by Melanie Hoyt
Isabella Cannuscio & Ian Lorello – “In the Mood” + “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”
Cute program with great energy! Cannuscio & Lorello appear to “get” what this year’s theme is supposed to be about. On the midline step sequence, his steps were bigger and more pronounced, and she had a tiny bobble at end. They executed a strong rotational lift with a catchfoot position. Their catchfoot twizzles were slightly out of unison, but they had good speed. Despite a drop in speed on the circular steps, the element was a nice one for them because they had good choreography to the music. Their optional element at the end was a cross between a lift and a jump. Great program.
Karen Routhier & Eric Saucke-Lacelle – “PS I Love You” (slow jazzy tune) + “Stuff Like That There”
They began with a nice highlight move that included a drag, but overall, the opening could be a bit softer. Their midline step sequence did not start all the way at the end of the rink, and Routhier was slower than Saucke-Lacelle in the first half of the steps, but then she appeared to settle into the element. Their straightline lift was balanced on his foot and it was a good element for them. They could use a bit more energy on the music change, and the circular footwork didn’t seem to go with music, but they skated it well. Their twizzles began with an extended leg position, which were good, but she stumbled on the second set. Both of their music cuts felt slow, even the fast one. It wasn’t a bad effort, but it didn’t grab me the way that Cannuscio & Lorello’s did.
KK Patitucci & Karl Edelmann – something stereotypical big band instrumental
Their opening was very sharp, and their first element, the circular footwork, was not fast but it matched the music and it was skated well. They did an interesting curve lift — she was standing on his hand, and then they changed positions. Their twizzles were pretty good. The dance-y stop at the music change needs more oomph. During the midline, the music was faster than during the circular steps, but their skating looked more labored and they were a little spotty on the unison. They closed with a no-handed rotational lift. Overall, they look improved over this time last year.
Piper Gilles & Zach Donohue – 40s style something + “Sing Sing Sing,” choreography by Christopher Dean
Right away, this new team has great energy! He needs to involve his face more, but there is energy present in his movements. Gilles may have had a tiny stumble on the circular footwork. Their spin maintained a lot of speed and their curve lift looked easy. Their twizzles began with extended legs and they went right with the music, but the second set lost unison. Even in the last minute, they still had great speed and energy. Even though Donohue does not have the same amount of experience that Gilles does, he kept up with her well. Their midline step sequence was difficult and extremely accurate, without any major unison breaks. In the last lift, Donohue actually tosses her into the air, but since it is an optional element, anything goes -– we checked with a few different sources to verify the rules. Overall –- fabulous! One of the highlights of the week.
Elyse Matsumoto & Patrick Mays – 20s Style
After the midline step sequence, their twizzles were absolutely solid. Their curve lift was about the same as Patitucci & Edelmann’s, beginning in a position where she is standing on his hand. Their accent lift was a nice addition, with her in the splits, and their spin was quite good. They lost some points on the circular footwork, which had a little mistake in the middle and a loss of some speed. As an overall impression, there were a few “empty” spots in the choreography of the program and Matsumoto’s free arm sometimes looks overly posed, but aside from that, they had a strong dance and looked like they were having a great time.
Sara Bailey & Kyle Herring
They were accurate in their diagonal step sequence, and their twizzles were very fast, but they will need to work on their unison. They also used a now-popular position in the curve lift of standing on the guy’s foot. In the faster second half of the program, they kept the speed well, and the midline steps were solid and sharp. Their spin with catchfoot variations had good speed and they had a cute ending. Great effort overall.
Sarah Arnold & Christopher Steeves – Chicago
Arnold & Steeves performed the first Chicago selections of the event – I’d expected many more! Their twizzles started well, but she put her foot down early in the second set for a definite downgrade. Their curve lift was good, with a big sweeping change of position, and their circular steps were also well done. The music changed into “We Both Reached for the Gun” for a fun Charleston. Their midline steps had good choreography to the music, and they did a great job keeping the character as well as performing the correct steps. Their spin lost a lot of speed at the end of the program, but they had good expression throughout the dance.
