Report by Melanie Hoyt

Marina Staltari & Jonathan Okrainetz — folk dance

Staltari & Okrainetz performed their folk dance well, without any major mistakes. They were hurt in the marks by having lower difficulty levels than many of their competitors, including three level one elements, and they appeared to be fairly tentative overall, especially on the step sequences. They also received a one=point deduction for an extended lift. With 40.98 points, they finished 13th in the free dance.


Katelyn Good & Brandon Deslauriers — “Fleur de Mals” (Sarah Brightman)

This music suited Good & Deslauriers’ style well, and it also gave them a chance to build speed between elements. Although they struggled with the change on their combination curve and rotational lift, their final rotational lift was excellent. With four level four elements, they had the fifth-highest technical score of the day. One thing they can work on is maintaining speed and expression throughout the elements, but this program works well for them and should give them a great opportunity to place well this season. They finished sixth with 54.67 points.


Alissandra Aronow & Aleksandras Pirogovas — “Who Wants to Live Forever” (Queen)

Unfortunately, Aronow & Pirogovas continued to struggle through this competition. They made costly errors on the twizzle sequence, which was downgraded to a level two and given -1.00 GOE. Their marks were also hurt by having two level one step sequences and ending with a level one rotational lift, which is certainly something that they will address before their next competition. Aronow & Pirogovas seemed to have better flow and expression than many of the teams in the competition, and they did not appear to have to think through their programs as much as the other teams did. Their score of 49.71 in the free dance ranked them 11th.


Abby Carswell & Jason Cusmariu — folk dance

Carswell & Cusmariu, on the other hand, continued on their path of success at this competition. Their score of 62.55 was about five points higher than what they received in Lake Placid, and it was well deserved. They appeared very confident in this intricate dance, and they used transitions well, with a nice entry into their level four combination spin. Carswell & Cusmariu may want to work on maintaining speed in the second half of the program and adding some variety to their expression. They finished second in this dance, only half a point from first.


Katie Wyble & Justin Morrow — dark, powerful music

Skating with a lot of attack and power, Wyble & Morrow left an impression with this program. They had so much power going into their level-four combination spin that it was difficult to believe how fast the element was, but they could not maintain the speed on the change. While it was an excellent program, they did not have the difficulty levels that the teams that finished ahead of them did, and they also had a deduction for an extended lift. With only one level four element, it would have been hard to place much higher, but it is a great program for them. Their score of 53.31 points put them in eighth place.


Kathryn Leak & David MacKay-Perry sounded like a movie soundtrack

Leak & MacKay-Perry had a better performance than in the original dance, looking more comfortable with their program. They had some nice moments, including a good transition into their level-one combination spin, but they lost speed on the change. Overall, they did not have the speed of some of the other teams in the competition, but the program worked well and they looked satisfied with their effort. With 45.15 points, they finished 12th.


Helene Letourneau & Kevin Boczar – flamenco

Unfortunately, Letourneau & Boczar did not have the same kind of skate as their training mates who preceded them. A fall on a curve lift just as it was getting started meant that they received a zero for that element, and on the next element, Letourneau fell again on the twizzle sequence, which was rated a level two. However, they really fought back after those two mistakes and continued skating their program with good expression. They finished 14th in the field, earning 38.86 points.


Alexandra Paul & Jason Cheperdak

Because they are just beginning to come back from an injury, Paul & Cheperdak’s free dance was marked by hesitation and missed steps. However, it was a nice, flowing program that will certainly blossom as they have time to train it more consistently. Even with small mistakes, they managed to finish fourth on the strength of their choreography and creative transitions, as well as their high difficulty levels. They earned 59.20 points in the free dance.


Nikki Yorgiadis & Graham Hockley — Greek folk dance

Paying homage to Yorgiadis’ heritage with this dance, they gave a good performance overall, although it was a bit conservative. About midway through the program, Yorgiadis fell on the twizzle sequence, resulting in a downgrade to level one, along with -1.10 GOE. Aside from that mistake, though, they were very accurate, placing their steps in unison and paying attention to the details of the program. Their level-four rotational and level three straightline lifts were particularly strong elements. With 52.74 points, they were 10th.


Elyse Matsumoto & Patrick Mays – sounded like Bollywood music

After winning the original dance on Saturday evening, Matsumoto & Mays repeated their victory with a strong free dance on Sunday afternoon. The energetic, zippy performance was marred only by a sloppy level two twizzle sequence that earned -1.00 GOE. The remainder of the elements received at least the base mark, and four elements were rated level fours. After a slow start last year due to illness, Matsumoto & Mays have certainly made a statement this year. Their first place free dance earned 63.06 points.


Olivia Martins & Alvin Chau — Latin medley

Martins & Chau had a great, confident performance with their polished Latin dance. The opening element, a reverse rotational lift, was done just as well as many senior teams. For that impressive level four element, they earned +.17 GOE. In the dance, their combination spin appeared weak, and it turned out that they did not receive a level or any points for that element. This probably dropped them one place in the rankings. Despite the mistake, though, this is a fun dance with great elements that suits them well. They finished fifth with a score of 56.95.


Alexa Arrotta & Martin Nickel Latin medley

Arrotta & Nickel followed with another Latin medley that also had a great performance quality. They skated with a lot of energy on the fast sections and achieved a nice, smooth quality during the slow music. Aside from some trouble on the twizzles, which were rated a level two, Arrotta & Nickel had strong, difficult elements, and they were surprisingly polished for a new team. The choreography was not too complex, but going with a simpler dance that they could perform well was a good strategy for them. They finished seventh with 54.66 points, just .03 out of sixth.


Harmony Risca & Chase Brogan folk dance

Especially for a new team, Risca & Brogan had a strong skate. They need to work on maintaining more speed, but both skaters have excellent expression, and they fit together well. Besides their level one step sequences, their elements were level threes and fours, but nearly all of those elements were docked slightly on GOE. Still, it was a great way to start their first season together, and with more polish and accuracy on those elements, they could start scoring quite a bit higher. With a score of 52.99, they were ninth in the free dance.


Karen Routhier & Eric Saucke-Lacelle — French vocals

Thornhill marked the third time that Routhier & Saucke-Lacelle had performed this dance in three weeks — they also skated their free dance in Lake Placid and at the Mariposa Charity Gala. Likely because of the repeat performances, the dance looked extremely secure and polished. The element where they lost the most points was their serpentine lift, which was only given a level two. All other elements, besides their level two step sequences, were level fours. The smooth, flowing style works well for them, and they skated to the slower tempo without appearing slow themselves. Their score of 61.63 ranked them third.