfoot twizzles were very good, although he did one more than she did.  I thought that the best element of the program was the spin – she began in a donut position, then they changed directions, and she went into a true Bielmann position – the only one that I have seen this weekend in a spin.  Their final lift was a spread eagle lift with her in a Bielmann position.  They had great character in portions of the dance, but it needs to be more consistent. 

St-Onge & Browne – Tarentella dance to “Amore”

They opened with a great entry into a spin that included a Bielmann and a change of direction.  Unfortunately, they both took a tumble on some steps and although they regained their composure for a lift, I think it may have been shortened because of the mistake.  They are both smiling again, but their circular steps slowed down, and it seems like they lost their momentum.  Their rotational lift with a Bielmann position was good, though, although they were definitely looking cautious in their straightline steps, which did not start all the way at the end. They ended right with the straightline steps.  It’s a shame about the fall, because I think we would have seen a very different overall performance if they hadn’t fallen so early in the program. 

Shibutani & Shibutani – Japanese kodo music

First of all, I think he grew overnight.  Seriously, he looks taller than he did in the free dance!  Their circular footwork was highlighted by an excellent set of twizzles, and they carried transition steps right into the spin that included a camel variation and a Bielmann.  In the spread eagle lift, she is in a very pretty layback position.  In the straightline steps, they had two sections of mirror steps, and although the second section lost unison, they began with strong unison.  The final rotational lift was very good, and overall, it was an enjoyable, interesting dance.  However, I feel like it suited him better than her, because she appeared so much smaller than him. 

Knippel & Britten – Russian peasant dance to “Dark Eyes”

They begin with a fast entry into their spin.  Their serpentine footwork was good, and they end with twizzles that had good unison, although they were a little slow.  Their first lift is a crouch lift with her in a layback position.  Starting from a full stop, their straightline footwork features some character, but I would like to see even more.  They pick up speed before their final rotational lift, where she is wrapped around his waist in a Bielmann position. 

Pennington & Skillington – Finnish dance

I don’t think I’d ever seen a Finnish folk dance before, and I liked the character that they had.  Their circular footwork started a little shallow, but then they fill them out better as the circle closes.  I loved their very interesting crouch lift, with her completely upside down.  Their spin started with good speed, and they had a solid rotational lift.  Their straightline footwork started from a full stop, and they were one of the only teams that did not include a mirror section.  Overall, it was a cute dance and although it wasn’t as different as I thought it would be, I liked that they picked something original. 

Feigin & Cusmariu – Celtic; Scottish

Beginning with traditional highland stepping to open, they then performed a spin that ended with a good one-armed Bielmann position from her.  Their circular steps started with great energy.  In the rotational lift, she is wrapped around him in a Bielmann, and they had great speed – so much that it almost got away from them.  I felt like a stop in the middle of their dance really slowed down the momentum going into their second lift.  Their straightline footwork had some unison problems, but they kept up the energy.  This was definitely the best dance that I have seen from them this weekend. 

Chock & Zuerlein – Russian gypsy dance to “Dark Eyes”

Immediately, I notice that she has so much character.  In the opening spread eagle lift, she is upside down.  The circular footwork is very confident from both of them, and they have great flow in the rotational lift.  I think that they lost some speed in the spin, but they came out of it well.  Their next element is straightline footwork with a mirror section, which they entered with good speed.  In the catchfoot twizzles in the footwork, she had to fight to keep her balance, but she really saved it well.  Overall, it was a great character dance from them.

Free Dance

Group A

Reporter:  Daphne Backman (with assistance from Laura Flagg)

Kaylyn Patitucci/Karl Edelmann:  Latin music.  Opening choreography nicely put together.  Curve lift steady.  Twizzles off. This team has nice matching leg line.  Nice extension in highlighted moves.  Fall on combination lift.  Ended with rotational, change of position lift.  Ended before music due to a skip in the music. They were allowed to restart from the footwork.  Nice program, with potential. 

Brooklyn Vienneau/Jonathan Cluett:  Black Horse & A Cherry Tree.  Good energy.  Combo straight-line lift into a rotational, solid circular footwork.  Hydro blade move on a curve with him low to the ground and she is leaning.  Fall on rotational lift, she in a vertical split.  Creative straight-line lift with her moving her legs while balancing on him. 

Pilar Bosely/John Corona:  Dance spin a bit slow on the second segment.  One hand rotational lift very nice.  Twizzles a bit off.  Good footwork sequences, but unfortunately she had two falls.  Rotational lift, very nice and fast.  Squat lift with her balancing on his feet.  Very good expression and good flow to the program. 

Sophie Knippel/Andrew Britten:  Nice twizzles, strong one arm rotational lift.  Nice circular footwork with turns.  Good change of position on spin.  They had a fall on the straight-line lift. Curve lift had nice edges. 

Sara Bailey/Kyle Herring:  Twizzles good, looked a little 3 turned in the in the second set.  Nice crouch lift.  Side by side step sequence good, but got a little out of unison towards the end.  Strong on all their lifts, nice curve balance lift with him in a spread eagle position.  Good program, they should grow well with it during the season. 

Isabella Cannuscio/Ian Lorello:  Music from Edward Scissorhands. Side by side step sequence good speed and unison.  Strong lifts and spins.  Nice circular footwork, with him having a slight trip right at the end.  Good speed throughout the program. 

Tamiko Uyeda/Martin Nickel:  Moonlight Sonata.  Nice crouch lift.  Circular steps okay, but a little too much space between them.  Good combination spin and combination lift, with a balance curve into a rotational.   

