by Laura Fantarella
Madison and Keiffer Hubbell
This powerful team had a “big” program. They skate fast and close with big leg extensions. They reverse traditional elements; sometimes she is doing what the male skater typically does. They skated a fast, fun program with a jive/swing feel. The only major mistake came when Keiffer had a miscue on the second twizzle in the sequence, costing them a spot on the podium.
Lauren Corry/Alex Lorello
A finger snapping jive beat got the crowd moving. They had great unison, fast twizzles and a beautiful Biellmann that led to change spin positions. Several interesting lifts.
Rebecca Fowler and Ilia Koreshev
A lively flapper/burlesque show from the 20s. Quick running steps to a slow footwork sequence. Captured the essence of the music and the times. Excellent rotational lift.
Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti –Schmitt
Great costuming as this couple looked like a two army cadets skating to Bugle Boy. Music changed to slow and bluesy. They had great expression and interesting lifts while he was in a spread eagle. Strong camel spin, change combination, great stretch and lines. Fun program to watch.
Helen Ramful and Garrett Goodman
Skated a nice program to “Summertime.” Good edges and dance steps.
Charlotte Maxwell and Nick Traxler
Skated to an “All the Jazz” medley with a burlesque theme and flapper costuming. Quick, lively start to slow, beautiful skate. He flipped her over his shoulder to a series of change lifts that looked smooth and effortless. Many fun elements that accented the music.
Jane Summersett and Todd Gilles
Effortless glide and smooth skating marked this couple’s program to “I’d Rather Be Blue.” They are a comfortable and fun team to watch with strong positions and great side-by-side unison. They did several interesting lifts that looked smooth and flawless. A fun program that the crowd enjoyed.
Andrea Chong and Guillaume Gfeller
A slow and sexy burlesque number changed to a fun jitterbug foot sequence. They were very close and skated well. A few unusual elements and a real crowd pleaser.
Megan Wilson and Marcus Connelly
This couple chose a romantic and elegant program, skating to “You Must Remember This.” She wore a beautiful, flowing pale pink dress and he was in tails. Their soft and lilting skating matched their outfits as you felt you were watching them waltz at the ball. Very pretty program.
Mylene Lamoureux and Michael Mee
They skated to a sexy number highlighted by their good unison and flexibility and nice lines. They had strong side-by-side twizzles with the difficult leg grab position.
Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier
This bartender and bar keep in black and white checks and hat delighted the crowd with their routine to piano music reminiscent of “The Sting.” It was fast and fun with a touch of comedy and very entertaining.
Clare Farrell and Chase Fishpaw
A sexy slow burlesque number to “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” turned to a fast and lively jive with cute running steps and shimmying in the lift while her skate was wrapped around his shoulder! Good unison and nice side-by-side footwork.
by Melanie Hoyt
Helen Ramful & Garett Goodman –some kind of folk music, perhaps Irish Their twizzles lost unison and overall, their skating was quite slow. Highlights from the program included a strong straightline lift, and well-choreographed step sequences that fit the character of the music. They seemed to enjoy their program, and their energy picked up at the end of the program, matching their music change. They are a new team, and Ramful is making her debut at the senior level.
Lynn Kriengkrairut & Logan Giulietti-Schmitt – “Jingi” and “Kill the Target” by Tomoyasu Hotei, choreography by Iouri Tchesnitchenko & Iaroslava Netchaeva This was a very crisp program, showing a surprising amount of polish for a season debut. They skated with a lot of energy and made interesting shapes in their choreography and transitions. Their circular step sequence, in particular, was skated with accuracy and sharpness. A bobble from Kriengkrairut on the twizzle sequence was the only major error in the program. Both skaters remained committed to the music and choreography throughout the dance, even when the music’s tempo increased in the final segment. Very strong season opener.
Mylène Lamoreux & Michael Mee – “Claire de Lune,” choreography by Megan Wing & Aaron Lowe After a soft opening that expresses the character of the music, Lamoreux & Mee executed strong twizzles that began with their free legs extended, and then they brought their legs in while still twizzling. Lamoreux had a tiny stumble on the second set of twizzles, though. The program was well-choreographed with pretty highlights and beautiful lift positions, but overall, it seemed new and slightly scratchy. Still, they look like they have made more improvements this year, and the program should grow stronger with more performances.
