SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2007

The End!

This is the end of my Nationals Blog. The website will remain up in it’s entiretly as will this blog.

Thanks to U.S. Figure Skating and the local organizing committee for putting together a fabulous event. I enjoyed talking with so many parents and athletes throughout the week and look forward to seeing everyone again soon.

In attending only two events, U.S. Nationals has quickly become a favorite of mine and is added to my work vacation calendar each year (along with Lake Placid IDC).

posted by ice-dance.com @ 7:12 PM

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2007

A Look Back Part 3

The following are some of the memorable quotes of the week from various ice dancers in the mixed zone and press conferences.

Sara Bailey and Kyle Herring on the camaraderie within the University of Delaware skating group (after the compulsory dances):
Kyle: “It’s a lot of fun because we’re a very close group of friends. We all get along really well. We all travel together. It’s good to have someone to not necessarily compare yourself to, but to really motivate and push yourself. We all kind of keep each other going every day. When you’re out on the ice with that many teams at that training center, trying to get the same thing, it’s really exciting, especially when you’re so close to them.”

Sara: “It’s very exciting. Through the whole year we help to motivate each other and push each other, but also be supportive of each other.”

Shibutani’s on skating with each other, being brother and sister:
Alex: “Every brother and sister has their little scuff’s, that’s just natural. We’re really close.”
Maia: “I think it’s great for our relationship that we work together and are a team.”

Dean Copley on his leap at the end of the paso doble CD:
“It’s famous at our rink. I don’t have a name for it yet, but I’ll come up with one. Last week I made it a double loop and it was perfect.”

Anastasia Cannuscio on competing against her sister at Nationals:
“We’re not really that competitive. It’s not really that awkward, though you would think it would be really, really weird, but it’s not. We’re still really close and it didn’t change anything.”

John Corona on Silver Samba versus Midnight Blues:
“I’m more of a Samba kind of guy, actually, though Blues is actually easier.”

Pilar Bosley on Silver Samba versus Midnight Blues:
“I don’t really like either of them. I’m more of a Starlight kind of person.”

Madison Hubbell on why compulsories shouldn’t be eliminated:
“I don’t think they should be eliminated because I feel like they’re really a true showing of how much technical ability someone does have. I feel that a choreographed program, can kind of hide bad qualities, and compulsories just puts them out on display, so you really have to work on them.”

Evan Bates on training with Hubbell & Hubbell:
“I think it helps us tremendously to have Madi and Keiffer next to us every day to push us. I wouldn’t say that there is a bitter rivalry brewing, more a friendly, back-and-forth, competition. I think it would be good for the sport for not only the senior and novice (level), but the junior also (being competitive).

Madison Hubbell on training with Samuelson & Bates:
“We’ve been training with Evan (and Emily) for years and years and it definitely started more as friendship and we weren’t competing against each other when we were younger, so now it’s still more of a friendship. We both want to skate hard and do our best, so we push each other every day by seeing our biggest competition.”

Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani on their “Memoirs of a Geisha” free dance:
“We were trying to come up with something that would be unique, something that we could really feel a connection to. With our Japanese heritage, we thought we could make a connection to the audience – and between ourselves – that would really make the program something special for us.”

Kyle Herring on the rebuilding of UDel’s dance program:
“I think it’s really helping to bring dance back to University of Delaware with some big name teams to look up to while we’re there, and now we have each other to keep pushing further. There was a time period where there were only a few dancers, and now it’s starting to build back up into a strong program and we’re excited to be a part of it.”

Evan Bates on training in Ann Arbor with coaches Netchaeva & Tchesnitchenko:
“Yasa (Netchaeva) and Iouri (Tchesnitchenko) are really good. Even our fourth team, Brooke Huber and Karl Edelmann, are in seventh place and three points out of third. I think it’s great for Ann Arbor and our coaches especially because it really shows the dedication and hard work the coaches put in and the skaters put in.”

Logan Giulietti-Schmitt on winning the bronze (with Lynn Kriengkrairut):
“We couldn’t even have expected anything close to this. We’re just thrilled. We’ve only been skating together for five months, so it’s amazing. There have been little ups and downs with getting used to a new partnership right from the beginning, but things have been great overall. We couldn’t have expected more for our skating and our chemistry on the ice.”

Lynn Krienkrairut on her first Nationals & the large audience:
”It didn’t really hit me until the end of the free dance. I was sitting there and I looked around and just went ‘Wow.’”

Tanith Belbin on creating two free dances in a season:
“We thought it was going to be hard enough to put just one free dance together after returning home so late to training. To do two was quite an accomplishment; nothing that we could have foreseen possible before we attacked it… We just feel so proud to be able to put out a program we feel is more true to what we’re capable of.”

Charlie White on going to the World Championships with Belbin & Agosto and Gregory & Petukhov:
“It’s an honor to be with the two U.S. superpowers of the past couple of years. They’ve done a great job of making a name for the U.S. in our sport, and it’s phenomenal just to be here with them. We’re really looking forward to going to Worlds and learning from them and hoping to follow in their steps.”

Melissa Gregory on their change of coaches, Nationals and upcoming Worlds:
“We love this program. It’s really special to us; the music, the choreography, everything about it. We just really feel it every time we perform it; we just absorb the audience in with us… This year, we had a change of coaches and we attribute most of our skating right now to the support of our new coaches. They’ve been wonderful for us and pushed us further than we thought we could go. There is still more time between now and Worlds, and we feel we can improve more and more.”

posted by ice-dance.com @ 4:09 PM

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2007

Spokane…A Look Back Part 2

I am posting my thoughts as time allows (lunch breaks at work, etc.).

