by Melanie Hoyt
It’s been a busy week for me, so it isn’t until I arrive, twenty minutes before the junior compulsory, that I think to ask which dance we’ll be seeing. I’m delighted to find out that it’s the Cha Cha Congelado – one of my favourites! Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that I know what any of the parts are called, so excuse my awkward descriptions.
Madison Hubbell and Keiffer Hubbell made a convincing claim that they are ready to compete with a victory in the compulsory dance. I thought that the second pattern was better than the first, when they really settled into the dance. They had some nice accents, including fancy arms on the back-to-back part.
Only .66 behind them are Piper Gilles and Timothy McKernan. I actually thought that their dance was a bit stronger than that of the Hubbells, but I agree that it was very close. They had the biggest expression of all of the teams, and he is not overshadowed by her. Their second pattern was a bit scratchier than their first, but overall, they had smooth edges and crisp steps. Their performance was a lot of fun!
There is a bit of a gap between second and third place, where Shannon Wingle and Ryan Devereaux are ranked. They had lovely quiet edges, even on the “cha-cha-cha” parts. Their second pattern was also a bit scratchier than their first, but I liked her nice, relaxed free arm. Their ending (after the pattern ended) crashed a little bit, but I don’t think that matters.
In fourth place are Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani. Unfortunately, Alex has grown quite a bit, and the height difference between them is emphasized by the space between their hips. Their steps were crisp and quiet, but they just look so small, especially skating right after the Hubbells, who have grown into such a tall team. I think that they will make up some ground in the original and free dances, though, so I’m not worried. And they’re absolutely adorable!
Rachel Dickinson and Kurt Lingenfelter, in fifth, had a solid dance without major errors, but she looked terrified. I think he wins a supportive partner award, though – as they skated past me to take their bows, I could hear him encouraging her already.
Kaitlin Miller and Jason Deveikis, first to skate, are in sixth. They had some definite scratch to their edges, and they could stand to be sharper with their steps, but they kept up their expression throughout the dance.