Lauren Corry & Alexander Lorello Corry & Lorello’s style is well matched, but it is evident that this is a new partnership. However, they made an impressive debut, considering that Corry skated on the novice level last year and just missed qualifying for the U.S. Championships. Lorello was also making his senior debut, after missing last season completely. Both partners skipped the junior level. They struggled with speed, and some of their lifts were not secure, including their opening straightline lift. However, they did execute a strong curve lift, where she was in a split position over his spread eagle.
Clare Farrell & Chase Fishpaw Farrell & Fishpaw brought the drama with this program. They had a slight break in unison on their twizzles, but got it back. Highlights of the program included a strong rotational lift and the level of accuracy with which their footwork was skated. However, their skating was a bit slow overall, which is something that may improve as they become more comfortable with the program. Overall, they have a lot of style and look good on the ice together.
Sarah Flesher & Jamie Forsythe Another new Canadian team, Forsythe made his ice dance competitive debut at Lake Placid. Flesher has not competed in the past two seasons. For a new team with such limited experience, they skated well. Although they were slow and hesitant overall, their program had some nice highlights, including a good curve lift.
Vanessa Crone & Paul Poirier – “A Perfect Day” by Yo-Yo Ma Crone & Poirier began their first full season on the senior level by performing a gentle free dance to lyrical cello music. Last year, their opening stationary lift became a trademark for them, and this year they open their program with a new stationary lift. Their twizzle sequence is ambitious, performing the first set in a sitting position and then going immediately into a catchfoot variation. Unfortunately, they lost control of the sequence at the very end. Their spin was smooth and melted into the program’s choreography, but their most impressive elements were their lifts, which are overall much more dynamic than last year. With this program, Crone & Poirier made a statement that they are ready for the senior Grand Prix.
Charlotte Maxwell & Nick Traxler – “We Will Rock You” & “The Show Must Go On” by Queen This exciting performance began with a sharp opening and good speed on their spin until the change in position. They also had great speed in the rotational lift. Maxwell & Traxler are such a versatile team, but this style really makes them shine, and the program had great choreography. One thing that they can work on is maintaining their speed, which dropped after about three minutes, and especially in the diagonal footwork. With this performance, they finished third in the event.
Andrea Chong & Guillaume Gfeller – “Hymne à l’Amour” This music has not been used for ice dance before, so Chong & Gfeller have a wonderful opportunity to make this program their own. They already have a great start -– the choreography is seamless and the elements are well timed to the music. They had great lifts, including a rotational lift right on the peak of the music and a curve lift to close the program. The expression of the program is an area where they can improve, skating with more passion at the end of the piece. They also can work on their basic skating -– their blades were a bit scratchy throughout the dance. Overall, this is a lovely program, and with it, they jumped over Lamoreux & Mee, whom they had finished behind last year at the Canadian Championships.
Sarah Lysne & Michael Olson – “Fleur de Mals” by Sarah Brightman Lysne & Olson are a new team, and Lysne is moving up from the junior level. They are not yet secure in their elements, and lost points for quite a few mistakes, including Olson finishing his twizzles early, some stumbles in their circular footwork, and a dramatic loss of speed on the spin. Their curve lift with a change of position was quite nice, as was their final straightline lift with a catchfoot position.
Jane Summersett & Todd Gilles – “La Strada” Tom Dickson choreography made this dance one of the best of the event, and Summersett & Gilles arrived at Lake Placid with the goal of winning. With this performance, they stated their case to get the Skate America assignment, and they look ready. Aside from a mistake by Summersett in the footwork and a shaky twizzle sequence, they skated very well. One of the most impressive elements is a new lift with so many dramatic changes of position that it has to be seen to be believed. In general, the program works so well for them –- they are a team that excels at comedic timing on the ice.
Megan Wilson & Marcus Connelly – “Since I’ve Been Loving You” Wilson & Connelly closed the event with a bluesy dance. Connelly is jumping from novice to senior for this new partnership, and Wilson looks much stronger with him than she has appeared in the past with other partners. Despite some mistakes–including a loss of unison on the twizzles–the team showed promise, and the opening rotational lift was good. Their arms were flailing a bit too much, and they need to work on polishing the program and skating with more emotion, but they should be pleased with their first competition together.