Pacing Yourself for a Marathon Event: I remember how exhausting I found the St. Louis National Championships to be, so I changed my game plan for Spokane. I made a point to get more rest and took more time to have lunch/dinner with friends. Taking the time to relax and have ‘real’ meals made a lot of difference. Plus – the media room food at both locations was FABULOUS. My favorite was the salmon (on Thursday, I think) at the Spokane Arena. There was also always fruit available along with a variety of beverages. High Five to the arena staff and caterers who made it possible.

Photos: Special thanks to Marie Hughes for allowing me to use her on ice photos from the event. Normally, I post more off ice photos, but my camera (that is 4 years old) specifically the zoom/focus function, stopped working on Day 3 of Nationals – which is why I have no photos of the Novice dance podium. I was able to take photos of the junior and senior podiums, press conferences and some off ice photos of the athletes by using Michelle’s or Jamie’s cameras. The lighting at the Convention Center was not as optimal for photographs which is why you may see a difference in the quality of photos taken at one arena versus the other.

Post-Nationals task #1 – pick out a new camera. Over the past few months, I had thought of getting a new camera, but was really attached to my Olympus since it had always been working well-enough for what I was looking for. As I experiment more with photography, it’s a good idea to upgrade and it really is time.

Post-Nationals task #2 – photos request. If any of the parents, athletes or fans are interested in submitting some of their off ice photos for inclusion in the ice-dance.com gallery – I would greatly appreciate it. Please contact me via [email protected] or the contact form on ice-dance.com.

Flight Logistics – Special thanks to the Ann Arbor parents & skaters for helping me make my flight from Seattle to Detroit. I was so tired, I don’t think I could have navigated the ‘subway-type’ shuttles to find my Gate.

Part 3 is coming later today…

posted by ice-dance.com @ 9:38 AM

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2007

Spokane… A Look Back Part 1

Spokane vs. St. Louis: Since I’ve only attended two National Championships – Spokane and St. Louis – it’s relatively easy to compare them. While I could have done without the bleachers at the Convention Center, I’m not sure I will see a more enthusiastic or friendly audience than I saw in Spokane. In speaking with some of the novice ice dancers, who competed in front of a packed crowd for their compulsory dances, I got the impression that all the athletes were thrilled with the support. I’ve never been to an event that has had a full house for compulsory dances – novice, junior or senior; nationally or internationally.

Locals seemed so eager to learn about the different aspects of the sport and cheered for everyone regardless of where they were from. I’m not sure how the local organizing committee promoted the event, but whatever they did worked well.

Fun With Numbers: By now, everyone is aware of the ticket sales records set in Spokane. To break it down further, the number of tickets sold for the senior free dance was 10,015 vs 10,393 for ladies free skate, 9,170 for men’s free skate and 9,250 for pairs free skate. That is pretty exciting news for fans of ice dancing.

Training Centers: The ice dancing event as a whole was extremely competitive. Having seen many of the free dances at Lake Placid in August (the beginning of the season) versus seeing them at Nationals (the end of the season for most) was an eye opener. It is quite interesting to see the emergence of training centers who had successful events. The University of Delaware teams finished 2-3-4-8 in novice; Ann Arbor teams were 1-2-3-7 in junior; a coach in Colorado Springs had the winning novice team and the 4th place junior team. It’s exciting to see the depth in other groups in additional to Igor Shpilband’s in Canton. Let’s hope the teams will stay together going forward to make for an incredible 2007/2008 season.

Medical Team Kudos: As I previously mentioned, the medical staff in Spokane was top notch, treating the athletes and making it possible for many of them to continue competing despite injuries.

Things I missed: I really enjoyed the daily video recaps that aired on the jumbotron in St. Louis. It was fun to watch a different perspective on what happened earlier that day. They didn’t have them at the 2007 event.

What I will miss from 2007 Nationals: The friendly and helpful arena staff; the cozy feel of Spokane, the town; the supportive audience; the best media room food EVER; and, the media crew – who were the best to work with.

Minneapolis 2008: I am recapping my week and hoping to send some thoughts to the organizers/marketing group. Those I spoke with at the event last week were eager to do whatever they can to help Minneapolis/St. Paul becoming as successful at Spokane. If you have ideas or concerns, please send them to me at [email protected] or via the contact form on ice-dance.com, so that I can add them to my own.

posted by ice-dance.com @ 5:36 PM

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2007

Back to East Coast Time…

Having never travelled to the west coast prior to my Nationals trip, imagine my surprise that returning home has thrown my body clock into turmoil. It has certainly made my foray back into the working world rather entertaining. I’m happy to be back at work, although at times I must seem lethargic to my co-workers. I had a nice, long “to-do” list to remind me how much I was missed while away. I’ve put a huge dent in it already. 🙂

posted by ice-dance.com @ 12:12 PM

FRIDAY, JANUARY 26, 2007

SOLD OUT for the Free Dance

What an excellent crowd for the free dance tonight – I see very few empty seats.

Group 1

(Junior ice dancers Piper Gilles and Tim McKernan stop by for the first group).

Slattery and Lee (Phantom of the Opera Soundtrack) Mistake on the circular footwork. Nice straightline lift. Serpentine lift is spread eagle to curve. Missed blade-to-head on lift. Combination lift to end the program.

