Happy September and welcome back to the Ice Dance Observer!

This was a light week competition-wise and we bring you a recap of the Junior Grand Prix Cup of Austria and a preview of this week’s lone event – JGP Amber Cup in Kaunas, Lithuania.  Even on a slower week, there have been lots of updates here at IDC:

  • Dates for the Russia Cup events as well as Russian National and Junior National competitions are now available and have been added to our event calendar.  We’ve also started adding roster and schedule links to events in our calendar so that information is easier to find.  
  • The profile section has been updated with new program music, coaching changes and event results.  Teams who have ended their partnerships or retired have been moved to the archive.  We post profiles of teams at the junior and senior levels, so If you would like us to add or update your profile, send us your info via our submission form.
  • Solo.ice-dance.com has been updated with this season’s results from midwestern section events in preparation for the final event of the season, the U.S. National Solo Dance Final.

Just a quick reminder that if you are interested in supporting IDC, you can do so via a one-time contribution through our Paypal account ([email protected]) or a recurring monthly donation through our ice-dance.com Patreon page. Through your support, we are moving ice-dance.com to a new webhost this Fall. 

Whether you are able to contribute or not, we appreciate your continued support and value you all as part of our ice-dance.com community.  

Until next time,
Daphne & Team IDC




September 5-8, 2018
Junior Grand Prix Amber Cup
Kaunas, Lithuania


by Anne Calder 

Linz, Austria hosted the second 2018 JGP event – the third time since 2012. The beautiful old city, famous for it’s ‘Linzer Torte’ cake, hugs both shores of the Danube River as it flows from Germany through ten countries before emptying into the Black Sea.

Thirteen teams from 10 countries competed for prize money and points towards qualification for the Final.

The podium included Russia’s Sofia Shevchenko & Igor Eremenko (gold), Marjorie Lajoie & Zachary Lagha of Canada (silver) and Eva Kuts & Dmitri Mikhailov of Russia (bronze).

Canada’s Marjorie Lajoie & Zachary Lagha won the silver medal at Cup of Austria. Photo courtesy of Marjorie Lajoie.

For the second week in a row, Russians danced off with the top prize. Shevchenko & Eremenko had a narrow lead of .31 after the rhythm dance, but stretched the gap to almost five points with a technically strong and innovative performance to electronic and vocal selections. The Moscow-based team scored 94.44 in the free dance; their total was 158.70.

Marjorie Lajoie & Zachary Lagha’s energetic free dance to the Warsaw Concerto could not overtake the Russians. In addition to lower base value points, an unfortunate costly error scored zero for one of their choreographed elements. However, on a positive note, the Canadian National Champions earned the highest component score of the ice dance competition. The Quebec-based team scored 89.84 in the free dance; their total was 153.79.

Eva Kuts & Dmitri Mikhailov were fourth in the free dance to “Every Other Freckle” by indie rock band alt-J, but their RD score was enough to keep them in third place over all. The team scored 84.34 for the free dance and a 142.97 total.

Canadia’s Natalia D’Alessandro & Bruce Waddell’s “Malaguena” and Carmen Suite had the second highest TES (45.84) and the third highest free dance score (84.97). The total was 135.42.

The competitors with the top six points will participate in the JGP Final. Tiebreakers include scores and placements. After the first two JGP events, the highest scores and points are:

  1. 24 – 15 points – Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva & Nikita Nazarov (RUS)
  2. 70 – 15 points – Sofia Shevchenko & Igor Eremenko (RUS)
  3. 79 – 13 points – Marjorie Lajoie & Zachary Lagha (CAN)
  4. 42 – 13 points – Elizaveta Shanaeva & Devid Naryzhnyy (RUS)
  5. 96 – 11 points – Eliana Gropman & Ian Somerville (USA)
  6. 97 – 11 points – Eva Kuts & Dmitri Mikhailov (RUS)

Again this year, Ice-dance.com will be highlighting programs for each event. This week’s selection is the free dance of Natalie D’Alessandro & Bruce Waddell of Canada. All videos are available at the ISU’s Youtube Channel.



Amber Cup in Kaunas, Lithuania, is the third stop on the JGP series.  The roster features 18 teams representing 15 countries.  Teams from Russia have won the previous two Junior Grand Prix events – will they make it three in a row?

In the medal hunt:  Arina Ushakova & Maxim Nekrasov of Russia won the bronze medal at the 2018 World Junior Championships and are favorites for gold in Kaunas. Americans Avonley Nguyen & Vadym Kolesnik finished fifth and sixth in their JGP events last season and have received high marks in each of their pre-season events in the United States.

The event gets underway on Friday with the rhythm dance at 2:30 PM (local time) followed by the free dance on Saturday at 3:45 PM (local time). Kaunas is five hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), which converts to 9:30 AM for the rhythm dance on Friday and 10:45 AM for the free dance on Saturday. All JGP events are livestreamed via the ISU’s JGP Channel.