Alexa-Marie Arrotta & Martin Nickel – “Harlem Nocturne” + “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing”
They didn’t begin as smooth as the music and could have benefited from using their knees more. Arrotta looks more hesitant than Nickel in the diagonal footwork, which was to be expected since she’s skating on the junior level for the first time. However, their lift was excellent. The twizzles were pretty fast, but the unison was not great, and she may have done one more rotation than him on the second set. Their midline steps were rather far apart to begin, but then they got a bit closer. They ended with a cute lift/jump for their optional element. The tempo works for them, and they had good energy all the way to the end.
Chloe Wolf & Rhys Ainsworth – Some kind of music about friendship
Although it wasn’t zippy, their opening circular footwork went well. Wolf achieved a pretty position on the rotational lift, which also featured strong partnering from Ainsworth. The twizzles lost unison on the first set, but regained it on the second set, and both sets had decent speed. The midline steps were even stronger than the circular steps. Overall, it was a cute program.
Kharis Ralph & Asher Hill – “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”
Their opening element was an original rotational lift –- Ralph was holding onto Hill’s leg in a somewhat inverted position. From there, they went right into the diagonal footwork, which was nice and smooth. Their midline steps did not start right at the end of the ice, but they had great unison on the twizzles in the middle of the sequence. Unfortunately, she then lost it on the next steps. Then, Hill also lost the second set of twizzles on their twizzle sequence after the footwork. Although it was a good program, they didn’t look thrilled with their performance -– there were too many little mistakes.
Catherine St-Onge & Alexander Browne – “It Had to Be You” with gunshots and police sirens
They performed this number with a mobster theme, but to be honest, the loud noises were distracting since the sound in the arena was turned up so high. Their diagonal footwork was a bit slow, but it had good choreography in it. From their twizzles, they entered their spin immediately. Although they missed the catch a bit, it was a cool idea. Both the midline step sequence and the rotational lift were performed well, and they ended with a fun little highlight lift. It was a little slow overall, but they are so pleasant to watch. Aside from the sudden gunshots.
Siobhan Heekin-Canedy & Dmitriy Zyzak – 20s Style
They began with a cute face-to-face rotational lift, and went right into the midline step sequence. They did not have much speed there, and Heekin-Canedy looked quite hesitant. After a music change to a slower tune, they did their twizzle sequence with an interesting variation on the first set, but the second set wasn’t quite as good. The spin was solid. The program had lots of character –- she’s so fun to watch.
Abby Carswell & Jason Cusmariu – big band type like Brian Setzer
They entered their midline step sequence with speed and skated it well, but they looked a bit tentative. Although their twizzles lacked unison, they moved fairly quickly. One of their best elements was their curve lift – it had nice changes, and it was very crisp. Unfortunately, they fell on a hydroblade highlight move. They recovered nicely with a good spin with nice positions. Aside from the fall, they had good energy and expression.
by Katie Weigel
Shannon Wingle & Tim McKernan
She’s in a red dress. He’s in striped black and white pants with suspenders. Skating to a medley that includes “you can like the life your living” and “All That Jazz.” Circular step sequence good. Dance spin with catchfoot positions – traveled for first few revolutions but then became centered. Mid-line steps good. Expressive. Twizzles with catch foot position. First set good unison. Second OK. Skating a little far apart on some holds, but good for three weeks together. Taking a long time to calculate Tim and Shannon’s scores.
Nikki Yorgiadis & Graham Hockley Costumes: she’s in teal dress with headband, he’s in tan vest/pants with matching teal shirt. Charleston music. Good unison on twizzles– both in catch foot positions. Good rotational lift. Dance spin with low to the ice positions – decent speed. Mid-line steps good unison but a little far apart. Highlight lift – rotational. He went down to his knees at the end of the lift carrying her into the ending pose. Looked to be choreographed that way.