Whetstone and Obzansky (Music from “Great Expectations”) Curve lift on one foot. Combination lift – straightline to curve. Fall between twizzle sequences. Serpentine lift. Diagonal footwork sequences. Straightline lift to end. Nice job!

Elliman and Serebrenik (Medley from “Movin’ Out”) Fun program to Billy Joel music including “Uptown Girl”. Split rotationanl lift. Twizzles. Curve to rotational lift.. Low lift with no arms. Diagonal step sequence. Transitional lift.

Group 2

Wester and Barantsev (Singin’ in the Rain) Straightline lift, one-armed, balanced and low to the ground. Combination lift with Wester upside down. Good position on dance spin. Stumble in straightline. Twizzles, first set good, seconed loses unison. Rotational lift reverses direction. Final rotational lift is labored. Fun program! 153.34

Miosi and Ponomarev (African Samba) Combination lift – straightline to rotational with Liz in a split. Stumble on twizles by Liz. Curve lift with Elizabeth in an upside down position. Dance spin has good speed and positions. Curve lift. Twizzles out of unison. Rotational lift with Liz in a pretzel position.

Maxwell and Traxler (Superstition, I’ll Be There, Respect – Motown Medley) Music gets the crowd involved. Starts with dance spin, good positions and speed. Good unison on twizzles. “Roll-up” lift with Nick on one foot. Nice edges. Curve lift with inverted position by Charlotte. Close to the boards. Nice low to the ground highlight. Transitional lift, straightline to one-armed rotational lift. Final rotational lift has Charlotte on Nick’s shoulder. Nice job.

Mallory and Holdburg (Dark Eyes) Straightline lift with Brent on one foot. Highlight moves in the program showcase Caitlin’s flexibility. One-armed rotational lift reverses direction. Straightline (touching) steps. Serpentine with Caitlin in a split and arched back. Nice positions in dance spin. Good unison in twizzles. Final rotational lift has great stretch by Caitlin (biellmann).

Group 3

Matthews and Zavozin (Music from “The Piano” soundtrack) Straightline lift with Morgan upside down and her leg wrapped around Max’s head. Stumble by Max at the end of diagonal. Serpentine lift, he on one leg and Morgan inverted. Stumble on twizzles (Max). Good speed and positions on dance spin. Combo lift, straightline to curve. Final rotational lift with Morgan in a split. Nice speed and control.

Navarro and Bommentre (Beatles medley) Curve lift with Brent on one foot and Kim on his shoulder. Nice relationship to each other and the audience. Nice unison on twizzles. Rotational lift with Kim wrapped around and then switching to one-armed lift. Dance spin, slow, but steady. Rotational lift that changes position. Free-flowing. Combination lift, curve to rotational (Kim in a split).

Gregory and Petukhov (Preliator, Sarabande by Yoav Goren) Good positions and speed on dance spin. Twizzles. Good speed in the program. Curve lift in split position. Not one I have seen in this event. Deep edges. The program has several nice highlight moves. Transitional lift – curve to one handed rotational lift. Straightline lift with Melissa going forward. Spinning highlight move. Nice job!

Davis and White (Prince Igor Polovtsian Dances by A. Borodin) Combination lift – curve to one-armed rotational lift. Edge highlight moves. Good unison on twizzles, but moved very close together on the final ones. Good expression. Low to the ground straightline lift. Serpentine lift with Meryl arching her back. Spin. Difficult program. Final rotational lift with Meryl changing positions. Partial standing ovation.

Belbin and Agosto (Amelie soundtrack) Debut of the new free dance! Good unison on twizzles. Curve lift with Tanith in a handstand on Ben’s legs; he in a besti-squat. Highlight moves showcase edges. Serpentine lift with Tanith changing positions. Good speed on spins. Lots of free expression. Final rotational lift has ben holding Tanith’s foot as she is in a bielmann.

posted by ice-dance.com @ 7:07 PM

FRIDAY, JANUARY 26, 2007

News from Poland… Attila Elek

Thanks to the internet, it has become easier to keep track of other events occurring at the same time as the event you’re attending. Earlier this week, I was following the end of Canadian Nationals and I’ve been following the European Championships since they began earlier this week.

The sad news this morning is the report that Attila Elek broke his ankle in practice today prior to the free dance. It makes me sad to see athletes forced to cut their season short due to injury. We’ve been lucky so far at Nationals this year. Although I’ve seen several falls in practice and teams were competing with bruises and while very ill, no one has been forced to withdraw from the event (as of yet). I wish Attila a speedy recovery so he ad Nora Hoffmann can return to the ice and start focusing on their next set of goals.

posted by ice-dance.com @ 9:27 AM

THURSDAY, JANUARY 25, 2007

A Much Needed Day OFF!

It’s been a nice day off so far. Without a dance event to cover today, I’ve used the time wisely to kick back and visit with friends.

I had breakfast this morning with Jamie Blanchard and Leah Adams of FigureSkatersOnline.com (FSO). Jamie opened the new Figure Skaters Online website this week; just in time for Nationals.

I had a nice chat with the marketing group from Minneapolis who are working on 2008 Nationals. I am planning to send them an email post-Nationals, so if any of you parents, spectators, competitors or coaches have any suggestions that you would like me to submit, please submit them to me via the contact form on ice-dance.com.

posted by ice-dance.com @ 2:30 PM

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2007

Junior Free Dance – No Tangos!

