Junior Short Dance Report

Just when you think you know what’s going to happen in ice dance–or what will probably happen–the new short dance laughs in your face.

Joylyn Yang & Jean-Luc Baker, the 2010 novice bronze medalists, edged out Charlotte Lichtman and Dean Copely to take first in the short dance phase. As the only team to qualify for the 2010 Junior Grand Prix Final, Lichtman & Copely were pre-event favorites to take the junior title. The 15- and 17-year olds from Seattle had something to say about that.

Skating to “Chudat Medoni (My Favorite Things)” by Oleg Fesov, Yang & Baker opened with their non-touching midline sequence that was rated a level 3 and earned a rare +3 from one judge. After their level 4 twizzles, Yang & Baker flowed effortlessly through their Viennese Waltz receiving level 3 and 4–the only level 4 awarded for a Viennese pattern and one of only seven 3s. The program wrapped up with a level 4 rotational lift and their optional lift. They received only two -1 GOEs out of the 45 given.

“We wanted a different style than we thought everyone else might have,“ Yang said. “Our coach found this piece and we loved it and got attached to it quick.”

Baker added, “Sometimes it may not be the right thing, but it’s what we like to do and it works for us.”

Charlotte Lichtman & Dean Copely skated a confident performance to “That’s Amore” and “An Evening in Rome” by Dean Martin to finish second overall. They received level 3 for both Viennese Waltz patterns. Their twizzles were graded level 4 and received all positive GOEs, including four +2s. Although their Program Component Scores were higher than Yang & Baker’s, Lichtman & Copely’s total 55.23 was not enough for top spot.

Just under three points back with 52.39 are Lauri Bonacorsi & Travis Mager, the 2009 U.S. novice champions, who performed to “My Sweet and Tender Beast.” Bonacorsi & Mager had the highest PCS (24.16) of the day and netted all positive GOE on their elements. Both patterns of their Viennese were called only level 2 and their midline and twizzles level 3.

“We felt really good,” Bonacorsi said. “We had a coaching change this season, so we got a late start. We’re happy to be working with Natalia (Linichuk)… We feel we’ve come huge lengths since we started this season.”

Anastasia Cannuscio & Colin McManus attacked their program to “This is a Man’s World” which was highlighted by mirror twizzles and a solid drape rotational lift. When the scores were posted, a computer glitch originally scored Cannuscio & McManus 18.22 for their TES, causing more than a few stunned reactions. Expecting around 30 points, everyone was left guessing what happened to the missing points. Upon review of their scoring breakdown, they saw elements that they did not perform–this year. It appeared as though last year’s original dance elements were plugged in rather than the short dance ones. Once the error was corrected, Cannuscio & McManus’ TES improved to 29.94. Now the duo stood in fourth place, just .14 out of third.

In fifth with 51.91 are the 2010 novice champs, Alexandra Aldridge & Daniel Eaton. One of the tallest teams on the ice, they have a mature look which translated well to their music, “Falling in Love with Love” by Geoff Love and “Let’s Face the Music” by Nat King Cole. Their level 3 twizzles had excellent speed and received six +2 and three +1 GOEs. After both patterns of the Viennese were called level 2, Aldridge & Eaton finished with a level 4 rotational lift and a wonderful level 3 midline sequence that earned 1.71 in GOE.

Anastasia Olson & Jordan Cowan had one of their best skates to date to “You Don’t Know Me” and “Down with Love” by Michael Buble and even earned a +3 on their opening level 4 straightline lift, yet they stand in sixth place with 48.20. Their Viennese patterns were given levels 2 and 1 which held back their score from being up with the top 5. They had great expression and polish, and it was unfortunate that their PCS didn’t seem to reflect this.

Madeline Heritage & Nathaniel Fast are in seventh with 44.26. Skating to “Mr. Bojangles” by Jerry Jeff Walker and “Things” by Robbie Williams, they showed a strong improvement since they made their season debut at LPIDC and gave an elegant performance Both Viennese sequences were rated level 2 and they received level four on their rotational lift.