Sophie Knippel & Andrew Britten
She’s in a black dress he in white and red vest. Music (“Cabaret”) with the lyrics “money makes the world go round.” Open with rotational lift with her in split position. He stumbles a little on in-between steps. Fast dance spin. Low positions. Music changes to be very upbeat. Midline steps good unison until the very end where they got off a little. Twizzles: she stumbles on both sets puts hands down on ice. Problems with last highlight lift. Part of costume fell off – should be a deduction.
Tarrah Harvey & Keith Gagnon
She is in red and black dress with frayed skirt. He is wearing a red vest and white shirt. Music is a Charleston. Dance spin fast with catch foot position. Lift with her in a backbend position and he in spread eagle. Twizzles mirroring each other. He stumbles a little on the last set. Good highlight lift to end.
Madison Chock & Greg Zuerlein
Both in blue – he in light and she in dark. She is also wearing a headband. Very upbeat and expressive to start. Twizzles are very close together. He is off slightly on the second set. Circular steps good and timed well to music. Music tempo slows. Lift – he is in a spread eagle as she changes positions – good speed. Dance spin – camel and then catch foot. Midline steps good unison and close together. Highlight lift in split positions – rotational. She’s in an upside down position. Nice performance, should medal.
Maja Vermeulen & Andrew Doleman
She’s in a pink dress and he in black with pink tie. Skating to the duet version of “Cheek to Cheek.” Rotational lift to spread eagle position – good position changes. Dance spin: he is in a sit position and she in catch foot. Music changes to “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen.” Midline steps ok. She stumbles out on the first set of twizzles. Second set is slower and off slightly on unison. Highlight lift up and over him and down his back to finish.
Anastasia Cannuscio & Colin McManus
She is wearing a black and white lacy dress. He is in a black and white suit. Music is “I Wanna Be Loved by You” Good midline steps with nice unison. Dance spin also good. Twizzles are fast and very much in unison. Energetic the whole way through. Swing rotational lift. Music changes to “Has Anybody Seen My Gal.” Great choreography that includes a cartwheel over his back. That was a very inspiring skate. Both seem really pleased.
Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani
She is wearing a red dress and he in white shirt and black pants with red suspenders. Upbeat, big band music – not sure of the title. Midline steps have great unison and are extremely fast. Choreographed claps throughout the midline sequence. Cool move where she goes through his legs. Turns to slower music during the dance spin. Fast spin with multiple changes – smooth all the way through. Highlight lift – rotational. Once again upbeat music. Great twizzles with perfect unison, which they did right in front of their coach, Igor Shpilband. Igor claps. Maia is very expressive. Flip up to rotational lift to finish. High fives at the end between them. Great skate – could be first.
Elizabeth Lewis and Baxter Burbank
He in white with black trousers and straps. She is wearing a white and pink dress. Music is “Bourbon Street Blues.” They start with a dance spin – catch foot position is slow. Steps a little slow with slight stumble going into spread eagles. Off on the twizzles. Midline steps mirror each other and are a little slow. Rotational lift OK. He falls just before the ending pose, but gets up in time to finish on cue.
Veronique De Beaumont-Boisvert & Sebastian Buron
She is in gold with sparkly top – a gorgeous dress. He is wearing all black. Starts off with bluesy music. Spin with cool pick up variation. Circular steps good. Dance spin – traditional pair sit spin with a change to an upright position. Music changes to upbeat 20’s music. Midline steps – good unison – could be faster and with more energy. Twizzles together on first set – he lost unison a little on the last set. Rotational lift with her in complete split – he holding onto one leg. Nice performance.
Olga Lioudvinevitch & Thomas Willliams
Wearing black and yellow costumes – she has a big yellow bow on her hip. Music is “Cheek to Cheek.” Nice line – well matched – both are lean and tall. She stumbles on handheld steps and the he trips as well. First set of twizzles have good unison – second set not together. Music changes to “Lullaby of Broadway” from “42nd Street.” Stumble on lift – he lost his footing and balance but saved her from falling. Spin – camel to sit position. They finish after the music. They are not happy with that performance.
