After a hiatus due to IDC’s necessary maintenance, I’m ready to start posting weekly again. At least, I hope I can. I’ve never been great at regular blogging—my Europe 2011 trip is still one post away from being done, over a year later. But enough about me…let’s catch up on dance, shall we?
Weaver & Poje Pick Up a Pair of Medals
Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje kicked off their season a few weeks ago with a gold medal at Ondrej Nepela Memorial, and followed that up last week with a bronze medal at Skate America. The victory at Nepela was expected, but the bronze at Skate America was perhaps a bit disappointing, as some technical mistakes cost them the silver medal. I thought that their début at Nepela was promising and I was particularly drawn to their contemporary free dance, choreographed by Allison Holker of So You Think You Can Dance fame, in which Kaitlyn portrays a statue that comes to life. However, the team that showed up at Skate America reminded me of the Kaitlyn & Andrew from about 2010…a bit tentative and lacking the flow that they have developed in the past couple of years. I hope that they will shake this off and come back strong at their next event.
Skate Canada This Weekend
Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir are headlining the Grand Prix event in Windsor this weekend, just a short hop from their training base in Canton, Michigan. They withdrew from Finlandia Trophy a few weeks ago due to a slight injury to Moir’s neck, so I hope they’ll be at full strength this week. For my own sake, mainly…not because this week will be a huge test for them, of course. Of course we’re all anxious to see what they’ve done with Carmen. I’m one of those in the skating world who is completely sick of Carmen, but since Tessa & Scott say that they have a new take on it, I’m keeping an open mind until I see it. I do think that they’re up to the challenge of the characters, and I definitely think that they can bring the house down at their home Worlds with a strong piece like that.
This will be a big test for Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier, though. They will be skating in their first Grand Prix event together, and it’s also Piper’s first Grand Prix event ever. Paul won Skate Canada with former partner Vanessa Crone in 2010. Piper & Paul have stood up to pressure just fine so far, though, recently winning their first international event, the U.S. International Classic. I’m looking forward to seeing how they stack up in this strong field, and I’m also looking forward to shooting their free dance while Piper is wearing an actual skating dress. When I saw its début in the summer, her costume wasn’t done yet, and her skirt spent half the program defying gravity.
It’s also the second event of the season for Kharis Ralph & Asher Hill, who finished seventh at Nebelhorn Trophy. After winning bronze at Nebelhorn last year, I imagine that they had hoped for a higher finish. The performance in Germany revealed some technical issues, so I hope that they have time to work on those. I think that the home crowd will really get into their short dance if they skate it well.
I realize this is a few weeks late, but I’m so proud of the junior dance teams and I want to recognize each of their JGP achievements. Canadian dance teams ended their JGP season with five bronze medals and two of the alternate spots for the Final, a definite step up from the last couple of seasons. I was also really pleased with how Skate Canada used their available spots (and was relieved that they were able to pick up so many extras). Here’s how the teams stacked up, by score, over 7 events. Keep in mind, of course, that scores can’t be directly compared across events, and that FRA and USA, in particular, were scored lower than the others.
Madeline Edwards & ZhaoKai Pang, 135.01 in TUR, bronze medal
Mackenzie Bent & Garrett MacKeen, 129.16 in AUT, bronze medal
Andréanne Poulin & Marc-André Servant, 126.57 in SLO, bronze medal
Mackenzie Bent & Garrett MacKeen, 118.64 in CRO, 4th place
Noa Bruser & Timothy Lum, 117.39 in GER, 4th place
Andréanne Poulin & Marc-André Servant, 114.71 in USA, bronze medal
Madeline Edwards & ZhaoKai Pang, 113.73 in FRA, bronze medal
Melinda Meng & Andrew Meng, 113.02 in CRO, 6th place
Caelen Dalmer & Shane Firus, 111.71 in SLO, 6th place
Noa Bruser & Timothy Lum, 110.71 in USA, 5th place
Victoria Hasegawa & Connor Hasegawa, 108.16 in FRA, 7th place
Mariève Cyr & Benjamin Brisebois Gaudreau, 106.58 in GER, 7th place
Madeline & ZhaoKai, with two bronze medals, ranked 8th in the JGP standings, making them 2nd alternates for the Final. Andréanne & Marc-André, also with two bronze medals, finished 9th in the standings on the tiebreaker, and are 3rd alternates for the Final.
Overall, it was a very strong outing for the Canadian team, many of whom still have several years of junior age eligibility left. I think next year is going to be even better and I’m looking forward to seeing these skaters, and many more, continue to develop and gain experience.
Sectionals begin this week, but the big dance sections do not begin until next week, when Québec and Central Ontario are both up. I’m short on time tonight, so I’ll cover Sectionals next week.
Keep your eyes on the IDC this week, as I’ll be in Windsor beginning tomorrow morning to cover Skate Canada!