by Anne Calder | Photo by Daphne Backman (from 2016 LPIDC)

The second 2016 Junior Grand Prix event was held August 31-September 3 in Ostrava, Czech Republic. After the withdrawal of Abdedou & Antunes (FRA), 14 ice dance teams participated. The roster included the current Junior World Champions, Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter (USA) and five teams making their Series debut.

Short Dance

Two sequences of blues plus swing or hip-hop are the required rhythms. In Ostrava, three of the top five teams danced hip hop. Last week at St. Gervais, the top five teams chose swing.

The 2015 JGPF Champions, Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter (USA) showed poise and confidence as they stood 11-points atop the leader board. Their music selections included: “Vanguaridan” by Steed Lord, “The Power” by District 78 and “Gaia” by Claude and Jean-Marc Challe. The program opened and closed with solid technical elements executed to the hip-hop rhythm and earned high GOE marks. Dressed in black studded costumes, their deep knee bends and strong edges received levels 4 and 3 for the blues rhythm sequences. The fifth year JGP competitors earned a 66.60 personal best score.

Nicole Kuzmich & Alexandr Sinicyn (CZE) beat their St. Gervais fourth place score with another personal best 55.59. The home country favorites skated both blues and swing from the Robbie Williams album, Swings Both Ways. The team, who trains in Ontario, Canada with Carol and John Lane, is in their third JGP season and their final year of JGP eligiblity.

The young rookie team, Arina Ushakova & Maxim Nekrasov (RUS) was third with 53.46 points. They received a 1.00 deduction for an extended rotational lift. They danced “Natural Blues” by Paolo Nutini and hip-hop to “Let Me Clear My Throat” by DJ Kool. The team trains in Odintsovo, Russia with Alexei Gorshkov.

Three-time JGP competitors Hannah Whitley & Elliot Graham (CAN) chose “Born to Die” by Lana DelRey and Justin Parker for the blues and “Roses” by Elizabeth Mencel and Chainsmokers for their hip hop selection. Unfortunately, their level 2 pattern sections earned no additional GOE points. However, on a high note, the Barrie, Ontario trained team beat their previous personal best SD score by almost five points with a 50.39.

Evgeniia Lopareva & Alexey Karpushov (RUS) danced blues and swing to “The Here and After” by Jun Miyake and “Forces, Darling” by Koop. The team earned a 49.82 score with a 1.00 deduction for a fall taken when she caught her left heel at the end of the step sequence. Ekatarina Rubleva and Ivan Shefer coach the team in Moscow.

The sixth place team, Chloe Lewis & Logan Bye (USA) received the same score, but the Russians’ higher technical mark broke the tie. Lewis & Bye’s received the third highest program components score, but mistakes on the twizzles and a slip on their second blues sequence resulted in a lower than expected technical score.

Free Dance

McNamara & Carpenter (USA) dominated the event with a strong and mature dance accompanied by David Garrett’s scintillating violin to AC/DC’s “Thunder Struck”, Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters”, and his own “Rock Prelude” The rock music created a choreography far different from the character-based free dances we are accustomed to seeing. The two-time US National Champions used the frenetic rise and fall of the rhythms to accent their technical elements and received a 92.70 segment score. The total (159.30) earned them a fifth JGP gold medal. The team next competes in Slovenia at the Ljubljana Cup September 21–24.

Kuzmich & Sinicyn (CZE) earned a personal best 87.10 for an animated dance to selections by Charlie Chaplin. Their technical mark was only .03 less than the winners; the higher base value of their combination spin (level 4) was an additional 2.00. The silver medalist’s 142.69 personal best total score was eight points higher than at St. Gervais. Sinicyn’s steady straight-line lift on one foot while waving in character received a loud applause from the home country audience.

In their first JGP competition, Ushakova & Nekrasov (RUS) danced away with the bronze medal to the music of “The Gypsies of Nagyida” by Hungarian composer Imre Czomba. The youngsters (14, 15) showed unique moves and skills including their backward hop entry into the twizzles and Nekrasov’s high camel leg position in the combination spin. They earned 83.64 points for the program and a 136.10 total.

Lopareva & Karpushov (RUS) were fourth in the free dance to “Foley Room” and “Bloodstone” by Brazilian electronic musician Amon Tobin. The twizzles and lifts earned level 4. The 77.40 program score plus their fifth place SD finish gave them a total 127.22 – enough to move up to fourth place in the final standings.

Whitley & Graham (CAN) chose selections from Slumdog Millionaire and Ashiqui soundtracks for their sixth place free dance. The twizzles, lifts and spin received level 4 and the diagonal and circular step sequences level 3. Their program 75.88 and total 126.27 were both personal best scores and put them in fifth place over all. The third year JGP dancers next compete in Estonia at the Tallinn Cup September 28-October 2.

Lewis & Bye (USA) finished fifth in the free dance, but were unable to move up in the standings (126.18). 

A CONVERSATION WITH THE WINNERS

In a post event interview with ISU commentator Ted Barton, Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter shared their thoughts about this season’s goals. “We want to nail that first impression. We’re working on power and flow so the minute we step out, everyone knows we are there.”

Their message was telegraphed loud and clear with their first 2016 JGP appearance and gold medal.