by Anne Calder | Photo by Daphne Backman

Thirty ice dance teams representing 24 ISU countries competed in the short dance at the 2016 World Figure Skating Championships in Boston, Massachusetts USA on March 29.  The teams with the top w0 scores qualified for the Free Program to be held Thursday, March 30.

Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) danced into first place with a seamlessly elegant waltz from the W.E. film soundtrack and a Hugo Chouinard march.  The program earned level 4 for the five elements and a 76.29 score.

The Montreal-based team made some adjustments to their program after placing second in the short dance at the European Championships.

Cizeron explained, “We changed the march a little and the end of the waltz to make it more of a crescendo and more interesting for the audience. We have been working a lot on technique, but also a lot on interpretation.  I think that all of these changes paid off today.”

The dancers also added new Cizeron-designed costumes.

Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani (USA) placed second with their unique interpretation of the comic opera, Coppélia. The program earned level 4 for the spin, twizzles, lift and both Ravensburger Waltz patterns. The 74.70 score was a personal best.

The siblings reflected on performing their short dance for the last time in the city where Alex was born.

“It was our strongest performance of the season,” Maia commented.  “We love our short dance this year, to end it like this is special.”

“I haven’t been particularly secretive about my connection to the city [Boston],” Alex andded.  “It has a lot of strength and character, which is one of the things we have tried to develop in our career.  Today was a really special moment for us being here.”

Madison Chock & Evan Bates (USA) were third with a foxtrot to “More” by Andrea Bocelli and waltz to “Unchained Melody” by Il Divo that scored a season best 72.46 score.  The footwork, lift, and first Ravensburger Waltz pattern were level 4. The twizzles and second waltz pattern received level 3.  

“The performance itself felt good; we enjoyed ourselves and the home crowd,” Bates said.  “It was great to accomplish the season best.  It’s been a long and bittersweet season for us. I made a mistake on my second twizzle in the sequence, which cost us a level, so I’m a bit disappointed in myself for that, but it could have been worse.”

Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje (CAN) danced the waltz and polka to classic selections by Johann Strauss, including “The Blue Danube Waltz” and ranked fourth with a 71.83 score. The 2015 bronze World Medalists evaluated their results.

“It’s not the position we wanted to be in, absolutely not, but we’re fighters, and it isn’t over until it’s over,” Weaver said. 

“We wanted to finish in a different place, but we’re happy with the way we skated,” Poje added.

Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier (CAN) waltzed and marched off the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover to musical selections by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The program earned level 4 for all five elements – a first – and a personal best 70.70 score. They placed fifth.

The Toronto-based team explained recent changes made to their program.  

“We wanted a waltz that was a little bit softer, so we could really show off the work on the key points – make them less spikey, which is why we were losing points earlier in the season,” Poirier said.  “We took out some turn to make it more obvious where we were trying to get the levels.  I think it paid off.”

Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte (ITA) danced a waltz and polka to The Merry Widow operetta by Franz Lehar. The twizzles, lift and first Ravensburger Waltz earned level 4; the footwork and second waltz pattern received level 2. The program received a 70.65 score and placed sixth.

“I was disappointed mostly because I did a little mistake and that cost us a few points which would have put us more where we expected to be, but it’s a competition; it happens, so roll on to the next time,” Cappellini commented. 

The ice dance event at the World Championships concludes with the free dance on Thursday evening, starting at 7:30 p.m. local time.