Hello and welcome back to our Ice Dance Observer!  

This week, Anne recaps Junior Grand Prix Bratislava, the first event of the 2018 JGP series.  Team IDC’s Barry Gropman was on-site in Bratislava to photograph the action and photos from the rhythm dance, free dance and awards ceremonies are now available in the gallery.  Anne also takes a look at JGP #2, Cup of Austria, which starts later this week. 

I’m also pleased to announce that IDC’s Solo Ice Dance site ( is nearly ready.  The official launch will take place in a few weeks during the U.S. Solo National Championships (September 14-16). 

Take a look and let me know what you think.  To join the Solo Ice Dance site team or to submit feedback on the site, send me a message via the contact form or by email to [email protected].  I appreciate your help!

Until next time,

Daphne & Team IDC



August 29-September 1
Junior Grand Prix Cup of Austria
Linz, Austria


by Anne Calder

When the alarm sounded last Friday at 2:30 AM Phoenix time, it was a struggle to get out of bed. However, once the familiar voice of Ted Barton was heard on the ISU livestream, it was a quick reminder that the Junior Grand Prix (JGP) ice dance season was starting 6,000 miles away in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Twenty-four hours later the competition ended. Podium medals were awarded and points were allocated toward qualification for the JGP Final.

The top-three positions were the same for both the rhythm and free dance. Russia’s Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva & Nikita Nazarov (160.24) and Elizaveta Shanaeva & Devid Naryzhnyy (152.42) earned the gold and silver respectively, and Eliana Gropman & Ian Somerville of the United States (148.96) won the bronze.

Khudaiberdieva & Nazarov jumped out to a five-point lead in the rhythm dance and never looked back. The second year JGP competitors made up for a slight bobble in the rotational lift exit by outscoring their opponents in almost all the other elements. They padded their lead with a powerful presentation of their free dance to “Human” by Rag’n’Bone Man and “Nemesis” by Benjamin Clementine.

In their JGP debut, Shanaeva & Naryshnyy had a slim .14 lead over the Americans after the rhythm dance and increased their margin with a seamless interpretation of Samson and Dalilah.

In the free dance, Gropman & Somerville displayed maturity with their performance to selections from the French musical, Mozart I’ Opera Rock. Unfortunately, they slipped further behind the #2 Russians with lower component marks.

At their first JGP event, Canada’s Nadia Bashynska & Peter Beaumont (42.75) and Americans Katarina DelCamp & Maxwell Gart (41.89) were fourth and fifth respectively in the free dance technical score (TES) – just behind the medalists.

With the new +5/-5 GOE scoring system this season, the marks have already moved to a higher elevation. Khudaiberdieva & Nazarov earned 160.24 in Bratislava, while the top-ranking total score for the entire 2017 JGP Series, including the Final was 153.61. The highest World Junior Championships score was 155.15 with Anastasia Skoptcova & Kirill Aleshin of Russia, now in seniors, earning both those scores.

In addition to being the first ISU Junior event to use the new GOE scoring system, it was also the first to see the formerly called Short Dance (SD) replaced by the newly coined Rhythm Dance (RD).

All scoring records using the former +3/-3 GOE have been wiped clean, and another list using the new system has been created. Since this is the first ISU junior ice dance event, their scoring records will begin with Bratislava.

Congratulations to all the participants at the first 2018 JGP event for your outstanding performances.

Again this year, will be highlighting programs for each event. This week’s selections include the free dances skated by Nadia Bashynska & Peter Beaumont (CAN) and Katarina DelCamp & Maxwell Gart (USA).  All videos are available at the ISU’s Youtube Channel.




The JGP Series next moves 180 miles west along the famous Danube River to Linz, AUT, which has held two previous JGP events. In 2012 reigning World gold medalists, Gabriella Papakakis & Guillaume Cizeron of France won their second JGP gold medal of the season. Three years ago in 2015, Russia’s Alla Loboda & Pavel Drozd  won the top prize.

Seven of the thirteen competitors will make their JGP debut. For the second event in a row, the roster includes siblings. Corinna Huber & Patrik Huber are the host country’s only team. Sophia Elder & Christopher Elder of the USA are competing in their second JGP year.

In the medal hunt: Sofia Shevchenko & Igor Eremenko of Russia and Canada’s Marjoriie Lajoie & Zachary Lagha each won gold and silver medals at both of their last year’s JGP events, then finished fourth and sixth respectively at the 2017 Final.  

The event gets underway on Thursday with the rhythm dance at 2:00 PM (local time) followed by the free dance on Saturday at 10:30 AM (local time). Linz is six hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), which converts to 8:00 AM for the rhythm dance on Thursday and 4:45 AM for the free dance on Saturday. All JGP events are livestreamed via the ISU’s JGP Channel.