Report by Melanie Hoyt
Susan Enright & Michael Bramante — tango (Gotan Project)
Enright & Bramante started the novice free dance impressively with their sharp and polished dance. They used transitions well in their choreography, particularly on the entry into their level two spin where Bramante does a spread eagle. At first glance, their twizzles were done quite well, but it seemed like there were not as many rotations as the other teams, and in fact, they were given a level two for this element. Overall, this was a dynamic program and it was skated very well. It seems as though the next step for Enright & Bramante is to work on increasing the levels of their elements. With 44.45 points, they were third in this dance, less than two points from second.
Baily Carroll & Peter Gerber — “Notre Dame de Paris” (English version)
This dance was marked by good expression and a nice amount of flow and speed. Their first lift, a level four straightline lift done with no hands in the hold, was very strong and had a good amount of speed. Unfortunately, a stumble in their twizzle sequence cost them a level, as well as -1.20 GOE. However, aside from the mistake, it was a solid effort for this team. Their score of 41.29 ranked them sixth.
Joanna Salvagna & Marc-André Servant — “Ain’t No Sunshine” + “Ain’t No Other Man”
Although their score was only slightly higher than what they received at Lake Placid two weeks earlier, it seemed like Salvagna & Servant skated at Thornhill with more energy and polish than they did at Lake Placid. On their first element, a level three rotational lift, it appeared as though they missed the entry — Salvagna lifted her foot slightly, touched it to the ice again, and then they went into the lift. The program suited them well, particularly the last segment. With 42.54 points, they were fourth in the free dance.
Alexandra Kourkounakis & Christopher Lettner — African dance
As is the norm for the teams from the Scarboro FSC, Kourkounakis & Lettner had interesting choreography that set them apart from the rest of the field. Unfortunately, they ran into trouble on their twizzle sequence, which was complicated and probably meant to score a high level, but they only earned a level two with -1.10 GOE. Although their step sequences were very well skated, those were only given level ones, so that is something that they will need to work on in the future in order to score higher. The highlight of this dance was the overall effect. With zebra-print costumes and original choreography, it really captured the essence of the music. They scored 40.87 and were ranked seventh.
Jazz Smyl Joly & Ryan Behnia — “Carmen”
The new pairing of Joly & Behnia took the ice confidently and skated together surprisingly well for a new partnership. They included three level four elements: their twizzles, their spin, and their final rotational lift, which also earned +.33 GOE. Behnia slipped and fell just before the end of their program, but it was not on an element. Their program had a lot of character, but the choreography was a bit repetitive. Despite the fall, Joly & Behnia made a strong statement, earning 42.13 points and placing a very close fifth.
Chelsea Nash & Niklas Grans-Wood — “Hernando’s Hideaway”
Nash & Grans-Wood’s performance had its ups and downs. The program had a lot of character, but they had several costly mistakes. Nash came out of the twizzle sequence early, and they only received a level one for that element. Then, later in the program, they had trouble on the entry of the spin and Nash fell, meaning that they not only received a deduction, but also a zero on their spin. The team skated with attack at times, but hesitated at other times. It seems like nerves may have come into play on their performance, which was ranked 10th with 31.72 points.
Kelly Oliveira & Jordan Hockley — “Zelda”
With one of the most interesting music choices of the competition, Oliveira & Hockley had a great skate in the novice free dance. Aside from having two level one footwork sequences, their elements were level threes and fours, and they performed with energy and a lot of expression throughout the dance. Their smooth level four combination spin was a standout element, and although they had great flow, they did not have the same level of polish as the American teams that finished just ahead and just behind them. Overall, though, Oliveira & Hockley gave a strong performance to secure second place with 46.17 points.
Una Donegan & Andrew Korda — “My Sweet and Tender Beast”
Donegan & Korda were the class of the field, as far as speed and flow were concerned. They also appeared to be the most mature of the teams. Likely because they have strong and difficult lifts, they chose to include three lifts and only one step sequence in their program, which was a strategy that paid off here. All three of their lifts, as well as their spin, earned level fours and positive or base GOE. The only element to score negative GOE was the twizzle sequence, which looked a bit tentative and slow. With 48.61 points, Donegan & Korda won the free dance by about two-and-a-half points.
Olivia Griggs & Aaron Arnott — “The Feeling Begins”
Without the difficult levels to match the top teams in the event, Griggs & Arnott did their best with a pretty good skate. They did not have any major errors, and they had a nice straightline lift where Arnott was crouched and Griggs was in a laidback position. Unfortunately, they did receive a one-point deduction for an extended lift. In the future, they can work on improving their speed, as well as their expression. The program looks comfortable on them as it is, but by finding a level of expression that works for them, they could really make it stand out. With 32.03 points, they were ninth in this dance.
Samantha Chojnacki & Rhys Jones
Chojnacki & Jones had an interesting mix of elements in their free dance. Three of their elements–the curve lift, the twizzles, and the rotational lift– were level fours, and three– the midline step sequence, the combination spin, circular step sequence–were level ones. In the first half of the dance, they had good speed, but they seemed to level off in the second half. Overall, they struggled with some of the elements, such as the twizzles, coming off as sloppy, but they did excel on the performance side, especially with the opening. They earned 39.01 points for this dance and were eighth.