Rachel Tibbetts/Collin Brubaker:  Tosca.  Beautiful straight-line lift with him going backwards on one foot and she’s above him.  Good circular footwork.  Twizzles good, but he may have stepped out of them a bit early.  Nice dance spin.  She had an unfortunate fall in the program, otherwise, nice program. 

Michelle Pennington/Andrew Skillington:  Phantom of the Opera.  Nice one hand rotational lift. Good job on both footwork sequences.  Slight problem with the 2nd set of twizzles and he tripped on the curve lift.  Nice spins. 

Natalie Feigin/Jason Cusmariu:  Ballad in French.  Straight-line lift with her in an upside down position.  Good job on the twizzles.  Nice pull through highlight move, rotational lift, twizzles and circular footwork.  Combo lift was a bit shaky.  Nice highlight moves, but a few stumbles. 

Alexis Shaw/Oleg Altukhov:  Cirque du Soleil or Bond (?).  Nice straight-line lift low to the ice.  Good twizzles, but a slight touch down by her on the 2nd set.  Good dance spin and curve lift with a nice change of position.  Unfortunate fall on the final lift. 

Lili Lamar/Zach Donohue:  Harlem Nocturn.  Good combination lift with cool curve lift.  Side by side steps looked just a little bit off.  She had a fall on the first twizzle sequence.  Nice curve lift and dance spin.  Very cool straight-line lift.  Slight problem with some of the transitions, but overall a good program. 

Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani:  Good straight-line lift with him in a crouched position.  Nice dance spin.  Twizzles were okay, but he stepped out of the first set.  Good combo lift, got a bit slow at the end though.  Nice diagonal footwork and 2 hand rotational lift. 

Catherine St-Onge/Alexander Browne:  Metallica (Apocalyptica).  Cool costumes with “yin and yang” symbols. Straight-line, side by side footwork had good unison.  Strong combo lift with nice change of position.  Excellent curve lift with an interesting position.  Great free dance concept.

Group B

Reporter:  Daphne Backman 

Anna Stanislavska/Dylan Fieldhouse:  Innovative one-armed rotational lift.  Well executed circular footwork.  Good speed on spin.  Combo lift included a curve into a rotational.  Good positions throughout.  Twizzles off a bit.  Straight-line lift not as strong as others in the program.  Nice job! 

Alexandra Nadeau/Charles-Edouard Bouthillette:  Black Betty & Feeling Good.  Nice low to the ground curve lift.  Great “rock” expression.  Good position on the rotational lift.  Good rock and roll choreography.  Combination curve lift into rotational – solid! 

Patricia Stuckey/Christopher Mior:  Music by Josh Groban.  Straight-line lift very solid.  Good curve to straight-line lift, with him on one foot.  Nice side by side footwork.  Hydro blade curve lift.  Nice performance for first time out. 

Rachel Dickinson/Kurt Lingenfelter:  Samba.  Strong rotational lift.  Good position and nice leg lines.  Strong curve to rotational combo lift.  Unfortunate fall after the spin.  Good curve lift. 

Kharis Ralph/Asher Hill:  “Rainforest Theme” (their novice free dance from 2007).  Interesting choreography, good skating skills.  He had a slight step out on the twizzle sequence.   Strong rotational lift.  Second twizzle sequence much better.  Highlight moves are very interesting.  Straight-line lift with him low to the ground, into a rotational change of position.  Straight-line lift with her in a pretzel position – great!

Anastasia Cannuscio/Dean Copley:  Kill Bill.  Nice twizzles and split highlight move.  Straight-line lift with him in a spread eagle position and her with an arched back.  Nice balance lift, with a stumble afterwards.  Good side by side step sequence and rotational split lift.  Overall, good performance. 

Lindsey von Bloedau/Stefan Schneider:  Masquerade Waltz.  Nice dance spin and rotational split lift.  Nice change of position on combo lift.  Good highlights including a hydro blade move. 

Brin Adams/Dan Donigan:  Danse Macabre.  Nice highlight straight-line lift, balance position and very low to the ice.  Serpentine lift, nice change of position, started upside down.  Nice hydro blade move and good final rotational lift. 

Rachael Richardson/Brad Coulter:  Techno Tango.  Strong straight-line lift into a curve lift, excellent position.  Good speed maintained on the spin.  Serpentine lift was strong with a good change of position.  Great unison on the twizzles.  Committed performance. 

Tarrah Harvey/Keith Gagnon:  Nice twizzles.  Solid change of position on the serpentine lift.  Ended slightly after the music. 

Piper Gilles/Tim McKernan:  Prokofiev’s Cinderella.  Rotational lift was smooth and strong.  Nice dance spin positions.  Seamless change of positions.  Twizzles were off a bit.  Good curve lift. 

Madison Chock/Greg Zuerlein:  West Side Story.  Nice hydro blade move.  Side by side sequence was good.  Elegant lift, nice highlights, good speed on the dance spin.  Unfortunate fall during the program (not on an element).   

Joanna Lenko/Mitchell Islam:  Rhumba & Samba latin theme.  Good straight-line lift on one foot.  Nice straight-line side by side footwork.  Nice position on the dance spin, excellent twizzles.  Good reverse rotational lift and one armed rotational lift. 

Maja Vermeulen/Andrew Doleman:  Romeo & Juliet (modern version).  Nice rotational lift, nice speed and position on spin.  Good serpentine with a change of position.  Unfortunate twizzle problem.  Straight-line towards the end. 

Vanessa Crone/Paul Poirier:  Libertango.  Nice skating quality and tango expression (fierce).  One armed rotational lift and excellent twizzle unison.