Reports by Karen Frank
Intermediate Free Dance
The team of Chelsey Jernberg and Michael Lueck opened the Freedance portion of the event with a modern Flamenco (Willie and Lobo medley?). They had stunning dance highlight moves including a camel & sit dance spin performed at good speed, a waist lift held out through a long outside spread eagle, and a rotational lift with Chelsea’s hands held behind her back. Where they may have lost marks was in complexity and unison. The dance itself was overly dependent on hand to hand and open holds and the side by side twizzles were out of synchronization. They were placed in fifth in the Freedance and overall.
Next, Rachel Riske and Kevin Allison presented a power program which combined Nessun Dorma and Led Zepplin’s Kashmir. Like the previous team, their dance elements were stronger than their footwork, though they did have good unison and tracking in a diagonal step passage. Their program was highlighted by a pretty dance spin which had Rachel in a half-Biellman position while Kevin was in an upright position and a rotational waist lift. The most awkward part of the program was a side by side twizzle sequence, where the unison and body positions were both off. They finished the FD and the competition in fourth.
Skating in the middle of the group, Melinda Wang and Nathan Lim skated an expressive and fun circus program (La Strada?). They both seemed to enjoy emoting to this music, and kept in character through the entire program. Their dance spin had an off-balance moment, and they were also off on their twizzle synchronization. Overall, this program displayed more complexity in dance holds and position changes than the first two programs, however there did seem to be a few moments where the choreography had them performing separate and unrelated steps. Probably the biggest thing holding this team back at the moment is that they appear to be two strong solo skaters rather than one united dance team. Final placement: third in the FD and overall.
Lauri Bonacorsi and Jonathan Cohn were the first team to break the twizzle curse, performing theirs with great speed and unison. Skating to “Summertime” and “Sing, Sing, Sing” this high-energy young team’s program displayed complicated, fast footwork and high level dance elements, including a dance spin with two changes of feet, and lifts with catchfoot positions. The second half of their program was non-stop movement from a diagonal footwork pattern right into a straight-line pattern. They don’t yet have the size to be able to get deep into the ice and display a lot of power, though. Second was their FD and final placement.
Unfortunately Molly and Nathan Raymond had a tough time with a couple elements in their classical Flamenco Freedance. A crouching straight line lift was abandoned before Molly could get into position, and the twizzle curse struck again, when Nathan fell (the unison and speed looked great up to that point). However their overall power, deep edges, and expression, combined with the complexity of this program was enough to keep them at the top of the standings. Though the performance was marred by mistakes, this program has potential to be competitive with many quick changes of hold, and body position, and both members of this team doing an equal amount of footwork throughout. They finished the program on a positive note, with a fast rotational lift that covered a lot of distance. Six of the seven judges put them in first.