Free Dance

Disclaimer: This is my first time reviewing an event for ice-dance.com. I am not qualified to report from any other standard than that of any skating parent who has been around long enough to know just enough about what’s happening on the ice to be dangerous. Any attempts at humor are just that, and are meant with the best of intentions. I recognize the endless hours that these kids, their parents and their coaches put into this, and each and every one of them should be commended. 

So let’s go: 

Group A

Heather Buckner/Nicholas Taylor: (“The Mummy”) opened with a nice set of twizzles; he fell out of the second set. They had an interesting combination lift with 3 changes of position and two changes of hold. Cool spiral feature had his leg passing over her head. They had a nice spin, but I’m not sure if the second straight line lift was held long enough in position. She stumbled on a transition. Overall, this was a nice start to the event; they can work on speed and dramatic expression. Score: 34.60. 

Victoria Coulthard/Peter Ahluwalia: fun Bollywood number including “Jai Ho.” Her dress resembles a sari. Nice twizzles — especially the synchronization on the first set. Nice choreography; he looks like he’s having fun. Good musicality on the footwork. Good speed and positions on the spin. They really committed to the program, especially in the second half. They had very good speed and position in the final rotational lift. Overall, a fun, well-skated program. Score 49.19. 

Lorraine McNamara/Quinn Carpenter: I always look forward to what the Wheaton teams will bring, and these guys kicked it off with “Bolero” (yes, THAT one!). Their costumes reflect their choreography and theme well. Really good twizzles, although they lost synchronization on the second set. Footwork had good ice coverage but is still maturing. They had a very strong combination lift, and a very good spin which should get a level 4. They ended with an interesting rotational lift with her flat out over his shoulder, dropping and changing to an attitude position. This program will continue to mature nicely over the season. Score: 49.67. 

Brittany Schmucker/Nick Jesionek: (Sarah Brightman) This newly-formed team was beautifully costumed. Opened with a strong spin; nice positions. Excellent sync on the twizzles, although he fell out a bit. They had a very good rotational lift, but they need to work on gracefully exiting. Step sequence had good edges, but slowed at the end. He had a stumble on a transition. Full split on the straightline lift. She has nice extension. As they become more comfortable with the program, I’m sure they’ll gain even more dramatic expression to go with this music. Nice skate. Score: 39.68.

Lindsey Klein/Brett Mueller: (“Man in the Iron Mask”) Very good opening lift with her in an upside down position. Good balance lift. Twizzles were a bit shaky, but fast. She had an unfortunate fall on a transition and it seems as if it may have thrown the timing off on the step sequence. Their music was also having problems with skipping and fading. She fell a second time, but they finished off with a nice spin. Good for them for hanging in there — hate when the things you do well everyday don’t get a chance to shine in front of others. Score: 31.71.

Kaitlyn Hawayek/Alexander Mineev: (Billy Joel’s “Vienna/Still Rock ‘n Roll to Me”) Fun costuming for a program by the Piano Man! Opened with a circular step sequence that had good ice coverage but may need time to develop more musicality. Excellent twizzles! She had a great shoulder shimmy in their layout straightline lift. You can tell she’s having fun. Good spin, although I think they could have held the second position longer for better GOE (and maybe level?). She had good facial expression in their one-arm rotational lift. Need to work on speed, but a nice outing for this team. Score 39.80.

Danielle Gamelin/Alexander Gamelin: (“Lacryomosa” – Evanescence) nice to see Danielle with her hair down – it looks pretty. They open with a strong combination spin that ends with her in a Biellmann position. Very cool curve lift that has him in a spread eagle, her upside down with her hair brushing the ice. Strong diagonal step sequence. They have a neat feature with her lying horizontal to the ice on his skate. Strong, fast twizzles. Signature spread eagles, hers turned in. Beautifully held straight line balance lift. This program was as good as I hoped it would be. Score: 51.76.

Mackenzie Reid/Adam Munday: (“Hey Pachuco”) Speed from the start. Opened with circular step sequence that showed good, strong edges. Good curve lift with her in a full split, and he in a lunge. Both have very good expression. Excellent straight line lift, him crouched, her fully arched back towards the ice. Strong spin. Lots of good transitions. A fun program with lots of energy; well skated. Score: 51.35. 

