Free Dance

Group A

Reported by Jim & Tammi McManus

Team #1. Natalie Wojton/Michael Soyfer – interpreting very musical program as birds

Started with a very nice combo spin, level 3. He was on 1 foot for the curve lift. Twizzle sequence was very nice, but unfortunately was followed by a double fall in a transitional section. Circular step sequence needs some work to gain a higher level. Change of position combo lift included him in a spread eagle and their rotational lift was good with her grabbing her foot behind her head. 2 deductions for the fall and 1 deduction for an extended lift.

Team #2. Melissande Dumas/Yoan Breton – Arabian music mix

Their first element was the twizzle sequence, with hands behind the back and a catch foot position. Combo lift included a curve and rotational lift. The spin had some difficulty with travelling and earned only a level 1 with negative GOE’s. Very nice layback position in the straightline lift. Their circular step sequence was a bit slow and tentative and they ended their program with a rotational lift. Overall, nice extension, but they appeared to be still getting comfortable with the choreography. 2 deductions for extended lifts.

Team #3. Julia Leix/ Thomas Zebrasky – Latin music

Twizzle sequence good, but a little out of synch. No feature included, so only a level 1. A one-arm rotational lift followed by a basic circular step sequence. Very nice back flip over into a straight-line lift. May need to hit those positions quicker and hold them longer to get the higher level calls. A foot down in the combo spin resulted in no points and a problem with the combo lift also resulted in no points for that element. Unfortunately, that resulted in a potential loss of about 7 points.

Team #4. Lauri Bonacorsi/Travis Mager – very lyrical piano piece (Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence.)

A newly formed team for this year, they’ve only been skating together for two months. You couldn’t tell from their performance tonight. They had slight synchronization problems with the twizzles, but overall, a very mature program. Very nice straightline lift, with him holding one of her legs. A nice transition to a rotational lift with beautiful expression. A solid level 1 step sequence. Their combo lift combined a strong spread eagle lift with a rotational lift. The final element was a spin, which maintained speed throughout.

Team #5. Una Donegan/Andrew Korda – a soft lyrical piece

Started strong with a twizzle sequence of catch foot twizzles on the first set, but they didn’t do the same amount on the second set. Beautiful one arm rotational lift. Very strong over the head flip, neither one holding on into a level 2 curve lift with him in a hydro blade position. Nice entrance into their spin that maintained pretty good speed throughout. Spread eagle curve lift. Their final element was their circular step sequence, which needs some work to bring up the level and GOE. A very pretty program overall.

Team #6. Nicole Orford/Malcolm Rohan O’Halloran – Beatles Medley

The program started with a very fast twizzle sequence, but slightly out of synch and not doing the same amount. Circular footwork had good speed, but the circle was pretty small and that may have resulted in the negative GOE’s. Strong spread eagle curve lift with her in a layback position. Basic pairs spin that lost a bit of speed towards the end. Midline non-touching step sequence started out rough, but they got in synch and ended strong. Pretty position for her in the rotational lift, just a bit shaky, though. Good speed throughout the program, should get stronger as the season goes on.

Team #7. Joanna Salvagna/Marc-Andre Servant – “Ain’t No Sunshine”

Very good one-arm rotational lift to start the program. Strong mid-line no touching step sequence. Twizzle sequence with a catch foot on the second set. Got slightly out of synch at the end. Combo spin maintained speed throughout. One foot straightline lift, position might need to be held longer for positive GOE’s. Circular step sequence at the end of the program, was a little bit shaky. Overall, a fun program.

Team #8. Charlotte Lichtman/Paul Bellantuono – Gypsy style music

Brand new team, who looked very strong. Started with level 3 twizzle sequence. Good first set, looked like she may have dropped the catch foot too early on the second set. Nice combo lift starting with him in a spread eagle, into a rotational with her behind his back and final position of her in front. Ran a little long though. Another strong curve lift, which may have gone long as well. Combo spin maintained its speed. Diagonal step sequence could be a bit faster and she slipped off her edge during a transition piece. Final rotational lift was very good. A couple of rookie mistakes that may have kept them off the podium, but otherwise a very enjoyable program. Should be a strong team this year.

