The first week of the Junior Grand Prix is in the books, and Canada already has a medal! Great news for my adopted “home” team. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the series turns out. The JGP comes back to North America this weekend, and since I started traveling today, this post is going to be a quick one.
Edwards & Pang Bring Home Bronze
Madeline Edwards & ZhaoKai Pang (pictured, right) turned in a couple of great performances in Courchevel, France, last weekend, earning them the bronze medal and their very own cowbells. Just what every ice dancer dreams of! They skated well in the short dance, but the new timing call got the best of them, and despite hitting all of the key points, timing errors meant that they received only level 1 and level 2 for their Blues patterns. The rest of the elements were solid though, and they ended up with 46.53 points, putting them in a close race for the bronze medal, heading into the free dance.
Maddie & ZhaoKai stood up to the pressure well, skating a clean outing of their free dance to “The Artist” that kept them in third position. Late in their program, their rotational lift was only called a level 1, so that will need to be looked at before they head out again. With a free dance score of 67.20, their total of 113.73 was well off their JGP score from last year, but with a tough panel and it being the first event of the series, the score is solid. Along with their bronze medals and cowbells, they also earned a second assignment and will be heading to Istanbul in three weeks. I’m a little jealous of their fall travel schedule!
Victoria Hasegawa & Connor Hasegawa also skated well in the short dance, ranking fourth after that segment with 45.68 points. They were in a great place heading into the free dance and had a good performance, but they were not as sharp and polished as I know that they can be. They only earned level one for their circular steps and level 3 for their spin and twizzles, resulting in a seventh-place free dance that earned 62.48 points. Overall, they finished seventh with a total of 108.16, but were just about three points from fourth. Since Canadian teams have been told that they need to finish in the top four to receive a second assignment, the siblings from Québec have bid goodbye to their blues/swing short dance already. They have to switch gears now to focus on the Yankee Polka, as they will be competing at the senior level domestically. Best of luck to Victoria & Connor as they make the leap to seniors!
Returning to Lake Placid
Lake Placid is a familiar venue for North American ice dancers, and both Canadian entries to this year’s JGP have seen success in Lake Placid before. Canadian junior champions Andréanne Poulin & Marc-André Servant competed at the Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships (LPIDC) in 2011, picking up a bronze medal in their free dance group. They were not allowed to enter LPIDC this year because their choreographer, Shae Zukiwsky, was on the technical panel, so they’re glad to have a chance to return to Lake Placid this year after all. At Minto Summer Skate a few weeks ago, I liked their take on the hip-hop rhythm in their short dance that uses “Without You” by Usher and David Guetta, but it was their adorable “Fantastic Mr. Fox” free dance that really made an impression on me. They skated it cleanly at Minto, earning 72.99 points even without optimal levels. With time to address that in the past month, I look forward to seeing it again this weekend.
Canadian junior bronze medalists Noa Bruser & Timothy Lum (pictured, left) are making their second trip to Lake Placid in about a month. At LPIDC this year, they won their short dance group and were fourth in their free dance group. Their exuberant short dance to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy selections suits them well, and I love watching them bring the drama in their “Pirates of the Caribbean” free dance. Noa & Tim also ran into some problems with levels, first in the free dance in Lake Placid, and then in the short dance at BC SummerSkate, so I hope that they’ve ironed out the kinks and will be at their best this week.
Like last week, I think that both Canadian teams are in the running for a podium finish if they skate cleanly and hit their levels. Historically, Canadian teams have done well at the JGP in Lake Placid, and I would love to see that trend continue.
Fall Domestic Competitions
Interim entry lists are up for a couple of fall competitions at home. Souvenir Georges-Ethier will be held in Shawinigan, QC, September 27-30. Octoberfest will be held in Barrie, ON, October 11-14. Entries have just closed for Autumn Skate in Ottawa, ON, but an entry list is not yet available.
That’s it for this week—I have to hit the road in the morning! Expect lots of news from Lake Placid this weekend; IDC will have a few staff members there!