Sunday, November 23, 2008
Final photos…
















And finally…


Katia & I with Judy Blumberg!


Sunday – Free Dance

logo-754117Dance today was really fun!! Today Katia and I sat with our good friend Isabella Tobias, as well as our ex-group-mate — the 2004 world junior champion — Elena Romanovskaya, as well as Nora Hoffman and her partner Maxim Zavozin. Everyone had their own opinions, and we all had a blast discussing everyone.

Today we really enjoyed Davis & White. They were on today. They skated the best we have ever seen them. What really amazed us was how technical they were!! On television it can sometimes be difficult to see lobes, edges, and speed. We really loved their spin, because it is just as difficult as it can get, and still they manage to execute it very well. Their circular step sequence was very edgy, and they didn’t lose any speed thought it. We liked all of their lifts, especially their first combination lift, which was very innovative and well executed. The only part where I found them a little uncomfortable was the midline step sequence, where they began to slow down in the middle, and the lobes in the one-foot section were small compared to the ones they did in the circular. However, overall it was an excellent performance, and we really think they deserved they marks.

Domnina & Shabalin today unfortunately looked a little out of shape. They looked rather slow and unpolished, but you can see that this couple is a couple who is thinking big. They were the only couple in this competition who used a variety of interesting holds and positions in their step sequences. When these little things will be executed well, they will look a head above all the couples who are scared of moving away from just plain waltz and Kilian position in step sequences. However, this is understandable, as Maxim has had months off the ice. When I saw him backstage, he was still limping, which is why I think they had troubles in their step sequences and footwork. They also had some troubles on their spin. However, the program has a lot of potential. All it needs it time to polish it up. Hopefully, at the Grand Prix Final, we will see what this program is really meant to look like, and what place they deserve to come.

Khoklova & Novitski…well…you either like it, or you don’t. I think the choreography suits them. Today, technically, we found them weaker then some of the other couples. They had very shaky edges in both their step sequences. At times it was hard to tell what edge they were on, and even the edges that they performed were much smaller then some of the couples below them. However, they, as usual, had excellent lifts. I especially liked their first straightline lift, as it looks really effective and is very difficult. We also liked their spin, as it, too, was very difficult and well executed. If they get more speed and fix the step sequences, they will be good contenders for the podium in 2009.

Cappellini and Lanotte did a good job. In parts they seemed a little cautious; however, overall their program flowed well. Their step sequences were done cleanly, but they, too, seemed to have shaky edges. But what we think set them away from the top three teams were two components: their Linking Footwork and their Choreography. Their program was very simple. Although all the transitions they had were nice and flowing, they didn’t have the difficulty. There were no difficult turns, and for the majority of the footwork they skated hand-in-hand or in Kilian, which is considered simpler than skating face-to-face.


Saturday, November 22, 2008
Original Dance

Today was a long day for us. We had to wake up early and go to both our practice and then the COR official practice to watch. After the practices, we had a lunch meet up with a few friends and went to go and watch the ladies event. The ladies event was a bit boring with the exception of Alissa Czisny, Rachael Flatt, and Alena Leonova.

Unfortunately, the dance today wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be.

I liked Domnina & Shabalin. I found them very much in style and very, very classy. Their program also is very well choreographed. However, this was not one of their best skates as they looked a bit slow today even for a waltz, and there was no power in their strokes compared to the power they usually have. We also found that their step sequences were a bit flat, and they occasionally jumped on their footwork. This was especially true in the parallel step sequence where they both jumped in their Mohawk. I think those little mistakes were what stopped them from getting first place tonight.

Khokhlova & Novitski skated the best they could today. They skated clean, had flow, and made no mistakes. Both step sequences they did with good edge control; however, they had occasional movement in their position in the diagonal step sequence. Their program has the potential to look excellent by the end of the season, but at the moment they still don’t feel comfortable in it.