Group 1

Siegel and Miller are first up skating to “Bolero” from the Moulin Rouge Soundtrack. They start with a straightline lift where they are horizontal and low to the ground. Nice rotational lift with good control and change of position. Transitional lift from straightline to rotational. No obvious mistakes. Good start to the event. 107.30

Cohen and Roberts are next skating to “Winter” by Bond. Nice twizzles and straight line lift. Good expression and connection to the music. Smooth onearmed rotational lift. Nice change of position on curve lift. 114.39

Farrell and Fishpaw take the ice skating to “At Last” by Eta James. Nice spin position. Nice curve lift with change of position. Nice positions by Clare on rotational lift. Final straightline lift is low to the ground and solid. They look happy. 116.54

Loyd and Deavers start with a reverse rotational lift, then dance spin. The program has a nice energy. Their twizzles were out of unison. Loyd and Deavers are skating to music by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. It was a spirited number. 105.16

Group 2

Perino and Avila are skating to “Summmertime” by Janis Joplin – their costumes match the theme. They lost unison on second twizzles. Their curve lift was low to the ground. Nice straightline lift that has Perino in an inverted position. Rotational lift has Perino in a split position. Good speed and control. 109.70 (2 deductions)

Oswald and Withrow skate to “Feeling Good” by Michael Buble. Nice position on the spin (Brianne). Straightline lift to one-armed rotational lift. Strong rotational lift – good position (Brianne). 122.72

Tomarchio and Sinchak skate to “Carmina Burana”. Great straightline lift with Samantha inverted. Great speed. Good twizzles. Curve lift with well-stretched positions by Samantha. Low tot he ground straightline lift. 131.50

Bosley and Corona are skating to music from Brian Setzer. Nice straightline lift with change of position. Nice elements. The crowd really seems to enjoy the program. Curve lift to rotational lift where Pilar rests on John’s arm. Nice speed and change of position on the rotational lift. 138.38

Final skaters in this group are Huber and Edelmann. They are skating to a latin medley. Brooke and Karl converted their original dance from last season to this new free dance. The latin rhythms suit them. Nice speed and position on their dance spin. Transitional lift was curve to rotational with good control. Straightline lift had a unique position. Final rotational lift has bielmann to split change of position. 137.93

Group 3

Kriengkrairut and Giulietti-Schmitt start off the final group. Their straightline lift is low to the ground. Their hydroblade move is a highlight and the music from “Take the Lead” is engaging the audience. Their curve lift features Lynn in an inverted position. Their twizzles were slightly off unison. Their straightline to rotational lift combo was strong. 142.94

Samuelson and Bates take the ice skating to “Thalia’s Hits Remixed”. Samuelson and Bates express the latin rhythms well. The program is technically strong and the team has good speed. Their serpentine lift is secure with great change of position. Intricate highlight moves are fun to watch. The straightline lift is with Evan on one foot and Emily in a biellmann position. Toward the end, the audience is clapping along. The teams is selling the program right into the final rotational lift which is fast and changes positions. Great job! 167.65

Hubbell and Hubbell take the ice skating to “Canto Alla Vita” by Josh Groban. There is good speed to the program. Their curve lift features Madison in a biellman position. Their straightline lift is strong. Great unison on their side by side twizzles. Strong skating skills and choreography. The performance pulls you into it. 167.48

Wingle and Devereaux are skating to “Era”. The program elements highlight Wingle’s flexibility and extension. Their spin has good positions and speed. Devereaux has really grown as a skater since last season. He and Wingle look like more of a single unit on the ice. Straightline lift is strong and on one foot. Nice entry into rotational lift going from knee slide to standing lift. 142.38

Gilles and McKernan are the last team on the ice. Nice rotational lift where Piper changes position several times. Fast dance spin. Nice connecting moves. Nice curve lift with Piper inverted. Nice twizzles. Nice curve lift to rotational lift and ending. 142.77

GREAT three flights of skating today – the outlook for the future of US ice dance looks bright.
posted by ice-dance.com @ 3:35 PM

TUESDAY, JANUARY 23, 2007

Junior OD from the Civic Center

Group 1

Lindsay Cohen and Evan Roberts start off with their straightline lift. Lindsay’s mom said she is feeling a little better today – there is more expression from her. Nice rotational lift and dance spin. The good relationship between lindsay and Evan is obvious in the tango. The program ends with a curve lift where Lindsay is upside down. Total Score 57.87

Jessica Perino and William Avila are next. They’ve improved their connetion to one another and start with a straightline lift with him on one foot and she is upside down. Nice low to the ground dance spin. They were a bit far apart in the straightline footwork and lost unison on the second twizzles. Secure rotational lift to end the program. Total score 61.39

Amanda Loyd and Ashley Deavers take the ice. Their dance spin has nice speed. Their straight line lift features Ashley on one foot with Amanda upside down. Loyd had a mistake on her twizzles. The final rotation al lift had nice speed and position. Total score 54.27 (-1 deduction)

Rachel Siegel and Kevin miller take the ice next. Nice straightline lift where he is low to the ground and she is leaning back almost touching the ice. They lost unison on the second set of twizzles. Total score 56.85 (-1 deduction)

Group 2

Brooke Huber and Karl Edelmann are up first in this group. Off sync in the second set of twizzles. Nice position on their straightline lift with Karl on one foot. The couple has improved their presenation since last season. The final rotational lift was steady. Nice job. Total score 72.63

Emily Samuelson take the ice and start off with strong precise steps. Their program features many highlight moves. Their twizzles are in perfect unisonand they have a command of the ice that shows in their expression. Their transition lift looks effortless. Great speed on the dance spin. Lots of changing of direction on footwork. An unfortunate fall, mars a beautiful performance. The final rotational lift was fast. Total score 86.38 (-2 deductions)