Group B

Kelly Olivera/Jordan Hockley: (“All for the Best” – Broadway) First thing I notice is that he has on the best pants in the whole event! Got into character right from the beginning. Great expression. Very edge-y footwork. Strong combination lift, ending in a one arm rotational lift. Energy slowed a bit towards the end. Excellent twizzles. Should get a level 4 with their strong spin. Super fun program, well skated. Score: 48.07.

Jenna Dzieranowski/Vinny Dispenza: (“Nights in White Satin”) Opened with twizzles which were a bit wobbly. Spin positions could be stronger and held longer. Very nice balance lift. Excellent positions on the combination lift. Rotational lift was interesting with her legs wrapped around his waist and her body horizontal to the ice. Looks like a new program with some very bright spots that should continue to improve over time. Score: 35.63.

Morgan Grant/Luke Scala: (Music from “Secret Garden”) Pretty, lyrical music. She goes upside down in their straight line lift. He tried to pick up his foot but didn’t make it. On the twizzles, she touched down after the first one, then they almost collided on the second set. Nice, smooth step sequence; she had good musicality. Combination lift started with him crouched, her in a haircutter, then he changed to a spread eagle. Nice. Good speed on the rotational lift. Small, unfortunate errors impacted the program’s overall flow. Score: 38.12.

Kristina Rexford/Michael Parsons: (“Moonlight Sonata”) Exceptional twizzles which show just how long this team has been together. Good expression by both. Good speed and revs on spin. Change of hold in rotational lift – second position could be stronger. Still some push and pull on the step sequence, but I’m sure it will smooth out with time. Beautiful balance lift with him crouched and her laid back with a nice leg position. Strong performance. Score: 50.62.

Kelsey Barnes/Jonathan Cohn: (“Ave Maria” – New Horizon) I’m guessing there are no gold stones left in Texas since her dress has claimed them all! Gorgeous! Opened with exceptional twizzles. Smooth transitions on combination lift. Nice edges on step sequence, but slowed down part way through. They picked it up again. He touched down on the straight line lift which will impact the level. Good expression. Nice features. Fast rotational lift at the end, but with the music building to a fever pitch, they need to maintain their high energy to the very end. Score: 44.93.

Amy Wang/Isaac Unoy: (“Falling Slowly”) They twizzle in opposite directions – unusual, but cool. Unique entrance into the straightline lift. They fell out of the rotational lift and stumbled after the spin – I think they just got thrown off. They got back on track for the step sequence which had nice musicality. They can work on speed and flow. Good program. Score: 31.37.

Cassandra Jeandell/Damian Dodge: (“Ruled by Secrecy”/”Butterflies and Hurricanes”) Good expression right from the start. Maintained good speed in serpentine step sequence. Rotational lift was a bit wobbly, but had good speed. Strong twizzles; lost some unison on the second set. Nice straight line lift. Picked up energy in the second half of the program. Very nice one arm rotational lift; I especially liked her position. The spin travelled a bit, and lost speed. Overall nice performance. Score: 47.94.

Alexandra Aldridge/Daniel Eaton: (“Man in the Iron Mask”) Great costumes. Opened with nice combination spin; strong positions. Good expression by her in circular step sequence. Awesome level 4/4 combination lift. Twizzles were very good, although slightly off unison. Very good one arm rotational lift and a dramatic ending. Very strong performance from this newly formed team. Their lines are really pretty and their skating skills are strong. Score: 53.12

Hannah Rosinski/Paul Shapiro: (“Parisian Walkways”) Caveat: this team is from our club and I know he is battling an injury; I can’t help but love them. Good speed. Very pretty straightline lift. Nice edges on circular step sequence. She has very good expression and carriage. Nice, fast spin. Good speed on the rotational lift at the end of the program. They lost unison on the twizzles. She has a nice position on the final rotational lift. Very pleasant program to watch. Score: 41.52.

Danvi Pham/Vu Pham: (“Quiaquenita”/”Sikuriadas”) She looks very pretty in a simple red dress. Love this music for them. Nice circular step sequence, but it will probably get even stronger as it matures. Good speed on the combination rotational lift. Very nice twizzles. Very strong spin with good speed and lots of revs. Really good energy and expression throughout program, as I expected. Score: 57.03.