Team #9. Janine Ashley Halstead/Robert Knopf – Pink Panther

Cute interpretation to start the program. Strong curve lift, with him on one foot. Spin looked like it might have ended a bit abruptly. Serpentine step sequence was a bit shaky. Strong one-arm rotational lift that covered a lot of ice. Twizzle sequence with a foot down on the second set. Spread eagle change of position serpentine lift to end the program. Looked like they had a lot of fun with it.

Team #10. Moriah Tabon/Matt Kleffman – Dark Eyes

A new partnership for this season. Both competed novice last year with different partners. This program started strong and ended just as strong. First element was a change of position spin that held onto very good speed. Change of position spread eagle lift into a curve lift. She had nice positions through all the changes. Strong level 1 circular step sequence. One-arm rotational lift. Twizzle sequence, had a strong first set with catch foot position, second set was a little weaker. Hydroblade split position curve lift at the end of the program. Very well done.

Team #11. Elizabeth Ritenour/Derek Ontko – Barbara Streisand musical?

Started the program with a circular step sequence. A little shaky and the circle could be bigger. Very nice rotational lift with her in an upside down position. Serpentine lift with a change of position. She started in a split on his boot and he ended in a sit position with her blade to her head. Twizzle sequence started a bit rough, but they did do a catch foot in the 2 nd set. Pairs spin, good speed. Straightline change of position lift that might have gone a little too long. This team was at Intermediate last year and while they’re marks don’t reflect it, I thought the program had potential. If they continue to work on holding their extensions and positions a little bit longer, they should see their GOEs improving.

Team #12. Melanie Thomas/Alex Green – Gravity

Nice spread eagle curve lift, with her holding the skate blade to her head. Pairs spin, okay speed. Circular step sequence was a bit shaky at times. In the twizzle sequence, she was late grabbing her blade in the catch foot position. Maintained good speed, synchronicity and distance in the mid-line no touching step sequence. Rotational lift, not a very pretty second position for her, and I believe this lift went too long. Loved the music, but it’s very soft and requires a lot of expression from the couple to pull the audience in.

Team #13. Alexandra Aldridge/Johnathan Cohn – Gloria Estafan “Conga”

Started with excellent twizzles. Good speed, in unison and stayed close to each other through both sets. Spread eagle straight-line lift into a strong rotational lift. Pairs combo spin, started to lose some speed towards the end. Spread eagle curve lift with her blade on his boot and split position. Diagonal step sequence was OK. Can be faster and closer together. Final rotational lift only a level 1, so that can be worked on for a higher level of difficulty. Good start for this new partnership and a nice return to the ice for Johnathan.

Team #14. Brittany Doleman/Dylan Simpson – Stepping Out and Candyman

Cute 1940’s theme to the program, with him in a beige military uniform. Started the program with a strong one-arm rotational lift. Level 2 circular step sequence, should get better GOE’s as the season goes on. Curve lift with him in a sit position, holding her with one arm. Her leg through his knees and leaning back very far. Pretty good mid-line no touching step sequence, but they drifted apart towards the end. Pairs spin ran into a little trouble on the change of position. Ended the program with the twizzle sequence. First set did have the catch foot element, second set was a bit wobbly. Fun program.

Team #15. Joylyn Yang/Jean-Luc Baker – He was dressed as a Knight, epic music

Their first element was a set of very fast and polished twizzles. Nice arm positions to add to the difficulty. Curve lift with him in a spread eagle, holding her legs as she leans back. Straightline lift with her standing on his knees, followed by a spread eagle curve lift. Pairs spin was slow and they had a foot down on the transition, resulting in their only negative GOE. Large pattern on their circular step sequence. Nice entry into a low straightline lift, with her balancing on his knees. These two skate from the tips of their fingers to the bottom of their toes. Beautiful program from a team just moving up from intermediate.

Team #16. Grace Lee Sells/Robert Cuthbertson – Gladiator type program to Enigma

Beautiful combo spin with 3 positions to start the program. The spin stayed fast and centered throughout all the changes. Spread eagle curve lift, with her facing forward and only being held by her legs around his waist. Kept in character on the lift. The first sequence of their twizzles was a catch foot in front of their body. Unfortunately, there was a fall on the second set that downgraded the level and gave them negative GOEs. Circular step sequence was done well, but can get stronger. Nice no hold spread eagle lift followed by a catch foot rotational lift. Finished with another strong lift, him in a sit position not holding on, her leg through his knees and leaning back. It looks like this team has worked very hard in the off season and it really shows in their program.