Brianne Oswald and Buck Withrow took the ice next. Brianne had an injury in this morning’s warm-up which resulted in her needing stitches (the culprit — blade to head). Nice change of position for Brianne on the curve lift. First set of twizzles were on, but Buck stumbled on second set. Final rotational lift to end pose. Total score 62.36

Shannon Wingle and Ryan Devereaux are the next to last skaters in this group. Nice speed and position on opening spin. The elements in the program highlight Wingles flexibility. Good unison on twizzles. Nice final life with her stretched into a split with one leg on his shoulder and the other pulled back to biellmann. Total score 75.00

Madison Hubbell and Keiffer are the final skaters in this round. Solid curve lift with Madison in a biellman. Nice speed on the spins. Interesting choreography to highlight their matching lines. Straightline lift with Madison balanced across Keiffer’s leg. Great job. 88.62

Group 3

Clare Farrell and Chase Fishpaw take the ice first in the final group. Nice straightline lift with him balanced across him. Nice control on the curve lift.
Final score 61.30.

Second in the group are Samantha Tomarchio and Nicholas Sinchak. Nice change of position on curve lift. Good twizzles, speed and expression. Strong lift at the end with him on one foot and she upside down on his back (hard to explain). Final score 71.22.

Pilar Bosley and John Corona take the ice next. Pilar was injured in practice two days ago, but made it through the compulsory dances yesterday to finish third. They had problem on their twizzles, but regrouped with a curve lift that was strong and steady. The first part of their spin had good speed, but the second was slower. Nice ending. 73.83

Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt take the ice. They are off to a fast start. Effective nuances in this program with several highlight moves. Straightline lift with Logan low to the ice and Lynn draped across him. Good speed and control on their dance spin. Final lift is a curve lift with intricate changes of position. 75.36

Piper Gilles and Tim McKernan take the ice next. Nice twizzles to start. Rotational lift with good speed and change of positions for Piper. Good speed on dance spin. Tim is showing more expression in this dance. Nice curve lift to end the program. 75.14

posted by ice-dance.com @ 10:14 AM

TUESDAY, JANUARY 23, 2007

May I have this dance…. Golden Waltz

These are short thoughts on the senior compulsory dance event.

It was great to see Jennifer Wester and Daniil Barantsev on the ice, knowing that they are now eligible to represent the US at internationals.

Morgan Matthews and Max Zavozin’s performance was going well except for a small stumble by Max.

Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre had a HUGE pattern. I thought they were going to hit the boards at several points, but they floated around the rink as if on air instead of ice.

Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto were superb as usual.

Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov have improved so much since the 2006 event. They have a smoother quality to their skating and more expression. There is a calmness in their performance.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White floated across the ice with their Golden Waltz. Although that had falls in the dance at Lake Placid and Skate Canada, their confidence was evident in watching their performance today.

posted by ice-dance.com @ 3:27 PM

TUESDAY, JANUARY 23, 2007

Deducting the deductions

There was a discrepancy with scoring, mostly deductions, which resulted in the change in scores from novice free dance last night.

posted by ice-dance.com @ 10:44 AM

MONDAY, JANUARY 22, 2007

Spokane Arena Presents… Novice Free Dance

The novice event is taking place in the big arena – The Spokane Arena. It’s nice to see the novices get the opportunity to grace the main arena ice. They also have the opportunity to sit in the kiss ‘n cry that the senior athletes will use later in the week.

Group 1
Michaela Cook and Jordan Cowan open tonights event skating to “Amelie” The program elements start with twizzles and then a straightline lift in which Michaela changes positions. The program is well constructed and the team does not look like they have only been skating together for a few meonths. A curve lift where Michaela is upside down and another transitional rotational lift are additional highlights of the program. Their total score is 84.49. They received one deduction (possibly for an extended lift).

Anastasia Olson and Patrick Mays are next in the first group. The duo is skating to “Spente Le Stelle” by Emma Shapplin. Olson competed at Nationals Last year, while this is May’s first time at ‘big’ Nationals. Program highlights include a straightline lift with Olson in a biellman position and a curve-to-rotational transitional life. They were off unison in the twizzles and their spin lacked speed. Their total score is 83.16.

Michelle Pennington and Cooper Johnston skate to Lecuona’s “Malaguena” by Raul DiBlasio. The first set of twizzles was in unison, but Johnston stumbled on the second set. Next was a curve lift where Johnston was crouched to the ground balancing Pennington on his legs. Other highlights include a curve-to-rotational transitional lift where Pennington was laying only on Johnston’s arm. Their final rotational lift was one-armed. The program choreography showcased several highlight edge moves. Their total score is 77.12. The duo received two deductions (possibly extended lifts)

Genevieve Deutch and Alexander Lorello are last to skate in this group. They are skating to “Land and Freedom (Terra e Liberta)” by Amici Forever. The program started with a dance spin with decent speed. Another highlight was a curve lift with Lorello on one foot and Deutch pulling her blade to her head. The team seemed comfortable in the choreography, but lost unison on the second twizzles. Their straightline lift featured Deutch balanced on Lorello as he was low to the ground. Their total score is 86.34. The due received two deductions (possibly extended lifts)

Group 2

Elyse Matsumoto and Andrew Skillington start off Group 2 skating to “Eternal” and “Within” by William Joseph. For a new team, Matsumoto and Skillington have nice leg lines. The couples performance was marred by an unfortunate fall on their straightline lift, one I had seen them perform in practice perfectly several times this week. It took longer for them to get back into the program. The couple came back with a secure rotational lift and ended the program with a low to the ground hydroblade move. The couple had 5 points in deductions, scoring 83.93.

