by Anne Calder | Photo by Daphne Backman
The 2019 Junior Ice Dance podium: Caroline Green & Gordon Green (gold), Avonley Nguyen & Vadym Kolesnik (silver), Eliana Gropman & Ian Somerville (bronze) and Oona Brown & Gage Brown (pewter).
The 2018-2019 junior rhythm dance includes two sections of Argentine Tango. Each pattern level is determined by the performance of its four key points. Effective 2018-19: The man and lady are awarded twizzle levels separately and the GOE scores range from -5 to +5.
Green & Green jumped out to a five-point lead with an Argentine Tango to “Essa” by Ostra Aires. The team earned six level 4 scores for their performance. The GOEs were mostly +3 and +4. The segment scored 70.82.
Nguyen & Kolesnik were second with a dance to “ Vuelvo al Sur” and “Building the Bullet” and earned level 4 for the curve lift and both twizzles. The midline step sequence was level 2. The team missed a key point in both patterns and received level 3 for each. The segment scored 65.92.
Oona Brown & Gage Brown tangoed to “La Cumparsita” and “Tangled Up” for third place. The New Jersey based team earned level 4 for their patterns and curve lift. The Midline step sequence and each of their twizzles received level 3. The segment scored 63.34.
Eliana Gropman & Ian Somerville were fourth with a dance to “Nuevo Tango” and “La Cascada”. The patterns, curve lift, and his twizzles earned level 4; the Midline step sequence and her twizzles were level 3. The segment scored 62.60.
The top two teams remained the same after the Rhythm Dance; three and four switched places.
The Green siblings won their fifth US National Championship after previously taking home gold on the Juvenile (2013) Intermediate (2014) and Novice (2015, 2016) levels.
Although they were second in the free dance, their previous lead was enough to carry them to the top of the podium with their first junior gold medal.
The WISA-based team chose selections from The Devil’s Violinist soundtrack, a 2013 film based on the life of Italian violinist, Niccolo Paganini.
“It is the story of a prodigy violinist (Gordon) whose beautiful creations bring joy, yet almost corrupt him,” Caroline explained. “Towards the end of the program, it drives him to the point of insanity.”
“We are taking one element at a time, focusing on the emotions of the story and allowing that to drive the performance,” Caroline said. “It is a very traumatic story, which is not necessarily new to us, but is deeper than our programs in the past and has a true progression to it.”
The team earned level 4 for their spin, lifts, and twizzles; they received all positive GOEs. The segment scored 101.72. The total program score was 172.54.
The brother-sister team competed at the Chesapeake Open in June, but missed serious training until three weeks before Sectionals in October due to Caroline’s illness. The team competed for the first time in December (Golden Spin) followed again in January (Torun Cup) and won gold at both events.
“Our first two competitions back were both international, but coming back to being in the US with the people around us and the energy at Nationals is just so inspiring,” Caroline said. “You don’t realize how much you miss it until you can’t do it. Coming back reignited my love for figure skating.”
Nguyen & Kolesnik won the free dance with 105.14 points, but narrowly fell short (1.48) of the top spot with a 171.06 total score.
“We know what we have to focus on,” Kolesnik said.
The music to “Demons” by Imagine Dragons and “Experience” by Ludovico Einaudi accented each element while carrying them seamlessly across the ice. They enjoxyed the full support of the audience who cheered on the local Detroit area team.
The spin, lifts, twizzles and his one-foot step sequence earned level 4. The judges rewarded them with all positive GOEs, while the choreographic step sequence and lift marks ranged from +3 to +5.
Kolesnik began his skating in Ukraine as a singles skater. However, his mother discouraged that discipline after several broken arms due to falls. “You must do ice dancing,” she told her young son.
Nguyen & Kolesnik teamed up in February 2017 and train in nearby Novi, Michigan.
Gropman & Somerville moved up a notch from the fourth place rhythm dance and won bronze. It was their fifth U.S. National medal having previously won gold in both juvenile and intermediate, silver in novice and pewter in junior.
Several years ago the team thought about dancing to selections from the 2009 French musical, Mozart I’Opera Rock soundtrack, but decided it was better to wait until their skating developed to a more mature level.
“We’re really happy we waited to use it,” Gropman said.
The WISA trained team earned level 4 for their spins, lifts, and twizzles. They received the same total base value for their elements (38.68) as the top two teams. The segment scored 92.86; the total was 155.46.
The Brown siblings won the pewter medal with a sultry performance to “Still Got the Blues”. In 2018, the Skating Club of New York duo placed fifth in the novice division.
“It was a great feeling after our skate,” Gage said. “We’re really excited about it.”
The team earned four level 4 marks and the judges awarded all positive GOEs. There was a -1.00 extended lift deduction. The segment scored 90.33; the total was 153.67.
2019 World Junior Championships Assignments
Caroline Green/Gordon Green
Eliana Gropman/Ian Somerville
Avonley Nguyen/Vadym Kolesnik
Alternate 1 – Oona Brown/Gage Brown
Alternate 2 – Jocelyn Haines/James Koszuta
Alternate 3 – Ella Ales/Daniel Tsarik
- Avonley Nguyen & Vadym Kolesnik placed fifth at the 2018 Junior Grand Prix Final.
- Eliana Gropman was an honorable mention for the U.S. Scholastic Honors Team.
- There are five siblings on the junior roster. One dancer’s sibling won the Intermediate Dance.
- Since 2012 at least one team from WISA (Wheaton Ice Dance Academy) has been on the junior podium. For 2019: Caroline Green & Gordon Green / Eliana Gropman & Ian Somerville)