by Anne Calder | Photo by Julia Komarova
Estonia hosted the sixth ISU Junior Grand Prix event September 28-October 1. Sixteen teams representing thirteen countries participated.
In the Short Dance, Russia, France, USA, and Canada held the top six positions. Four of the teams earned personal best scores.
Alla Loboda & Pavel Drozd (RUS) danced into the lead with a “Saint Louis Blues” program that blended the music into both the blues and swing rhythms. It opened with level 4 twizzles and closed with a level 4 not touching circular step sequence that earned 10.33 points. Loboda & Drozd were one of only two teams to choose the circular step instead of the more popular straight-line footwork (midline or diagonal). The lift and first pattern also received level 4. Their 65.54 score was a personal best.
Anastasia Skoptcova & Kirill Aleshin (RUS) were second with their interpretation of “At Last” by Michael Bolton and “Baby” by JYP. The mature presentation executed from opening to final pose was rewarded with a six-point higher score than a week prior at Ljubljana Cup. The twizzles, straight-line lift and first blues pattern earned level 4. The score was a personal best 62.53.
The French team of Julie Wagret & Matthew Couyras danced blues and hip-hop to selections by Otis Redding, Jay Z and DJ Snake. The twizzles and the closing innovative straight-line lift earned level 4. The snappy program received a personal best 52.49 score.
Chloe Lewis & Logan Bye (USA) outperformed their earlier Czech Skate short dance. Both the blues and swing music was by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Unfortunately, the twizzles again were their nemesis with a few negative GOEs. The straight-line lift earned a level 4. The program scored a 51.04.
Canadians Hannah Whitley & Elliott Graham earned a personal best 50.68, followed by France’s Sarah Marine Rouffanche & Geoffrey Brissaud with 50.44 to round out the top six.
The Free Dance had implications for the JGP Final roster. Skoptcova & Aleshin needed a win OR second place and a BIG score to head to Marseilles, France for a second in a row Final appearance.
Loboda & Drozd punched their tickets to a third straight JGP Final with their second victory. French choreographer Benoit Richaud programmed the gold medal performance to “La Malaguena” by Cuban composer Ernest Lecuona. The dance showed off a more modern style instead of the traditional classic Spanish interpretation. The level 4 twizzles, spin, and lifts plus the solid GOE marks earned a 91.47 score and a 157.01 total.
Anastasia Skoptcova & Kirill Aleshin (RUS) won the silver medal with an emotional interpretation of a George Dalaras and Dulce Pontes duet to “O Mar E Tu” (The Sea of You).
The twizzles, combination spin, and lifts earned level 4 with solid GOE marks. Both the footwork sequences received level 2. The program scored 85.92. The 148.45 total places them fifth in the JGP Final rankings.
Americans Chloe Lewis & Logan Bye won their first JGP medal – bronze – with a performance to “Rhapsody in Blue”, “Embraceable You” and “I’ve Got Rhythm”. The duo moved up a notch with Level 4 twizzles, lifts, and combination spin and received a season best 81.09. The 2016 Youth Olympic Games silver medalists scored a total 132.13.
Representing France, Julia Wagret & Matthiew Couyras scored a personal best 74.78 with a Queen medley. The twizzles, lifts, and combination spin earned level 4 and mostly 1 GOE marks. The total 127.27 was also a personal best and four points higher than their fifth place finish at the Cup of Mordovia.
Canadians Hannah Whitley & Elliott Graham earned 74.70 (125.38 total) and remained fifth, followed by France’s Sarah Marine Rouffanche & Geoffrey Brissaud with a close 73.20 (123.64 total) and a sixth place finish.