Second in group two are Chloe Wolf and Rhys Ainsworth performing to “Nyah” by Hans Zimmer. The duo were out of sync on both twitzzles. Their straight line lift featured Ainsworth on one foot and Wolf with her blade to her head. Their transitional lift started on a curve. Their final rotational lift had Ainsworth holding Wolf only by the arm. The team scored 86.80 and had two deductions.

Madison Chock and Greg Zuerlein perform next to “My Sweet and Tender Beast”. I can still remember Anissina & Peizerat’s memorable waltz OD to this music. Highlights of the program include a secure straight line lift and a curve-to-rotational transitional lift. The team seems like a good match and the program suits their style. Their dance spin had nice change of position, highlighting Chock’s flexibility, and speed. Their twizzles had excellent unison on both sets. They made the program look effortless. 94.44 is the final score; the duo had 2 deductions.

Megan Evans and Nathan Truesdell round out this group and perform to music from Afro Celt Sound System. Nice positions and speed on their opening spin. Nice change of position on their curve lift. Loss of unison on the first set of twizzles, but second set were in synch. Straightline balance lift looked solid. Final rotational lift is with Evans upside down clutching her blade to her head. Evans is new to dance and this is her first Nationals. The total score is 87.53 and there were 2 deductions.

Group 3

Maia and Alex Shibutani take the ice and will perform to music from “Memoirs of a Geisha”. Their twizzles were in unison and their rotational life looked effortless. Their straightline lift appeared steady and their spins had good speed. An unfortunate fall is the only thing to mar this performance. Their transitional lift had good speed and quick change of position. Final score 107.42 with two deductions.

Anastasia Cannuscio and Dean Copely take the ice skating to music from the motion picture “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”. Their straight line lift featured Cannuscio balanced across Copely’s leg. Their spin had good speed and the program overall has good speed. The twizzles were quick. Their straightline to rotational transitional lift had good speed and control. Their curve lift featured Cannuscio in a split. 99.40 was the overall score with 2 deductions.

At this point, I wondered if everyone was guaranteed to receive 2 deductions.

Isabella Cannuscio and Ian Lorello were the next to last skaters of the night. Skating to “A New World” from Michael Flatley’s Celtic Tiger”, the program contained a sturdy transitional lift and fun choreography. Their curve lift fetured Cannuscio with her blade to her head. They finished with 98.78 with 2 deductions.

Sara Bailey and Kyle Herring were the final team to take the ice this evening. Bailey and Herring led after the compulsory dances. They are skating to “Harem” by Sarah Brightman. Their transitional lift started on a curve and then featured Bailey in a split for the rotational lift. There was a problem with the twizzles. Their spin featured a change of direction. The team really increased the expression near the end of the program. Their final rotational lift looked solid, but he slipped going into the ending pose. Bailey and Herring finish with 104.36 and three deductions.
posted by ice-dance.com @ 9:30 PM

MONDAY, JANUARY 22, 2007

Updates on Competitors

Daniil Barantsev informed me just a few minutes ago that he has received a release from the Russian Federation. Congratulations to Jennifer and Daniil as this will make them eligible to compete at internationals for the US.

I had a conversation earlier with Renee Cohen, mom to junior ice dance competitor Lindsay Cohen. I had noticed that Lindsay didn’t appear to be herself in the compulsory dance event. I found out from her mom that she came down with the flu early this morning, but was able to push through it to skate today. Get well soon – Lindsay!

posted by ice-dance.com @ 4:12 PM 0 comments

MONDAY, JANUARY 22, 2007

Junior Dance News

Emily Samuelson was named to the US Figureskating Scholastic team, while partner Evan Bates has been accepted to the University of Michigan. He is looking forward to joining his friends Meryl Davis and Charlie White there next fall.

posted by ice-dance.com @ 1:11 PM

MONDAY, JANUARY 22, 2007

Followed by… the Midnight Blues

It’s obvious after watching the Samba that the teams are here to skate their best and fight for a spot on the World Junior Team. The US can send 3 dance teams to the World Junior Championships in March.

Group 1
Loyd and Deavers start off the Midnight Blues. In this dance, you can see that Ashley and Amanda have a good connection to one another – an important trait in ice dancing.

Gilles and McKernan dressed in light blue and black. While this dance was smooth, I preferred their performance in the Samba.

Oswald and Withrow, dressed in purple, had a miscue in their otherwise clean blues.

Wingle and Devereaux took the ice with her in a red sparkley dress and he in black and red. Wingle and Devereaux have more unison this season – their second as a team.
Farrell and Fishpaw take the ice for their second dance. Although the peanut gallery has left, I have to comment that Clare has some of the most beautiful dresses. She and Chase look smooth in this dance.

Group 2
Kriengkrairut and Giulietti-Schmitt are next up for the Midnight Blues. Lynn is wearing a beautiful purple dress and Logan is in all black. Though a relatively new team, Lynn and Logan don’t have the appearance of one. They have a good connection to one another and their unison is coming along.

Samuelson and Bates take their positions for their blues. Their matching leg leglines make them beautiful to watch. Their confidence in visible in their expression.

Cohen and Roberts are dressed in gold and black, a different look for ‘blues’ costumes. I think they suit their personality. Lindsay and Evan are another team who relate to each other well on the ice. Their performances here will undoubtedly continue to give them more confidence.

