Observer 2018-19

Ice Dance Observer: August 14, 2018

And we’re back!

Last season, Team IDC started posting previews, recaps and news tidbits as part of a new weekly feature – the Ice Dance Observer.  After receiving positive feedback from our visitors and fans, we’ve decided to continue with the format this season.  Welcome back to the Ice Dance Observer for the 2018/19 season!

This week, we bring you up-to-date on off-season changes and more!

Getting up to speed with off-season updates

by Anne Calder

Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron of France won their third World ice dance gold medal four and a half months ago and closed the door on the 2017-2018 skating season.

During the summer, our discipline has seen many changes.  These are just a few.

For over a decade, Anjelika Krylova and Pasquale Camerlengo were the faces of ice dance at the Detroit Skating Club in Bloomfield, Michigan. Recently Krylova headed back to her native Russia to coach, while Camerlengo moved 26 miles southwest and teamed up with Igor Shpilband in Novi.

Greg Zuerlein, 2009 World Junior Champion with Madison Chock, has changed his zip code from Novi, Michigan, where he had coached for several years, to the Wheaton Ice Skating Academy (WISA) in Maryland.

Meanwhile, the strong Canadian winds of success have beckoned several teams north of the border to the Gadbois Centre and the tutelage of Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon, Romain Haguenauer and company.

Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker moved to Montreal in the spring, followed by Madison Chock & Evan Bates a month or so later. Post-Worlds, Chock underwent ankle surgery and has been recovering off-ice. Misato Komatsubara & Tim Koleto, the husband and wife team that represents Japan, left Italy to also train at Gadbois. Chinese dancers Shiyue Wang & Xinyu Liu are the newest residents.

Not all the changes have involved moves.

Three senior teams who competed at the 2018 U.S. National Championships have parted ways. Elliana Pogrebinsky & Alex Benoit called it quits when Benoit chose to pursue a career in theater. Julia Biechler opted to focus on singles after her partnership with Damian Dodge ended. Alexandra Aldridge & Daniel Eaton again chose to go in separate directions.

Yura Min & Alexander Gamelin of South Korea have ended their partnership, as have the Armenian team, Tina Garabedian & Simon Proulx Senecal. Kavita Lorenz of Germany retired, but partner Joti Polozoukis is searching for a new partner. Rumors swirl that a few other teams are no longer together, but no official announcements have been made.

Last week, news that Kana Muramoto & Chris Reed had ended their partnership sent social media in a tailspin. The duo was hoping to crack the top ten at Worlds in their homeland at Saitama, Japan. They have chosen instead to move in different directions.

Maia & Alex Shibutani are on sabbatical for the year. Italy’s Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte, Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev, and Penny Coomes & Nicholas Buckland of Great Britain aren’t competing in the Grand Prix and haven’t yet committed to the rest of the current season.

Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje, who are also skipping the Grand Prix, will return in January to Canadian Nationals. The duo will be performing in the “Thank You Canada Tour” which begins in October. The show is a special treat for the small towns not reached by the larger productions.

Laurence Fournier Beaudry & Nikolaj Sorensen, who previously represented Denmark are now skating for Canada. They must sit out a year from their last ISU competition, which was the 2018 European Championships. They will be eligible for the 2019 Four Continents in February, should they qualify.

Summer training and choreography visits introduced new cultural opportunities.

Tiffany Zagorski & Jonathan Guerreiro of Russia combined fun and work this summer in Colorado Springs while collaborating with Christopher Dean for their choreography. Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje tapped into the expertise of Pasquale Camerlengo and Igor Shpilband for new programs. Germany’s Katharina Muller & Tim Dieck spent time this summer training in Odintsovo, Russia.

In June, the 57th Ordinary ISU Congress was held at Seville, Spain. Several technical changes were approved that have made far-reaching changes in ice dance. The choreography and protocols will reflect those adjustments this season. This topic will be discussed more as the season progresses.

At the U.S. Figure Skating Governing Council in May, delegates elected a new President (Anne Cammett) and approved more than 70 rule changes.  One such change included recommendations from the Competition Task Force, which was established in June 2017 by outgoing U.S. Figure Skating President Sam Auxier.  The proposal outlined significant changes to the qualifying competition structure as well as the elimination of juvenile, intermediate and novice from the annual U.S. Figure Skating Championships beginning in the 2019-20 season. Instead, competitors at these levels will vie to be part of a reimagined pipeline that includes national high performance development team camp (NHPDT) as well as support and education for coaches and parents and potential assignment opportunities.  Team IDC will review the proposal at greater length in a future piece.

Already, history was made at the first Challenger Series event of the new Olympic cycle. Bangkok, Thailand hosted the 2018 Asian Open Figure Skating Trophy from August 4-5 – a first for Asia. In addition, Yong Myong Phyo & Min Choe were the first North Korean ice dancers to compete at an ISU sponsored competition.

Final Tributes:  A time for reflection

by Anne Calder

Denis Ten, Kazakhstan’s gift to the world of figure skating, was taken from us too soon. As we mourn his tragic passing, we also celebrate his life and the joy he brought to all he touched with his beautiful and artistic skating. Our favorite memories are locked in our hearts and will be played over and over again. He will be greatly missed.

We also lost skating journalist Alexandra Stevenson who was born in Scotland, but raised in England before moving to NYC. In 1968, Sandra (as she was known to us) she covered her first World Championships as a freelance writer and then attended every British, European, World and Olympic Championship until 2014. Sandra loved writing about British skating, especially during the glory years of John Curry, Robin Cousins and Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean. She passed away in July 2018. Rest in peace, Sandra.

Ice Network closed down in late June. The stats, videos, and informative articles will be missed. Many thanks to all the journalists and technicians who contributed to the website.  

In non-dance news, Coach Frank Carroll retired at the age of 80. He began his skating career as a youngster growing up in Worcester, Massachusetts. His journey took him from competitor to entertainer to coach of Olympians. His peers have recognized him as a dedicated teacher with numerous awards. The list of his students is too long, and most of us can quickly rattle off the heavy-hitters. Enjoy your free time, Frank! You have earned it!


Asian Trophy Gets ISU Challenger Series Started

The ISU Challenger Series started nearly a month early this year with the 2018 Asian Open Figure Skating Trophy in Bangkok, Thailand.  Six teams competed, including Yong Myong Phyo and Min Choe, the first ice dance team to represent the Peoples Republic of Korea.  

China’s Shiyue Wang & Xinyu Liu set a new season’s best of 160.54 and won their first Challenger Series gold medal.  Rachel Parsons & Michael Parsons of the United States won their second consecutive silver medal (in as many weeks) after starting their season at the Lake Placid Ice Dance International.  Misato Komatsubara & Tim Koleto of Japan claimed bronze, their first international medal of any color.

Additional results and protocols are linked at the right.

Until next time,

Team IDC