by Anne Calder | Photo by Robin Ritoss
Bordeaux, France hosted the fourth stop in the 2015 Grand Prix Series November 13-15. Seven ice dance teams from six countries competed.
Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue (USA) floated into first place with an ethereal performance to “Hallelujah” by K.D. Lang.
The song and the duo have a special connection. Hubbell and her brother, Keiffer, skated together for 10 years prior to her partnership with Donohue in 2011. Hubbell was nervous competing without her sibling. Donohue began singing “Hallelujah” to calm his partner. It soon became an inspiration for the couple.
“It’s a program we’re really connected to and is really a joy to skate”, Hubbell commented at the press conference.
The program earned levels 4 and 3 for the Waltz patterns and level 4 for the twizzles and curve lift. The team received a season best 64.45 score.
After the 2015 World Championships, Hubbell & Donohue moved to Montreal, Canada to train with Marie-France Dubreull & Patrice Lauzon. Trophee Bombard was their first major event since they changed coaches. The team won gold in September at the Challenger Series US International Figure Skating Classic in Salt Lake City.
Hubbell & Donohue compete next at NHK in Nagano, Japan, November 27-29. The event is the final qualifier for the Grand Prix Final.
Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier (CAN), dressed in Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney’s costumes from the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover, marched into second place. The program earned a season’s best 63.94. The twizzles and rotational lift received level 4, while the waltz patterns were level 3. Poirier spoke to the press about their component scores, which were the highest in the SD.
“This program is getting stronger and stronger and our components are going up, which is something that we really want to be working on this year,” Poirier said.
Gilles & Poirier’s short dance has many layers and subtleties. It opens with a forty second vocal to the Beatles’, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” while the skaters perform their twizzles. A harpsichord then introduces the music of Mozart and Rameau, which transports them to an 18th century dream state for their waltz and march. At the end, the Beatles song is briefly reintroduced for their return to the real world.
Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin (RUS) were third with 60.64 points for their short dance performed to the soundtrack of the film, The Stuntman. The twizzles and straight-line lift earned level 4.
Last season, Stepanova & Bukin debuted a new twizzle done in the “shoot the duck” position. In this version of the element, the skater bends all the way down to the ice and glides on one foot while kicking the other foot completely forward. The unique twizzle is now a signature move for the European bronze medalists.
4. Penny Coomes & Nicholas Buckland (GBR) – 58.34
5. Laurence Fournier Beaudry & Nicholaj Sorensen (DEN) – 54.72
6. Anna Yanovskaya & Sergey Mozgov (RUS) – 52.88
7. Alisa Agafonova & Alper Ucar (TUR) – 47.64
World Champions Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) withdrew prior to the event for medical reasons.
FREE DANCE CANCELLED
“I regret to inform you that due to the day of mourning in France and, most of all, the state of emergency in France, the French government has decided to cancel the Trophee, the fourth stage of the Grand Prix,” French Federation of Ice Sports President Didier Gailhaguet said.