Bosley and Corona round out group 2. Dressed in Navy and white costumes, the team seemed less tentative in this dance and did a great job.

My laptop battery was at the end of it’s life prior to the final group. The following is from my notes.

Group 3
Group 3 started off with Tomarchio & Sinchak. Dressed in red and black, the team looked thrilled to be on the ice.

Perino and Avila took the ice next with her in purple and he in black. This dance seemed more seamless for them.

Huber and Edelmann skated a smooth and expressive blues.

Hubbell and Hubbell dressed in red and black skated a strong blues with beautiful matching leg lines.

Siegel and Miller were the final team of the event. With Rachel in turquoise and Kevin in black and white, the team looked more at ease with the blues, than the samba.

MONDAY, JANUARY 22, 2007
Live from the Convention Center – It’s the Silver Samba

Group 1

It’s amazing to see so many athletes who have not competed here at ‘big’ Nationals. Case in point, Lindsay Cohen and Evan Roberts. Lindsay and Evan are having the time of their lives here and it showed in their Samba. Dressed in bright orange, they seemed slightly tentative in their Samba.

Pilar Bosley and John Corona took the ice next dressed in blue and black. It was nice to see them on the ice knowing that just last night it was questionable. Though understandably tentative in their expression, they skated smoothly. Kudo’s to Pilar & John for getting through it!

Samantha Tomarchio and Nick Sinchak took the ice third. Samantha and Nick missed a significant amount of training time this season due to a concussion sustained by Samantha last summer. Samantha took a nasty fall in practice on Saturday, but were given th eok to take the ice today.

Jessica Perino and William Avila took the ice as the last team in the group. They showed great improvement technically and in presentation since I saw them in Lake Placid.

Group 2

Brooke Huber and Karl Edelmann, dressed in costumes designed by Huber, were expressive and technically sound. The team is the first of four in the junior ice dancing event coached by Yasa Netchaeva and Youri Tchesnitchenko in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Madison Hubbell and Keiffer Hubbell took the ice in magenta and black. The team showcased their matching lines and strong expression and command of the dance.

Rachel Siegel and Kevin Miller are another team that have improved since I saw them at Lake Placid in August. This is Rachel’s first trip to ‘big’ Nationals and her mom told me she is soaking it all in.

Amanda Loyd and Ashley Deavers took thie ice next with him in black, and she in a yello dress with pink and turquoise trim. Although Ashley competed at the Championships last year, this is Amanda’s first trip. They also have improved, especially in expression of the dance. They’re also melding more as a team on the ice.

Piper Gilles and Timothy McKernan took the ice with her in a yellow fringed dress and he in black. The team continues to mature and are fitting in with the junior teams. They really sold it. I noticed more expression from Tim.

Group 3

Brianne Oswald and Buck Withrow took the ice in bright orange and black. The team competed on the Junior Grand Prix circuit this season and show improvement in their expression and confidence.

Shannon Withrow and Ryan Devereaux took the ice in magenta and black. They have nice matching leglines and good expression in the dance.

This is Chase Fishpaw’s first Nationals. He and Clare Farrell take the ice with her in a red sparkly dress and he in black. At Lake Placid, they were showing signs of recently teaming up, but they have really improved and it’s visible on the ice in this dance.

This is Lynn Kriengkrairut’s first Nationals as well. She and Logan take the ice in yellow and black. My peanut gallery is back behind me and select theirs as their favorite costumes for the Samba event. She and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt look extremely pleased to be here and show strong speed and expression in this dance.

The Peanut Gallery also state that there is too much skin showing in ice dancing costumes.

Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates, the 2006 US Junior Silver Medallists take the ice and rock it with strong expression and strong technical skills. They cap off a wonderful Samba event.

TES PCS TOTAL
Samuelson/Bates 20.46 15.08 17.77
Hubbell/Hubbell 20.08 14.85 17.47
Bosley/Corona 17.59 12.84 15.22
Gilles/McKernan 16.87 12.32 14.6
Wingle/Devereaux 16.84 12.18 14.51
Huber/Edelmann 16.46 12.16 14.31
Kriengkrairut/Giulietti-Schmitt 16.37 12.15 14.26
Tomarchio/Sinchak 16.19 11.91 14.05
Oswald/Withrow 14.82 11.33 13.08
Farrell/Fishpaw 14.47 10.26 12.37
Cohen/Roberts 13.7 10.36 12.03
Loyd/Deavers 13.5 9.4 11.45
Perino/Avila 12.74 9.81 11.28
Siegel/Miller 12.36 9.04 10.7

MONDAY, JANUARY 22, 2007

Recap From Last Night

Although I had originally planned to attend the senior free dance practices last night, I stayed at the Convention Center to
watch the junior cd/od practices. Michelle graciously offered the use of her camera, so I will be posting some on ice photography later today. In the Convention Center, the lighting doesn’t work well for my smaller ‘point and shoot’ camera which explains the lack of on ice photos posted.

Unfortunately, another accident occurred in the first group when Pilar Bosley slid into the boards during a run-through of their original dance. Although she got up and they quickly regrouped to attempt to finish the program, there was another fall and this time, she was assisted off the ice to visit with the medical team. As of this ‘blogging’, she is planning to try to skate in the event and she is under the care of the medical team at the arena. Many of you may recall that Pilar was one of the earliest victims of the “Savvis Sickness” that with no rhyme or reason attacked competitors, media, parents and coaches at the 2006 Championships in St. Louis. She is a tough cookie and I hope today is a successful one for her.