Skating first and faced with an extensive delay while computer issues were (supposedly) dealt with, Danielle Gamelin & Alexander Gamelin scored 43.95. In true twin fashion, they took turns with their costly errors on the opening twizzles: Danielle stepped out of the first set and Alex stepped out of the second. The element was graded level 2 and the team received -2 GOEs from all judges. They came back with one of the elusive level 3s on their Viennese (plus a level 2 on the second sequence). The Gamelins had strong finish, earning level 4 on their rotational lift and level 3 on the midline.

The youngest competitors in the field, Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter, are in ninth after their performance to “Russian Waltz” and “La Morocha” earned them 39.80. They were one of only two teams to start their program with the Viennese Waltz step sequences, rated levels 2/1. Their level one midline with negative GOE hurt, but they did get their twizzles called level 3 and their final rotational lift level 4. At only 11- and 13-years-old, they didn’t have the maturity of the other teams and placed 12th in PCS.

In 10th with 39.51 are Heather Buckner & Nicholas Taylor, who are competing in their first season as juniors. Skating to “Clef Club #2” and “Waltz for Evelyn” from Ragtime, their speed was not as fast as teams who finished ahead of them, but they had nice expression. They received level 2/3 on their Viennese Waltz segments and level 4 on their final rotational lift.

Natalie Wojton & Michael Soyfer skated to “The Only Exception” by Josh Farro and “Heartbroken” by Meaghan Smith. The team had great expression through out their performance, and each of their movements were polished and finished. They lost points on their twizzles when Soyfer fell out. Wojton & Soyfer are in 11th with 36.85.

With 36.21, Carina Glastris & Kevin Allison finished in 12th. Skating to “Superman” by Thorn Sandi, “Dance with Me” by Debelah Morgan, their program was highlighted by a wonderful flip-up straight line lift which was graded level 4 with .21 GOE.

Jenna Dzierzanowki & Vinny Dispenza are currently in 13th. Dzierzanowki & Dispenza presented their short dance to “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain. They did not receive any marks for their Viennese patterns, but did earn a level 4 for their rotational lift.

Junior ice dance competition concludes Wednesday with the free dance. Fingers crossed that the 2011 elements will be in the computer.

Junior Free Dance Report

The second ice dance medals of the 2011 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships were awarded this afternoon. Charlotte Lichtman & Dean Copely grabbed gold with their Beetlejuice program, winning the free dance with 77.05 points and tallying 132.28 total.

Lichtman & Copely didn’t give their best performance today, the most noticeable error occurring when Copely fell out of the third twizzle. The twizzle sequence was called only a level 3, as were both of their footwork sequences. Their lifts and spin were all level 4 and earned positive GOE. Their TES of 39.57 was second in the field, but their performance of the choreography helped give them the highest PCS, 37.48.

“We felt like we were off to a strong start with the spin,” Dean said. “We were coming around before the circle, I caught my toe and stumbled a little bit and I had to calm myself down and get my feet under me. It was apparent after the twizzles they were not yet under me, so after that I really pulled it together and the rest of the program finished strong.”

“I thought that we got through the little issues we had,” Lichtman added, “but otherwise we were trying to focus on the performance level today, and I think we attacked it pretty well.”

Placing second in the free dance and overall, Lauri Bonacorsi & Travis Mager earned 75.00 today, giving them 127.39 for the silver medal. Skating to music from The Mask soundtrack, Bonacorsi & Mager had a clean outing, receiving no negative GOE. Their level 3 serpentine step sequence earned the most points (7.50). Their diagonal step sequence was called a level 2, but all remaining elements were level 4 and all seven elements netted positive GOE.

“We got a late start on the season,” Bonacorsi said, “so we were really happy with how far we had come, and we just wanted to enjoy it for ourselves. We definitely did that and fought through the whole program, so we were happy.”

“We just had to go out there and do it,” Mager said. “We had good training coming into Nationals, so I’m glad it paid off.”

Anastasia Cannuscio & Colin McManus took home the bronze after placing fourth in both the short and free dances and totaling 122.86. Both of their footwork sequences were called only level 2 and their spin a level 3, but the lifts and their twizzles were level 4. Cannuscio & McManus are known for their exceptional twizzles, and once again it was their highest scoring element (6.29) as their high-speed, weaving, mirror twirls kicked off a strong program to music from Carmen. Out of the 63 GOE marks given out, only two were negative, and their net GOE was positive on every element.