Team #17. Kelly Oliveira/Jordan Hockley – Birds of Paradise interpretation

Strong level 2 circular step sequence to start the program. Nice edges and expression. Pairs combo spin had very good speed and changes of position. Spread eagle curve lift with a change of position was nicely done. Crouch position on the first set of twizzles, second set didn’t have the same amount for each skater. Mid-line no touch step sequence maintained nice speed and they were close together going down the ice. A straightline lift ended their elements, with her balancing forward from around his waist. A really nice program.

Group B

Reported by Jim & Tammi McManus

Team #1. Alexis Scheller/Yavin Frye-Patch – beautiful, lyrical music

Started the program with twizzles, but unfortunately had a fall. That resulted in a loss of level and negative GOEs. Recovered from that well, though, and went into a very strong straightline lift combined with a rotational lift. The required number of rotations was not met for the spin and the element did not receive a score. Diagonal step sequence was not smooth. The straightline lift had an interesting change of position, starting with her leg hooked around his neck, then moving into a spread eagle. Might have been too long though. Final curve lift, him in a spread eagle and her in a split position. A bit bumpy, but a good start for a new team.

Team #2. Katie Donaldson/Brock Jacobs – Aria, anthem type music

One of the few teams who had an interesting transition into their spin. Twizzle sequence was pretty good, but a bit shaky. They had a problem with their lift and had to abandon it, which gave them no points. Nice circular step sequence. Their curve lift had him in a spread eagle position with her on his boot in a split. The final lift was another rotational and I think because of the problem with the previous lift, this one also got no points. The team also had a deduction for an extended lift.

Team #3. Sara Aghai/Peter Ahluwalia – Santana Medley

Fun dance style moves to start the program. The first set of twizzles in the sequence was strong. The second set was a catch foot, but they were out of synch. I thought the circular step sequence had good speed. The curve lift had him in a spread eagle and her in a split position. Their spin started to lose speed and unfortunately, both skaters fell. The diagonal step sequence had a nice flow. The final rotational lift, she was holding her blade and it was strong and fast. Great energy in the program.

Team #4. Stephanie Zastrow/Michael Lueck – Romeo & Juliet

Straightline lift started with an overhead flip into a balance position. Very well done. I wasn’t sure he caught his blade on the catch foot portion of their twizzles, but it looks like they did get full credit. They had nice unison. Nice entry into their serpentine lift, which had a change of position. Might have slipped off the edge with the spin entry, resulting in a hand down and not enough rotations for it to get a score. The circular step sequence had a slight problem with unison and hand holds. The final rotational lift was a one arm lift, very strong. Good program overall, too bad about the errors.

Team #5. Meredith Zuber/Ryan Van Natten – Don Quioxte

Really setting the tone of the program in the opening choreography. Twizzle sequence was strong on the catch foot, but a little out of synch on the second set. The straightline lift had him in a sit position; she had one foot held between his knees and in a layback position. I thought the spin looked clean with nice speed. The diagonal step sequence was slow and looked very tentative. He was in a spread eagle for the serpentine lift and she moved from a split into a catch foot position. Nice extension and flexibility. Final rotational lift was nice, but may have been too long. This program has great potential. Hopefully they’ll get stronger with it as the season goes on.

Team #6. Susan Enright/Michael Bramante – Tango

Their intermediate program from last season, so they looked very comfortable with it. Strong level 1 circular step sequence. Curve lift with him in a spread eagle and she in a layback, may need to hold that position a little longer for the higher level call. Nice transition into a strong rotational lift. Good entrance into the spin, with nice speed throughout. Twizzle sequence was rough, getting out of unison and a bit of a fall out. Curve lift was not as strong as the previous lifts. Didn’t look a complete hydroblade position. Pretty positions in the final straightline lift.