Olivia Martins & Alvin Chau
She is wearing a lavender dress with a big white flower. He is in a black suit. Music is Frank Sinatra’s “Cheek to Cheek.” Good circular steps. Nice rotational lift with catch foot positions and a few changes of positions. She stumbles on connecting moves. Twizzles have good unison on both sets – just a tad off on the second. Midline steps mirroring – unison OK. Slow dance spin with a few changes of position. Finish a little after the music ends.
by S.P. Bosley
1. Madison Chock & Greg Zuerlein: Ivory with pink trim gown, black with cape-like flow. Music-Phantom of the Opera. Straightline lift, spread eagle, step up onto hip into a vertical split holding foot. Beautiful! Great flow and established mood. Fall at the end didn’t take away from superb quality of this program.
2. Isabella Cannuscio & Ian Lorello: Cranberry beaded gown, black with matching trim. Music: Godfather. The program had sustained energy, deep edges, and great expression. Catch foot side by side twizzles were in perfect unison. Great interpretation of the music. Enjoyable to watch.
3. Elyse Matsumoto & Patrick Mays: burnt orange costumes. Music: Bond. Close partnering skills and great use of the ice. Energy throughout the program. Sharp elements and skills. Took the audience on the journey.
4. Kharis Ralph & Asher Hill: white/ivory satin gown/matching with brown loose tie. Music: St. James Infirmary. Catch foot twizzles, challenging circular step sequence. Clean and energetic. A young team with a great deal of talent and promise.
5. Nikki Yorgiadis & Graham Hockley: Costumes in cream/ivory Music: Greek. Great mood setting and crowd pleaser. Skated with attention to the music and elements. Good flow and great transitions.
6. Karen Routhier & Eric Sauke-Lacelle: purple beaded gown with a low collar, Purple shirt with black, black suspenders. Music: French vocal. Good unison and edges. Dramatic presentation. Good speed in spins and use of ice.
7. Sarah Arnold & Christopher Steves: White satin costumes. Music: Piano. Good partnering, strong lines. Dramatic. Entrances and exits gentle. Good musicality. Fast twizzles, good change of position curve lift.
8. Sophie Knippel & Andrew Britten: green gown/dark green/black pants. Music: Tango/Latin. Great presence on the ice, and energy throughout the program, good twizzles and lifts. This program has great promise.
9. KK Patitucci/ Karl Edelmann: Gown orange, yellow and animal print, black shirt with V-neck. Music: Tango. Good flow and speed. Good reverse twizzles and use of all the ice. Good lines and partnering.
10. Katie Wyble & Justin Morrow: Gown red and black, leather-like pants with black shirt. Dramatic opening, nice speed and flow, good rotations. Strong attack. Aggressive and strong program.
11. Chloe Wolf & Rhys Ainsworth: Black with green dress/ matching green shirt and leather-like pants. Music: The Matrix. Great flow and partnering. Good unison in twizzles. Sustained speed in spins, nice entrances and exits from elements. A missed element lowered the score but a very strong program.
12. Veronique de Beaumont & Sebastien Buron: Black halter drape top/shorts, black pants and shirt. Music: Contemporary Ain’t No Sunshine. Very unique lifts—the best upside down split. Great promise. Very enjoyable.
13. Maja Vermeulen & Andrew Dolman: Gown gold/orange, gray silver over white shirt. Music: Hip Hop variations. Good edges, catch-foot spin very pretty. Will improve over the season. Interesting and fresh.
14. Natasha Osmond & Justin Mohr: pink with crimson trip/brocade rose vest. Music: dramatic French. Good catch foot spin, reverse pull, great lines. This program will be fabulous with a bit more speed as it develops.
