Original Dance

by Alexandra Stevenson

TOP TWO COUPLES IN A CLASS BY THEMSELVES

How wonderful to have a rematch with the top two ice dance couples. The last two Olympic champions, Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat of France and Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov of Russia, took their gold and ran for the hills.

1.Total Score After Original Dance 114.40; 1.OD only 70.27 (34.30+35.97);Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir from Ilderton in Ontario, performed a Flamenco to Farrucas by Pepe Romero. They received +3 Grade of Execution from three of the nine judges for their Level 4 circular steps. Their Level 4 sequential twizzles gained six +3s. Their Level 4 curve lift also excited six judges to punch in +3. And their final move, the Level 3 Non-touching Midline steps gained five +3s.

He said, "Tessa and I were pretty excited about our performance today, pretty pleased with where we brought the program the last two weeks. It was a very strong technical skate. I donít think we quite had the magic that we had at the Games but we are pleased with the performance."

She explained that capturing the intensity of this dance was a matter of practice. "Our job requires us to get in and out of character, for all the sections, not just the Original. We worked a lot with Flamenco dancers who lived and trained in Spain. A lot of that passion that they taught us now comes from within. Once itís over, weíre pleased with that performance and weíre already thinking about tomorrowís skate.

"There was such pressure and stress that comes along with that, and everything seemed to be heightened, so all the emotions are extremely intense and the highs are even higher than usual and the lows are even lower. Just managing that stress and dealing with that and skating before a home crowd, I donít think weíll be in a situation quite like that again, but we can definitely take that and use that. Just dealing with the nerves and dealing with the pressure is more a mental thing for us than anything Ė being able to go out there and do what we are able to do every day at home."

2. 112.54; 2.OD 69.29 (34.12+35.19); Meryl Davis and Charlie White performed their East Indian routine to Kajra Re by Shankar-Ehseen-Loy; and two pieces by Sameer, Nusret Badr, Slislla Ye Chaahat Ka and Dola Re Dola. They received Level 4 for all four of their required elements. However, they received a total of "only" eight +3s.

On being asked whether they were sorry to see the end for this routine, Davis smiled and answered, "Weíll be doing it forty more times on tour. It was a really good performance. This program is really special to us, so to be able to put out that level of performance for the last competitive original dance of the season was great. Weíre up against really tough competitors here. The judges gave us a personal best, and we also felt that way."

White said, "We believe the Olympic Games were an experience that helped us improve as skaters and as performers. I think we came to Worlds and stepped it up a bit. Obviously, with earning a seasonís best, weíre very pleased. I think itís the same amount of pressure. We always put some on ourselves to go out there and perform our best. Itís no more pressure than usual."

But Davis disagreed, "There isnít as much pressure here as there was at the Olympic Games. Those only come around once every four years. The World Championships is more of familiar territory for us. Itís nice to not have the weight of the Olympic Games on our shoulders."

Asked what sparked d their interest in performing an Indian number, she explained, "Marina (Zueva, one of their coaches) had seen some Indian scarves last season in Madrid. She was inspired by the colors, and thought about us. When she came home, she suggested that we do an Indian-themed program this season."

3. 100.01; 3.OD 59.16 (27.90+31.26); Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali performed to two Tarantellas, Tamurriata Napoletana and Pizzicata Calabbria. They received no +3 GoEs and only two Level 4s which were gained by their curve lift and the Non-touching steps. Their Circular steps were Level 3 and the twizzles got only Level 1.

He said, "We are really happy with our performance today. There were a few mistakes in the twizzles, so it wasnít perfect. We try all the time to improve and to do better. But this time we exaggerated and our bodies got too close. Iím really proud of how we skated with the crowd screaming like at a soccer game. We are very excited and happy.

"Being so close to a medal, and being in Italy is exciting but it increases the pressure. We are trying to translate that into something positive. We will try to go on the ice and do our best, using this feeling when we are on the ice. Vancouver was our third Olympics, so Iím starting to feel old. Vancouver didnít change us because we had already had that experience twice before. What was different was that we were trying to enjoy every second of the experience both on the ice and off. That had been missing in the previous two Games. There we were thinking too much about marks and positions."

She said, "It was not easy because we knew that we had to do our best for us and for this amazing audience here in the Palavela. This is an extraordinary power.Furthermore, this is the end of the season."

4. 96.30; 4.OD 58.55 (27.90+31.26); Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France skated to Thank God, Iím a Country Boy by Roy Rivers and Dolly Parton; and Itís Not Over Now by Dale Watson. They gained Level 4 for the Non-touching steps and their straight line steps, Level 3 for their Circular steps and Level 2 for their twizzles.

Bourzat missed a twizzle. He explained, "Itís one of these things. It just happened. I didnít miss a twizzle all week. I think that in practice since the Olympics, I might have missed one of out five. We wanted to finish with a good performance." He said having to skate immediately after the Italians who received a staggering audience response, did not affect them.

She said, "The error was costly. Itís too bad. We would have had a chance to overtake the Italians. The rest of the program went well. We had some good levels. I think we got Level 4s for the Midline Footwork for the first time this season."