Team #7. Kylie Knight/Benjamin Mulder – Anastasia

Beautiful spin transitioning from a sit spin, to standing up with her in a Biellmann. He had a little trouble grabbing his blade on the catch foot twizzle sequence. Their circular step sequence was slow. Nice strong rotational lift, with good speed. They stayed close to each other in the mid-line no touch step sequence and were in unison. Very nice curve lift at the end of the program, with him flipping her up onto his shoulders. There’s a big height difference with this team and he may need to get much softer in his knees to help disguise that.

Team #8. Anastasia Olson/Jordan Cowan – Latin

Nice dance moves to set the tone of the program. First curve lift, nice and strong with her boot on his and in a split position. Good spin with change of positions, losing a little speed towards the end. The twizzle sequence started with a front catch foot position, she fell and he stumbled a bit. Nice edges on the level 2 circular step sequence, but I could hear some clicking of the blades. Spread eagle serpentine lift with nice positions and a final strong rotational lift. A few problems, but they looked very strong.

Team #9. Mackenzie Reid/Adam Munday – Swingy, jazz music I recognized from the Mask soundtrack

Good speed to start the program. Circular step sequence was okay. Nice rotational lift to follow. Twizzles included a catch foot on the first sequence, but some problems with a very low foot position on the second set. Looked like it was almost touching the ice. Good straightline lift with him in a sit position and her leg held by his knees. The spin was good and held its speed. Very nice expression throughout the program. They had a fall during a transitional part of the choreography. Final combo curve lift and rotational lift were very good. Not bad for a new partnership. Should do well if they can make the adjustments and bring up the levels of difficulty.

Team #10. Gabrielle Friedenberg/Benjamin Nykiel – Techno Italian type music

A new partnership for this season. Very lyrical start, interpreting the music well. Strong level 2 circular footwork, in time with the music. Not sure what happened in the transition, but it looked like one of them may have forgotten a section of the choreography. Caught up with each other for the rotational lift that looked strong. Their spin maintained good speed. Serpentine lift with him in a spread eagle, her skate on his boot, in a split position. Twizzles were a bit messy, with a miss on the catch foot in the first sequence and a stumble out in the second set. Good straightline lift, him on one foot. I thought the program started well, but really started to lose something about halfway through. Not sure if the miss in the choreography might have thrown it off.

Team #11. Kassy Kova/Justin Ross – That’s Life & Luck be a Lady

Their combo lift was a curve into a rotational lift. The circular footwork had okay speed, but was a bit scratchy. The twizzle sequence got a level 4 with nice catch foot on the first sequence, but a little out of unison on the second set. Their spin lost most of its speed. The rotational lift started a bit scary, but they ended the program with a strong curve lift, with him on one foot and her in a nice grab blade position. The team is similar in height and she has very long legs. Nice flexibility, but I think it would help the line of her extensions if she could get away from the bent knee. Good job from a team that was Intermediate last year.

Team #12. Kristen Seagers/Nicholas Taylor – Anastasia

Started with a very strong spin, maintaining their speed throughout. Nice entrance into a straightline lift with her balanced on his boots. Had some problems with the twizzle sequence. A little late on the catch foot grab and a stumble out of the second set. Serpentine lift with him in a spread eagle position. Good level 1 circular step sequence. One arm rotational lift at the end of the program, with him holding her hand through the legs. A little weak and may have been over the time limit. Overall a good program. This team has been together for a while now and it shows.

Team #13. Katharine Zeigler/Samuel Rashba – Beatles Medley

Began program with some nice speed from this new partnership. Strong level 1 circular step sequence. Their combo lift began with a curve, him in a spread eagle, transitioning to a strong one arm rotational lift. Spread eagle curve lift, not quite as strong. The first set of twizzles included a catch foot position, the second set were off balance and out of synch. The change of position spin lost speed. Their rotational lift at the end of the program was a little weak. They look like they are having fun with the program though.

Team #14. Maria Benfied/Eugene Holmes – Alannis Morrisette Medley

Their first element was a combo spin starting in a back sit position and transitioning to a Biellmann. Serpentine lift from a hydro blade into a spread eagle. The first set of twizzles was OK, the second set lost speed and were very out of synch. Circular step sequence had some nice elements worked into it. Rotational lift with her upside down and him not holding on. The final straightline lift did not get a score. Looked like some problems getting into position and they just weren’t able to complete it. Very expressive program.