15. Alissa Pettimicchi & Derek Green: Navy gown with beaded top and tan underlay, dark blue beaded V-neck. Music: French. Very dramatic and good expression. Elegant with flow. Good circular footwork. This will be fabulous as the season progresses.
16. Laurence Beaudry & Anthony Quintal: Pink halter beaded gown, sweater vest. Nice twizzles, beautiful spin and split lift. Great music but hopefully it will be played lower next time. Will improve with more speed as season progresses.
17. Marie-Phillipe Vincent & Francois-Xavier Ouelette: Gown is yellow with black trim/black pants & shirt. Music by Edith Piaf. Covers the ice smoothly with good flow. Deep edges.
by Laura Fantarella
Ice dancing is alive and well in Lake Placid as 40 teams hit the ice to compete for the top spots. There was one surprise among the top-notch competitors in junior’s Group B free dance. New partners Piper Gilles & Zach Donohue skated an aggressive and exciting program and took third spot after just six weeks of training together.
Madison & Keiffer Hubbell skated a confident, powerful program with interesting elements, including a reverse shoot the duck. At one point he was doing a backward hydroblade and she was laying on his back. A strong and flawless program that earned them the gold.
The Shibutanis, Maia and Alex, as usual, skated a soft and elegant program, Soft, flowing and balletic with seemingly effortless unison. They finished second.
Kyle Herring and Sara Bailey skated to a bluesy Beatles medley that got the crowd clapping. Their skating was close and fast. There is an ease to their skating that makes them very comfortable to watch. Their program had great expression and they looked like they were having fun.
Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus performed to a sexy, bluesy number that was lively, fast and fun. They kicked off with a fast Biellmann spin and continued into strong combination change spins. They were glittery, upbeat and fun. A fall by Colin at the end of the program cost them many points.
Alissandra Aronow and Aleksandras Pirogovas skated a romantic, angstful, pretty, program. They did not skate as closely as some of the teams. She has beautiful long lines.
Elizabeth Lewis and Baxter Burbank skated to rather dark and dramatic music. They had a beautiful combination Biellmann spin and spin combo and nice lifts.
Catherine St. Onge and Alexander Browne Skated a sexy number with a tango flavor that accented her beautiful flexibility. Beautiful burgundy costumes.
Brittany Marshall and Ashley Deavers had dramatic music with clear accents. The program started out as promising with impressive and close side-by-side twizzles, but the program seemed to lose momentum and grow more hesitant as it evolved.
Dmitriy Zyzak and Siobhan Heekin-Canedy performed an energetic program to an ABBA mix. They had a strong and interesting combination spin with a very long backbend spin component. They had very stretched lifts with nice lines.
Tarrah Harvey and Keith Gagnon Performed a fast and fun French number with many innovative positions. Close, fast twizzles. Many changes in mood and tempo – from fast and light to slow and deliberate to powerful and strong. Great expression looked like they were having a lot of fun.
Close dancing and nice connection marked the program of Katelyn Good and Brandon Deslauriers. They had impressive leg grab twizzles that were fast and controlled with an unusual horizontal lift.
Melodie-Tara Tremblay And Jonathan Arcieri. Beautiful side-by-side footwork, with strong edges and controlled twizzles. Gorgeous lifts. Strong, confident program.
Olga Lioudvinevitch & Thomas Williams’ program kicked off with a strong lift with five changes of position! They had good speed and unison with fast and controlled leg grab twizzles extending their hands overhead. An enjoyable playful and light program. She climbs over him with ease, wrapping her skate around his neck as she extends and stretches into beautiful lift lines. A delightful, airy, and beautiful program with costumes that really complement the music.
Abby Carswell and Jason Cusmariu. A toe tapping folk dance program with good footwork and interesting rotational lifts.
Shannon Wingle & Tim McKernan – She is a confident and expressive skater. Their program is accented by a light and delicate skating quality. He seems to initiate an element and she follows effortlessly. Beautiful lifts which highlight this team’s long lines and flexibility. This outing was only their second complete run-through of the free dance.