Loboda & Drozd win in Linz; clinch JGP Final spot

by Anne Calder

Linz, Austria was the fourth city to host the 2015 ISU Junior Grand Prix event. 20 ice dance teams representing 16 different countries competed. 

The Danube River flows through the heart of Linz and the “Blue Danube” waltz composed by Johann Strauss is sentimentally considered the unofficial Austrian anthem. The required Starlight Waltz pattern was a natural fit for the country with such a rich history of the ballroom dance.

Alla Loboda & Pavel Drozd (RUS) used a Chopin Russian Battle March to earn a personal best 61.73 score. Just as in Bratislava, they received level 4 for both their patterns – the only team to achieve that distinction this season.

Julia Biechler & Damian Dodge (USA) skated a foxtrot and waltz to “Down Home Blues” by The Jumpin’ Joz Band and “Close Your Eyes” by Meghan Trainor. Dodge skated on in spite of what appeared to be a loose bootlace. The team topped their Bratislava JGP score by over eight points with a personal best 59.59 score.

“Julia and I felt extremely relaxed going in to the short. We’ve focused a lot of our training in the last few weeks on trying to build on our technical score and felt that we were rewarded for doing so,” commented Dodge.

Marie-Jade Lauriault & Romain Le Gac (FRA) train in Montreal, Canada with Romain Haguenauer. In their JGP debut, they skated to waltz and polka selections played by Dutch violist, Andre Rieu. Their technical mark (TES) was the highest of the short dance event and the segment score was 59.50 – .09 behind second place.

Elliana Pogrebinsky & Alex Benoit (USA) earned the highest step sequence mark for the short dance – 8.99 and a level 3 and 4 in the required pattern, but an unfortunate twizzle stumble lost them valuable points. Their performance to Evgeni Doga’s “My Sweet and Tender Beast” put them in fourth place with a personal best 58.56 score.

Sofia Evdokimova & Egor Bazin (RUS) earned fifth place with a Polish polka medley by Dmitri Shostakovich.  Their personal best 56.55 was 2.26 points better than their Riga Cup JGP score. The team is competing in its fourth JGP season.



Alla Loboda & Pavel Drozd (RUS) won the gold medal and a ticket to Barcelona with a total 28 JGP placements points. The Moscow based team skated a Paganini-themed program that scored a personal best 91.91, seven points more than the next team. Their lifts, twizzles and spin were level 4.

Marie-Jade Lauriault & Romain Le Gac (FRA) moved up a notch and claimed the silver medal. Their Beatles’ medley free dance scored a personal best 84.85 points: the twizzles, lifts, and spin were level 4.  The team next skates at the JGP in Spain.

Julia Biechler & Damian Dodge (USA) won their first JGP medal with a third place skate to “Nocturne” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” performed by American violinist, Lucia Micarelli. The Pennsylvania-based team displayed power, but with a soft and seamless sensitivity in their performance that earned a personal best 82.73. Their total score was over 13 points higher than at the Bratislava JGP.

Elliana Pogrebinsky & Alex Benoit (USA) remained in fourth place with a personal best 81.55 score. Their Romeo and Juliet program combined powerful orchestral selections from the film soundtrack with a light and lyrical vocal from the French musical by the same name. Their Biellmann straight-line lift and twizzles were level 4.  The team next competes at the JGP in Spain.

Sofia Evdokimova & Egor Bazin (RUS) also used Romeo and Juliet for their free dance program. The music fused powerful selections from the London Sessions Orchestra and the Metro Voices arranged by Craig Armstrong and Nellee Hooper. Their unique curve lift was a highlight.  The team scored a personal best 137.60 – five points higher than at the Riga Cup.

The next JGP competition will be held in Torun, Poland, September 23–27.