by Anne Calder | Photo by Robin Ritoss

Tallinn, Estonia hosted its second World Junior Championships March 2-8. Twenty-nine ice dance couples representing 22 ISU nations competed; 20 couples from 13 of those countries qualified for the free dance. The Tea-Time Foxtrot made its final appearance of the season, and the curtain was drawn on the Broadway stage and movie musicals for the junior dance teams.

The teams practiced Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The rhythm dance was contested on Thursday afternoon.

Afterwards, small medals were awarded to the top three teams: Elizaveta Shanaeva & Devid Naryzhnyy (RUS), Maria Kazakova & Georgy Reviya (GEO) and Avonley Nguyen & Vadym Kolesnik (USA). Only 1.76 separated the couples. At the press conference, the dancers explained their music.

Shanaeva (Bonnie & Clyde): “In the first part, I am inviting him to dance, and I keep telling him the story how cool it would be to conquer the world. In the second part, he agrees with me, and we conquer the world together.”

Reviya (Beautiful, The Carol King Musical): “Masha is the “baby”, and I am the guy who wants her to like him and is jumping around her. The second part, “Dream a little Dream” is our dream. We felt the music will connect well with us.”

Kolesnik (Aladdin): “I love the movie Aladdin. When I watched it, I knew that should be our program. When I was a kid and watching the cartoon, I just loved it and wanted to perform to it once in my life.”

Also closely bunched and certainly within reach of the podium were the fourth – sixth teams: Anna Ushakova & Maxim Nekrasov (RUS), Diana Davis & Gleb Smolkin (RUS) and Loicia Demougeot & Theo le Mercier (FRA).

Five of the six competed at the Junior Grand Prix Final. Nekrasov’s surgery kept the team off-ice most of the 2019-2020 season.

Saturday at 11:45 am, the judges and technical panel were introduced and the first warm-up group took to the ice. The free dance was officially underway.

When the event concluded, the same three teams stood on the podium, but in a different order. Teams one and three had switched places. The final results were the Americans Avonley Nguyen & Vadym Kolesnik (gold), Georgia’s Maria Kazakova & Georgy Reviya (silver) and Elizaveta Shanaeva & Devid Naryzhnyy of Russia (bronze).

Nguyen & Kolesnik’s performance to music by a Russian composer earned a personal best 108.91 points. The USA National Champions used Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 as a mesmerizing vehicle to earn level 4 lifts, spin, circular step sequence and twizzles. The total 177.18, which is 2.5 points higher than their 2019 JGPF silver medal score, vaulted them from third to first place.

Kolesnik’s preference for classical music revealed his future ice dance goals. “If you look at the World and Olympic Champions from the past years, they skated to classical pieces. We try to achieve the same goals, and we felt like classical pieces are perfect for this.”

The young man from Ukraine also talked about his move to the U.S. by himself at age 14. “It was a little hard. I left my parents and friends, but I have my partner. I have coaches who really helped, and I really appreciate that and want to say thank you one more time. I feel I’m already used to the American life.”

The 2019 JGPF Champions, Kazakova & Reviya were the first Georgian team to win gold at an ISU International Championship. They were hoping to do it again in Tallinn. Unfortunately, when the 106.21 score for their innovative and crowd-pleasing performance to “In the End” by American artist Tommee Profitt was added to the 69.98 RD result, it was not enough.

The base value points lost with the teams’ level 2 Combination Spin and Kazakova’s level 2 One-Foot Step Sequence. The element appears to be their nemesis since at the Final they both earned level 2 for the one-foot step sequence. Kazakova & Reviya were both born in Russia and train in Moscow with Denis Samokhin.

“The next year will be very important for us because we need to qualify for the Olympic Games,” Reviya said.  “We’ll mount new programs back in Moscow so we can enter the senior season with a confident big step forward and step up.”

Elizaveta Shanaeva & Devid Naryzhnyy skated an intense free dance to “River” by British musician, Bishop Briggs. The spin, lifts, twizzles and Shanaeva’s one-foot step sequence were level 4. The program scored 105.14. The total 175.17 earned them the bronze medal. The young Russians won both their JGP events and were third at the Final. They spoke about their future plans.

“We still have a junior year left, and we want to work on and polish what we did not work out here,” Shanaeva said. “Although for our first debut season, we are very pleased – this is new for us. We got a lot of energy to show our maximum next season and to be ready to beat everyone.”

“We really liked it here. It was an incredible experience for us,” Naryzhnyy added. “We are newcomers, and it’s our first season at this high level. Not everything worked out perfectly, but we tried our best.”

The fourth-sixth places remained the same: Arina Ushakova & Maxim Nekrasov (169.08), Diana Davis & Gleb Smolkin (165.22) and Loicia Demougeot & Theo le Mercier (162.52).

2020 WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS ICE CHIPS:

  • Two teams will also compete as seniors at the 2020 World Championships in Montreal: Natalie Taschlerova & Filip Taschler (CZE) and Maria Kazakova & Georgy Reviya (GEO).
  • Cyprus had an entry in ice dance for the first time – Angelina Kudryavtseva & Ilia Karankevich.
  • Five teams competed at the 2020 Youth Olympic Games. They represented Canada, Japan, Switzerland and the USA, who won the bronze medal.
  • Jeffrey Chen is the younger brother of the 2017 U.S. National Champion, Karen Chen.
  • Three sets of siblings competed: CZE, ISR, USA.

THE RESULTS OF THE 2020 WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS DETERMINED THE NUMBER OF ICE DANCE COUPLES FOR THE FOLLOWING ISU EVENTS:

* The 2021 World Junior Championships:
         Georgia (3), Russia (3), USA (3), Canada (2), France (2), Other ISU Members (1)

* The 2020 Junior Grand Prix Series:

  • 2 entries in 7 events:
GEO, RUS, USA

  • 1 entry in 7 events:
 CAN, FRA, JPN

  • 1 entry in 6 events: 
 CZE, GBR, ITA, UKR

  • 1 entry in 5 events:
 CYP, ESP, HUN 
  • 1 entry in 4 events: 
 AZE, EST, GER, ISR, KAZ
  • 1 entry in 3 events:
 BLR, DEN, POL, SUI

  • 1 entry in 2 events:
 Other ISU Members