From watching the practices, I have deduced the junior teams have brought their ‘A games’. The JGP Final medallists are showing why they rocked in Sofia, while the teams who competed at internationals this year are showing a higher level of confidence and improvement. I see great improvement in the teams that I saw earlier this season at Lake Placid – Kriengkrairut/Giulietti-Schmitt, Siegel/Miller, Perino/Avila, Farrell/Fishpaw and Loyd/Deavers. It’s shaping up to be an incredible event.

Of course it doesn’t hurt that my favorite compulsory dance is the silver samba 🙂

posted by ice-dance.com @ 8:11 AM

SUNDAY, JANUARY 21, 2007

Spokane, etc.

I took a brief hiatus from my work in the rink to have a bite to eat with none other than Mombo #9 & co. at a cute little irish restaurant on Main Street. It was nice to take a break from rink time to visit with friends and see a bit of Spokane (just a few blocks). On the walk back, we passed a beautiful park and carousel. We also stopped at what I believe was a novelty-type shop. I probably could have stayed in there for the rest of the day, but returned to the Spokane Convention Center for practice and events.

posted by ice-dance.com @ 5:00 PM

SUNDAY, JANUARY 21, 2007

Compulsory Commentary

I want to make a plug for the ladies sitting behind me during the compulsory dances. Not only were they pointing out technical cues and miscues, but also critiquing the appropriateness of costume choices. Their paso doble preferred costumes came from Michaela Cook and Jordan Cowan and Megan Evans and Nathan Truesdell. I’m one to form opinions on my own, but it’s always fun to hear what other people think, as they tend to view it differently. It’s what makes the world continue to spin.

posted by ice-dance.com @ 12:48 PM

SUNDAY, JANUARY 21, 2007

Off Topic – Kaitlyn Weaver

This is a quick congratulations to Kaitlyn Weaver (2006 Junior Pewter Medallist with Charles Clavey) on her successes at Canadian Nationals. At the Senior level, she and partner, Andrew Poje, won the bronze medal and have been named to the 2007 World Championships team for Canada

posted by ice-dance.com @ 12:40 PM

SATURDAY, JANUARY 20, 2007

Beautiful Spokane

Spokane is a beautiful location, although there is more snow on the ground here today than I have seen in Maine all winter. The locals are friendly and eager to assist you – from the bus drivers, to the hotel staff, to the event coordinators – everyone greets you with a smile and ‘how can I help you?’. The shuttles seem to run smoothly, and are handicap accessible.

I am currently enjoying my stay at the exquisite Davenport Hotel. The staff has gone above and beyond to insure that we are comfortable and happy with our surroundings.

I have more to share, but sleep calls as the event officially starts tomorrow with the Novice CD’s at 10:50. More later…

posted by ice-dance.com @ 10:55 PM

SATURDAY, JANUARY 20, 2007

Saturday Practices

(I am still adjusting to the time change. Of course I’ll be in perfect synch with it once it’s time to return to the East Coast).

Today’s dance practices were without incident until Samantha Tomarchio fell during Junior CD/OD practice earlier tonight. She was assisted off the ice and assessed by arena medical personnel who about 15 minutes later brought her across the ice to the other ‘exit’. The rink in the convention center appears to be ‘man-made’ with bleacher seating for spectators. I do not have any information about Samantha’s condition, but will post as soon as I receive word on how she is doing. For those who aren’t aware, Tomarchio & Sinchak’s training was cut short this summer when she sustained a concussion from a fall during practice.

posted by ice-dance.com @ 9:00 PM

SATURDAY, JANUARY 20, 2007

7 Hours & 3 Time Zones Later…

Whenever I make travel arrangements, I have come to expect that when the travel day arrives, the itinerary will change or there will be another glitch. Other than my trip to St. Louis, none of my air trips has been smooth. This trip was no different. Unlike last year, Michelle and I booked to arrive a day prior to the Saturday practices. I felt it was important to take the opportunity to view the programs in preparation for covering the ice dancing events for ice-dance.com and US Figure Skating. We also booked to take the same flight from Minneapolis to Spokane.

Unfortunately, due to delays with flights in Detroit, my original plan was scrapped and my new route became Manchester, NH to Chicago, IL to Spokane, WA. I remained suprisingly calm throughout the rebooking. The new plan would put me in Spokane at the same time as the other route.

I did arrive on time and waited for Michelle to arrive before heading to the hotel.

posted by ice-dance.com @ 8:58 AM

FRIDAY, JANUARY 19, 2007

Pre-Nationals Notes

Welcome to ice-dance.com’s 2007 US National Championships weblog. It seems like just yesterday, I was attending my first National Championships in St. Louis, Missouri.

I have heard glowing reviews from friends who have attended previous events in Spokane. Many have said that the preparation and implentation from the LOC in Spokane is incredible, so I am looking forward to seeing this first hand.

Though actual trips to Spokane begin today, travel plans were made several months ago, though no one could have predicted the astronomical amount of snow that has fallen in Denver. It’s almost like playing chess when making travel plans, as you are hoping to avoid being taken out by snow storms, ice, high winds, or other force of nature. For me, I selected Manchester, NH to Detroit, MI to Minneapolis, MN, to SPOKANE. Though others have picked short layovers in alternate airports, I chose to fly straight across in my first trip to the West Coast.

Safe travels to all who are on the roads and in the air today… See you in SPOKANE!

posted by ice-dance.com @ 9:37 AM