by Anne Calder 

The 47th Pokal der Blauen Schwerter – last of the 2016 JGP events – was hosted by Dresden, Germany, from October 5-8. Fourteen ice dance teams from 11 countries competed. Two qualified for the Final in Marseilles, France.

Short Dance

The USA, Russia, and Canada took the top five spots in the short dance. Four of the five teams earned season best scores.

Rachel Parsons & Michael Parsons (USA) opened and closed their program with upper body hip hop moves to the electronic song, “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody” from The Great Gatsby film performed by Fergie with Goonrock and Q-Tip. Sandwiched in between were their par excellence level 4 blues patterns to “Born to Die” by Lana Del Rey. The matching trousers worn by the siblings further showed off their in sync leg lines that William Tell could have shot an arrow through without touching cloth.

The twizzles and straight-line lift also received level 4. The not touching midline footwork was a level 3 with solid GOE marks totaling 9.12 points. The reigning World silver medalists scored 65.93.

Anastasia Shpilevaya & Grigory Smirnov (RUS) danced to Ella Fitzgerald’s “Air Mail Special” (Club des Belugas remix) for both rhythms. They successfully hit all of the blues key points and secured a level 4. The duo displayed upbeat swing movements beginning with the level 4 lift and throughout the footwork that earned level 3 and all positive GOE marks. The 2016 Youth Olympic Games gold medalists scored a season best 61.00.

Canadians Marjorie Lajoie & Zachary Lagha danced blues and swing to “Shopping Clothes” by the Coasters and “Land of 1000 Dances” from the Forrest Gump soundtrack by Wilson Pickett. Their two blues patterns missed a few key points and received levels 3 and 2, but the twizzles and rotational lift earned level 4. The 2016 Canadian silver medalists scored a season best 57.32.

The young Russian team of Arina Ushakova & Maxim Nekrasov danced to “Natural Blues” and “Let me Clear My Throat”. The team earned level 4 for their twizzles, rotational lift and first blues pattern. Their youthful enthusiasm was evident with her colorful costume and his T-shirt emblazoned with MAX across his back. Their happy facial expressions and her karaoke-like singing during the hip-hop rhythm sent positive vibes to the captivated audience. The Alexei Gorshkov coached team scored a season best 57.13.

Canadians Alicia Fabbri & Claudio Pietrantonio scored a season best 55.35 for their blues and hip hop to “You and Me” featuring Eliza Doolittle. Fabbri, only 13, showed maturity beyond her years. Their technical mark was ranked third in the SD. The twizzles, rotational lift and both patterns earned level 4. The footwork was level 3 with solid GOE marks. The Quebec-trained dancers showed seamless movement and deep edges throughout both rhythms. The season best score was 55.35.

Free Dance

During the free dance, a few teams jumped on an elevator for a ride to the final results. The Russians and Ukrainians went up and the Canadians went down.

Parsons & Parsons won gold with a new and modern “Singing in the Rain” sung by Sophia Sin and edited and arranged by sports music innovator, Alexander Goldstein. Their new choice of music led to a more contemporary choreography and a different look for the siblings. The piano, drumbeats and tinkling of a xylophone plus the sound of falling rain provided the background for a mesmerizing and seamless interpretation of the dance.

The spin, lifts, and twizzles earned level 4; the diagonal and circular footwork received level 3. The team’s TES was higher than their previous event at Yokohama, but the program component score was three points lower. The couple had spent time between competitions working on the closeness of the twizzles, which scored almost 2 GOEs higher. The 2015 JGP Final bronze medalists received a 91.70 segment score and total 153.63, seven points less than Yokohama. They qualified for the Final with the second highest total points.

Russians Anastasia Shpilevaya & Grigory Smirnov chose a snappy, fast-moving dance to “Tarantella Napolitana” for their silver medal performance. Their lifts, spin and twizzles were level 4; the footwork was level 2. The team was docked a -1.00 for their extended rotational lift. However, their smooth transitions and the final innovative choreographic lift were highlights. The free dance scored 87.02; the total was 148.02 and qualified them for the sixth spot at the Final.

The second Russian team of Arina Ushakova & Maxim Nekrasov scored a season best 83.08 to “The Gypsies of Nagyida” by Imre Czomba. The twizzles, spin, and lifts were level 4; the footwork earned level 2. Nekrasov’s solid camel in the spin plus the upside down straight-line lift were highlights. The team scored a total 140.21 and won their second 2016 JGP bronze medal.

Marjorie Lajoie & Zachary Lagha used Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini to score a season best 82.35 and fourth place in the free dance. The twizzles, lifts, and spin were level 4; the circular and diagonal step sequences earned level 3. Their base value of 36.10 tied the gold medalists, but unfortunately, the GOE marks couldn’t hold up their score. Their 139.67 total was a season best. They missed the podium by .54 points.

Maria Golubstova & Kirill Belobrov (UKR) scored 16 points more than last week at the Ljubljana Cup and placed fifth (131.23); Alicia Fabbri & Claudio Pietrantonio (CAN) slipped to seventh in the FD and totaled 126.16 for sixth place overall.

JUNIOR GRAND PRIX FINAL QUALIFIERS

  • (RUS) Alla Loboda & Pavel Drozd – 318.88 points
  • (USA) Rachel Parsons & Michael Parsons – 318.05 points
  • (USA) Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter – 307.92 points
  • (FRA) Angelique Abachkina & Louis Thauron – 300.93 points
  • (USA) Christina Carreira & Anthony Ponomarenko – 305.57 points
  • (RUS) Anastasia Shpilevaya & Grigory Smirnov – 299.52 points