by Melanie Hoyt

After winning the compulsory dance at the 2008 BMO Skate Canada Senior Challenge, Siobhan Karam and Kevin O’Keefe also won the original dance on Friday evening.  Their program, set to music from “Lord of the Dance” was energetic and confident.  Karam made an error on the twizzles in the midline sequence, which cost them two levels and a few points, but their level four lifts and quick dance spin made up the difference.  Karam and O’Keefe are a new team, but have really gelled in their time together.

“It was really strong for us,” Karam said of their performance.  “We had one little mistake on the twizzles, but besides that, all the elements were good.”

Second in the original dance, but remaining fourth overall, are Lauren Senft and Augie Hill.  Senft and Hill, also a new team, train in Canton, Mich. with Karam and O’Keefe.  Their Appalachian-themed program was performed with caution, but without mistakes.  Their midline sequence was even more hesitant than the rest of the program, but the steps were difficult.

Mylène Girard and Liam Dougherty were third in the original dance, but are hanging on to second position overall.  Their flamenco dance was a perfect vehicle to showcase Dougherty’s passion on the ice, but Girard did not quite match his intensity.  They lost unison on their midline sequence and seemed to move slowly throughout the dance.  However, there were great highlights in their choreography, including an impressive curve lift where she stands on his thighs.

The fourth-place finishers in the original dance were Mylène Lamoreux and Michael Mee. They are currently in third place, heading into the free dance.  Their Irish-themed dance had a lovely, smooth first half, but I wanted to see more energy in their feet and arms when the music picks up for the second half.  Lamoreux, especially, has exuberant facial expression, but it does not seem to carry through to the actual steps.  Besides a mistake in the midline, where she did one less twizzle than him, it was a well-executed dance.

A notable highlight of the original dance as a whole was the absence of typical Russian folk!  From Spanish roots to Highland Flings, this field was full of originality, which made for an enjoyable event.