“I thought our free dance went really well. It felt really strong,” Mager said. “We really portrayed the characters that we were trying to get across very well. Once we got past those twizzles, the first element, I knew I was good. If those twizzles go well, I know that the rest of the program is going to go well. I thought we tried to bring home the last little section that we had and just wanted to finish strong to end our dance.”

The only team to break 40 in TES, Anastasia Olson & Jordan Cowan, racked up 40.01 to put them number one in that category. Their 72.92 free dance total was third, pulling them up from sixth after the short dance and earning them a pewter medal with 121.12. Their level 3 diagonal and circular step sequences gave them 15 points, and all the other elements were level 4 with positive GOE. Perhaps skate order played a factor, but
Olson & Cowan ranked only sixth in PCS, despite a great performance. If they hadn’t drawn first to skate in the second flight, their PCS marks may have been more in line with the teams in the last flight.

Just off the podium with 120.64 points, Alexandra Aldridge & Daniel Eaton suffered a disastrous fall between elements that killed any hope of moving up the standings. Aldridge & Eaton are probably the fastest team in the field, flying across the ice with seemingly little push. Their opening level 3 circular step sequence earned 1.14 in GOE. Their twizzles, which have caused much angst in practice run-throughs, were spot on this time, earning the event’s only +3. After the fall, though, the team never regained that early momentum.

Leaders after the short dance, Joylyn Yang & Luc Baker were the last team to take the ice. After their opening level 2 spin, they began their twizzles, but Yang slammed the ice hard in a belly flop that left them without any points for that element and assumedly her out of breath. Although their generous PCS 34.04 kept them with the eventual medalists, 29.86 in TES dropped them to eighth in the free dance and sixth overall with 118.99.

The ice twins, Danielle & Alexander Gamelin finished sixth in the free dance and pulled up to seventh overall with a final score of 108.67. Skating to a Latin medley which included “Smooth” by Rob Thomas and Carlos Santana, the team had solid lifts and good speed throughout and sold the program. Danielle had a small trip after the twizzle, which didn’t appear to affect the element score.

Madeline Heritage & Nathaniel Fast finished ninth in the free dance and eighth overall with a total of 103.24. Their performance to “Come What May” from Moulin Rouge had lovely highlight moves, including a stationary lift where both are low to the ice that received level four and positive GOEs. An unfortunate fall by both skaters at the end of the program caused it to end abruptly, but otherwise this was a good performance, and the influence of working with Pamela O’Connor and Jonathon O’Dougherty has been a good change for the team.

Finishing seventh in the free dance to pull up a spot to eighth overall (102.99), Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter enchanted the audience with their performance to “Smile” and “Salt Lake City Episode.” The team received only three negative GOEs for their performance which also received level four on all elements except their circular step sequence, which was graded level 1.

Tenth in the free dance and overall, Heather Buckner & Nicholas Taylor engaged the audience who clapped along to their Grease-themed program. Skating to “You’re the One that I Want”, “Hopelessly Devoted” and “Greased Lightning, the team received only four -1 GOE, and sold the program well, especially Taylor. The choreography matched the theme of the program and they earned a total of 93.96 points.

Carina Glastris & Kevin Allison finished 12th in both the free and the short dance but 11th overall with 84.02. Skating to music from West Side Story, they received mostly level 1 and 2 on their elements except for their rotational lift that featured Glastris wrapped around Allison and grabbing her blade. This was graded level 4 and received six +1 GOEs.

Finishing in 13th in the free dance, Natalie Wojton & Michael Soyfer skated to music from the Triplets of Belleville. They had good unison on their level 3 twizzles, which received five +1 GOEs. Wojton fell on footwork prior to the spin and the spin was downgraded to level 1 and received eight -2 GOEs. They dropped to 12th overall with a final score of 82.95.

Jenna Dzierzanowki & Vinny Dispenza finished 11th in the free dance and 13th overall with 75.67 points. Performing to “Whatever Lola Wants” and “Tango de Roxanne,” the team displayed the appropriate character and good musicality throughout the dance and had nice control during their spin. They received level 4 on the each of their lifts.