by Anne Calder | Photo by Daphne Backman
RHYTHM DANCE (RD)
The 14 ice dance teams performed Broadway and movie musicals, to one or more of the following rhythms: Quickstep, Blues, March, Foxtrot, Swing, Charleston, Waltz. The Tea-Time Foxtrot Pattern Dance Element (PDE) was skated to a Foxtrot rhythm and in its style.
When the RD competition ended, the leader board included: Americans Avonley Nguyen & Vadym Kolesnik, (Aladdin), Russians Diana Davis & Gleb Smolkin (Aristocats), Canadians Miku Makita & Tyler Gunara (Hairspray) Czechs Natalie Taschlerova & Filip Taschler (An American in Paris/42nd Street) and Americans Ella Ales & Daniel Tsarik (Cabaret).
For the second JGP in a row, only two level 4s were earned in Section 1 of the Tea-Time Foxtrot. In Section 2, again there were no level 4’s, but four teams achieved level 3 unlike in France where there were no marks above level 2.
FREE DANCE (FD)
In the final standing, the Americans (170.80) and Russians (160.17) held on to first and second, while the Czechs (150.00) and Canadians (149.63) flipped their RD positions. The second American team remained in fifth place (140.51). A third American team, Anya Lavrova & Max Gart, were forced to withdraw due to injury sustained by Lavrova in a fall during the rhythm dance.
Nguyen & Kolesnik opened with a beautiful stationary lift that set the stage for a mezmerizing interpretation of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and ended with a 3.32 GOE choreographic lift. The judges rewarded the deep edges and curves of the Level 3 circular step sequences with the highest 2.63 GOE and 10.33 panel score for the element this JGP season. They scored 104.63.
Davis & Smolkin scored 98.05 for their performance to Peter Cincotti’s “Always Watching You” and “Love is Gone”. The marks were mostly +3 and +2 with no negative scores. Their base value tied the leaders (39.07), but the GOEs were three points lower. This is their second JGP season.
Taschlerova & Taschler moved past the Canadians with their performance to “Place de la Republique” by Coeur de Pirate and “Sand” by Nathan Lanier. Each earned level 4 for the twizzles. The lifts were also level 4 with a level 3 for the spin. The siblings placed much higher than in 2018, which was their second JGP season and they finished 13th and 11th. The segment score was 89.31
Makita & Gunara performed “Don’t Know How to Love You” by H. Reinhart, R. Kleiner, A. Grahn
and “I’ll Take Care of You” by Beth Hart, Joe Bonamassa. A costly twizzle error lowered their score, and they missed the podium by .37 points. The segment scored 88.31, one point behind the Czechs.
Ales & Tsarik also used “I’ll Take Care Of You” performed by Beth Hart, Joe Bonamassa for their free dance music. Both their twizzles were level 4; both their one-step sequences were level 3. They were outscored by the new Japanese team, but held on to fifth place. The segment score was 82.78.
Aaron Lowe (Coach – Makita & Gunara CAN) after the RD:
“The performance was the cleanest and most precise they did all week. As an athlete, you want to do a clean performance when it counts. They did that and got their highest score of the season. Even if they don’t medal in the FD, they set a goal and focus to up their component levels from the last two competitions, and they did that.”
Nora Hoffman* (Coach – Kedves & Sharonov HUN) after the RD:
“It is their [Kedves & Sharonov] first junior competition and JGP. Krisztina Regorzy & Andras Sallay won the only Olympic medal in Ice Dance for Hungary. It was silver and here in this arena in 1980. We took pictures by the plaque. It is a pleasure for the kids to start their careers here in Lake Placid.”
Tracy Wilson (Coach – Yoshida & Nishiyama JPN) after the RD:
“Shingo’s [Nishiyama] experience is all in singles, so this is the first time he’s ever danced. Utana [Yoshida] did very well in Novice in Japan. They just started six months ago. He had his first-ever dance competition this summer. They did two competitions in Canada – local events – to get ready for this. They are just so happy to have found each other. It is a gift for both of them.”
Matteo Zanni, Collin Brubaker (Coaches – Taschlerova & Taschler CZE) after the FD:
“Overall, they brought home a good performance since it is early in the season.” [Zanni]
“We were happy with their performance; we left a few points out there, but lots of room for them to grow, so look forward to them getting better.” [Brubaker]
Joey Russell (Coach – Yoshida & Nishiyama JPN) being a singles skater working with ice dance:
“I was brought to the Toronto Cricket Club by Tracy Wilson and Brian Orser to do choreography. I’ve been skating my whole life, but knew nothing about this part [ice dancing]. I took it on myself to learn the rules, especially with the new Tea-Time, so I’d know what I was doing. We have three teams, so I help [Coach] Andrew Hallam, and I love it.”
* [Nora Hoffman & Attila Elek (HUN) won the 2002 JGP in Scottsdale, AZ. They are the only non-American team to ever win an ice dance gold medal at a JGP held in the USA.]
ICE DANCERS IN THEIR OWN WORDS
Gleb Smolkin (RUS) about moving to the USA (Novi, MI) to train:
We are really happy to be there. There have been some changes made in our preparation. It’s a great team – one of the best in the world.
Ella Ales & Daniel Tsarik (USA) after the RD:
EA: It was really great out there. It was our first JGP, so we didn’t have any expectations.
DT: It was great being here in Lake Placid with all our friends cheering us on.
Mariia Nosovitsaya & Mikhail Nosovitskiy (ISR) about the FD and skating with a twin:
Mikhail: Yesterday [SD] I had some errors. Today I came to skate clean, and I skated better.
Mariia: It is so hard because we are always together.
Mikhail: It is very hard. I see her all day. I see her after I wake and until I go to sleep.
Avonley Nguyen & Vadym Kolesnik (USA) about seeing Aladdin on Broadway:
AN: It was really amazing to see what we could do with the program after seeing it on Broadway. We also got to work with Skye Mattox, a Broadway dancer and choreographer who showed us all these interesting things we could incorporate into our program and ideas for the future.
VK: Broadway musical is “show”, so we are taking our RD a little bit different, with less of the foxtrots. Also, seeing it on stage made us totally adjust ourselves to looking more at the audience.
AN: Kaitlyn Weaver organized the trip and also worked with us in NYC.
Harshita Rawtani (IND) about her introduction to skating and training schedule:
I have been skating for four years. I live in New Delhi and train two hours away on Saturday and Sunday for an hour each day. The rest of the week I go to school. I wanted to ice dance because I saw it on television, and I was so inspired because the moves are so elegant. I also dance ballet and jazz. I watch the ISU streaming with Ted Barton, who makes it easy to understand.
[Her mother added that Ted Barton is synonymous with ice-skating for Harshita.]