by Anne Calder

The fifth event in the ISU Grand Prix Series was held in Moscow, Russia November 20-22. Eight ice dance teams from five countries competed for prize money and qualifying points for the Grand Prix Final. (GPF)

SHORT DANCE

Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje (CAN) danced into first place to the light and lyrical tones of the “Danube Waltz” and “Annenpolka’.

The judges rewarded their intricate footwork with a GOE 2.20 mark and 9.30 points. The second pattern dance and twizzles earned level 4.  The score was 69.49.

Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte (ITA) placed second with their performance to selections from The Merry Widow operetta by Franz Lehar. The story of lost love found again opens with level 4 twizzles and closes with a level 4 rotational lift. The dance patterns earned levels 2 and 4.  The waltz and foxtrot program received a season best 67.82 score.

The 2014 World Champions worked with Maurizio Margaglio on the required Ravensburger Waltz. Margaglio and partner, Barbara Fusar-Poli (ITA) won the Ravensburger Waltz compulsory at the 2006 Olympics.

Victoria Sinitsina & Nikita Katsalapov (RUS) were third with a waltz, march, and polka to Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake”. The balletic program opened with two level 3 Ravensburger Waltz patterns. The level 4 twizzles unfortunately earned negative GOE judge marks and lost base value points.  The program scored 63.63.

Sinitsina & Katsalapov formed a new partnership after the 2014 Olympics. The team moved to the US to train with Marina Zoueva in Canton, Michigan.

Charlene Guignard & Marco Fabbri (ITA) were fourth (60.58). Ksenia Monko & Kirill Khaliavin (RUS) were fifth (59.03). Elena Ilinykh & Ruslan Zhiganshin (RUS) were sixth (54.46). Rebeka Kim & Kirill Minov (KOR) (51.83) and Victoria Kavaliova & Yuri Bieliaiev (BLR) (41.60) finished seventh and eighth.

FREE DANCE

Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje (CAN) won gold with a dramatic presentation to the vocal “On the Nature of Daylight” and the haunting instrumental “Run”. The judges rewarded their sharp level 3 footwork with GOE +2 and +3 marks. The twizzles and two lifts earned level 4.  The free dance scored 104.09. The total score was 173.58

Like a captain steering his ship, Weaver & Poje softly, but with strength, guided each element to accent the beat of the music. The reigning Four Continents Champions’ connection with one another produced an easy flow and seamless performance.

Weaver commented at the press conference,“The free could have been a bit stronger in some places, but it’s still early in the season.”

Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte (ITA) won silver with a perky, lighthearted routine to the soundtrack of Fellini’s La Dolce Vita that showed off their flirty personalities and best style of skating.

The program opened with level 4 twizzles followed by a spectacular straight-line lift with Lanotte holding Cappollini high in the air by one foot. The level 3 circular and diagonal step sequences were right on the beat of the music and earned mostly +2 and +3 GOE marks from the judges.

The 2014 World Champions earned 103.79 points – 3 points lower than the Cup of China free dance. The total score was 171.61.

“We lost a few points in this competition. Our plan for the GPF is to get feedback and go home and work on it,” Lanotte told the press.

Victoria Sinitsina & Nikita Katsalapov (RUS) skated a soft and elegant performance to Andrea Bocelli’s “lo Ci Saro” and won the bronze medal. The team earned the highest TES in the free dance – 51.90. Five elements were level 4. The three difficult lifts were rewarded with all +2 and +3 GOE marks. The level 3 circular step sequence earned a 9.30 panel score.

The Russian team received a personal best 103.77 score – 4.5 points higher than Skate America. The total score was 167.40.

After a challenging 2014-15, Sinitsina & Katsalapov have begun to hit their stride.

“We are happy we skated clean again, and that we improved our score,” Katsalapov commented.

Elena Ilinykh & Ruslan Zhiganshin (RUS) were fourth in the free dance with music to the Frida soundtrack by Elliot Goldenthal. The spin, lifts and twizzles earned level 4, while the footwork was level 3. The free dance score was 98.55.  The unfortunate mistake and loss of points in the short dance kept them in fifth place over all with a 153.01 total score.

Ilinykh skated without the flowers in her hair after receiving a costume deduction at Cup of China when the piece fell on the ice during the performance.

Charlene Guignard & Marco Fabbri (ITA) were fifth in the free dance with a deeply moving program to Schindler’s List. The twizzles and lifts earned level 4. The team had all positive GOE marks (one zero) and scored 92.96. They remained in fourth place over all with 153.54.

In addition to the somber musical tones, Guignard continued the dramatic theme of the Holocaust victim by wearing a drab grey dress, a kerchief, and the absence of make-up.

The team chose Schindler’s List because of the stories both their grandparents had shared about the fears and sufferings of living in France and Italy during World War II.

Rebeka Kim & Kirill Minov (KOR) were sixth (83.12) (T.134.95) and Viktoria Kavaliova & Yuri Bieliaiev (BLR) were seventh (68.72) (T. 110.32).

Ksenia Monko & Kirill Khaliavin (RUS) withdrew due to injury.

The top four teams all received a -1.00 for extended lifts.

Weaver & Poje (30 points) and Cappellini & Lanotte (28 points) qualified for the Grand Prix Final.