It was very unfortunate to see what happened to Davis & White. They did all their elements well on the warm up and looked very promising. We were also able to sneak in and watch the official practices, and we were surprised to see how much they improved since Skate Canada. Unfortunately, they made several very severe mistakes, which placed them far, far behind were they should have been. They usually have perfect twizzles, but here Charlie must have gone on his toe pick, and after the second revolution, he lost balance and had to put one hand down not to fall. But after that he also fell on both the diagonal and parallel step sequences. They also made a minor mistake on the spin where, during the change, he put his foot down, which is why their spin was downgraded to level two. Tomorrow is another day, and hopefully tomorrow they will be able to show themselves in a better light.

Cappellini and Lanotte did a good job as well. Their step sequences had clean running edges with a good distance between them. The only point that could be improved in their step sequences is that although they do the right edges, they didn’t have huge lobes, which is what is a key component when determining the level of skating. They had a very well-choreographed program that was well put to the music and was very accessible to the audience.

These were the top four couples that really stood out. Others that skated well were Zadorozhniuk & Verbillo and Platonova & Grachev.

Hopefully tomorrow everyone will stay on their feet and show real high-quality skating.


Follow up question on Viennese Waltz
Someone had the following question in regard to your compulsory dance blog: “What were the other teams doing wrong on the outside 6? Were they coming off the edge?”

No, not exactly. The 6 beat edge has to be done standing on an outside edge for all 6 beats. The first half of the edge is done on 3 beats, the man with his leg back and the lady with her leg in front. Then the rest of the edge (another 3 beats) is done with the man with his leg forward and the lady with her leg back. In fact, it’s impossible to hold your leg three beats back and then three beats in front, because you still have to get you leg from the back forwards, which also takes a beat. So what most people do is: do the first part of the on 2 beats then 1 beat is taken by you bringing you leg forward, and then the rest of the edge (3 beats) with your leg forward. That’s a little bit of theory!!!!!

But what some of the couples were doing was: they were not only doing the edge too quickly, but toward the end of the edges, the lady was already on an inside edge or had no edge — which is one of the main points that judges look at in the Viennese Waltz, as it is a key point in the dance and is also marked in both the GOE and the timing mark.

Hope that helps!


Friday, November 21, 2008
Viennese Waltz CD

Jonathan-707534Russia’s junior ice dance team, Ekaterina Riazanova & Jonathan Guerreiro, captured gold and silver on the Junior Grand Prix circuit this autumn and will be heading to Korea for the Final next month. The duo trains in Moscow, and they agreed to share their opinions and experiences at Cup of Russia with ice-dance.com.

It was excellent to come to a competition and just sit down, relax, and watch everyone skate!!! The atmosphere was great! The whole world of Russian figure skating met up tonight. All of our friends came to watch and cheer. Also, many big names were present, from Evgeny Plushenko to Tatiana Tarasova. We had a chance to meet up with a good friend, Isabella Tobias, who happens to be training in Moscow at present.

Now to the dancing…

Overall, we found that most of the couples did a good job. Katia and I agree with the first two placings. We found Oksana Domnina & Maxim Shabalin ahead of everybody by a large margin, especially in carriage and unison, which is very important in the compulsory dance. They also had the largest pattern — which stayed the same all three sequences — and the only couple to perform the outside 6 beat edge correctly.

Jana Khokhlova & Sergei Novitski did a good job, but their pattern could have been bigger and their positions a little closer. Khokhlova & Novitski were very precise on timing, which is important as it’s reflected by the judges both in the technical and the components. Also, in the section where the lady has a Mohawk and the man has a Choctaw, their lobes were large.

Meryl Davis & Charlie White did a fair job. They tried to show the waltz feeling from the start to the end, but the manner that they performed some of they elements showed that this is not their favoured section of the competition.

I personally would have had the Ukrainian couple, Anna Zadorozhniuk & Sergei Verbillo, in fourth, because compared to Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte, Zadorozhniuk & Verbillo had a relatively large pattern and carried themselves better — more confident and with a more waltz feeling here. Cappellini & Lanotte were very tentative and looked a bit out of place in this dance and had the smallest pattern of the day.

We had fun watching the compulsory dance, and I really hope that tomorrow everyone will do just as well — if not a better job than today.

Last but not least, Katia and I were thrilled and privileged to be introduced to the famous ice dancer, Ms. Judy Blumberg.