5. 95.79; 5.OD 58.23 (28.60+29.63); Scottish siblings Sinead and John Kerr have ditched their Original to Johnny Cashís famous Iíve Been on Everywhere Man.

They wrote on their website, www.SineadandJohn.com, "Itís been a long season. This will be our 9th competition, and it is because of this that we decided to make some changes to what we present at the Worlds. We both just felt a little tired of performing this seasonís routine and everyoneís asked about our Scottish dance for the whole season."

John wore a kilt with suitably modest underwear since he could not wear the heavy centerpiece which makes certain this piece of clothing does not normally fly up. Performing, after the second ice cut, immediately before the second Canadians and the US champions, they earned two Level 4s, for their twizzles and their curve lift, and two Level 3s.

Sinead said, "We love this dance, therefore we performed it with our hearts." However, it is not the same routine since the required elements have changed. She explained, "That meant we had to start from the opposite end of the rink."

He said, "Last time we did this in competition was the 2008 Worlds so it was nice to do it one more time competitively. It was a lot of fun for us. I think what made it easier was that we performed it in exhibitions over the last year or so. We had to adjust it to make it more like a competitive routine but I think we were able to do a pretty good job with that."

6. 91.79; 9.OD 54.28 (25.60+28.68); Jana Khokhlova and Sergei Novitski, from Moscow, skated to Russian Folk Music, Vdol po Piterskoi. They received only one Level 4 which was for their lift. The circular steps were only Level 2 and the other two elements Level 3. After this section they withdrew due to his physical health.

7. 89.92; 6.OD 56.13 (28.60+27.53); Alexandra and Roman Zaretski of Israel moved up a place, performing to the famous joyful music Hava Nagila. They received two Level 4s for their twizzles and their curve lift, and two Level 3s.

She said, "The Original Dance is hard to do. It is two minutes and 50 seconds and the elements come one after another o you cannot relax for a single second. You cannot relax in the Free Dance, either, but there are a few calm moments." He said, "Iím glad that this is the last performance of the Original. We got a little tired of it. It has been a long season. It felt easy to skate and, emotionally, it was very good. The twizzle was a bit off, but a lot of people had trouble with twizzles today."

8. 89.08; 7.OD 56.13 (28.60+27.53); Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier from Canada performed a Flamenco to En Malaga performed by Roger Scannura, and moved up a place. They gained Level 4s, for their Non-touching steps and Rotational lift, and two Level 3s.

Crone said, "For sure, this was the best performance of the season. Iím happy because we did all we could. Thatís a big thing with us. I feel really satisfied with how we skated today." Poirier said, "We chose this music because we like to experiment and had a lot of fun extending ourselves. I think that Spanish music in general is good to skate to."

9. 87.47; 8.OD 55.04 (30.40+24.64); Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev of Russia performed to the Russian music Yablochko moving up two places. They earned all Level 4s.

Soloviev said, "This is the first time in our lives when weíve got all Level 4s Ė and it was in the World Championship! We are so happy. We were practicing very hard before Worlds so it would have been really disappointing if that hadnít produced results. We hadnít had a clean performance yet this season. We were very happy it happened here.

"We would like to finish in the top ten because that is possible if we do a clean free. It is very important for us because we want to honor our choreographer (who died before their national championship). We miss her very much and we want to perform our Free Dance the way she taught us."

Bobrova said, "This is very important for us because, after the Olympics, we put all our efforts into the step sequences to make sure we would get at least a Level 3. And they got 4s!"

10. 85.45; 12.OD 51.40 (24.80+26.60); Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte, Italy, executed a Folk Dance to Return to Sorrento and a Tarantella to music by Rossini but he put a foot down on his twizzles and they dropped three places. They gained only one Level 4, for their straight line lift. The twizzles were still Level 3 but with 0.60 taken off the GoE. The other two moves were Level 2.

He said, "Today, we had more pressure and we made some mistakes. We have to improve and try to put more power on the legs when we skate. In the next few years our goal is to become the top Italian couple."

She said, "Today was not the best day we have ever had. But, at the same time, it was really nice performing at home. Itís normal to do some mistake but tomorrow we want to finish the performance feeling that we have done our best, which we didnít today."

11.85.40; 10.OD 52.79 (26.50+26.29); Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates performed an American Folk Dance to a Dixie Chicks Medley. Despite earning 10th in both sections, they dropped a place because of the seesawing of placements. They gained Level 4 for their straight line lift and for their twizzles. The other two elements received Level 2.

He explained, "Skating with jeans is a little bit difficult but the hat is not a problem. I trained everyday wearing it and now that seems natural."

About their showing, she said, "It was great. It felt really solid and really strong. On the straight line footwork I could have been over my edges a little bit more but, overall, weíre skating exactly how we had planned and weíre really happy with the way we performed. It was a lot of fun Ė this is probably my favorite program weíve ever done."

He said, "It was awesome. Weíre definitely happy with the performance. I think it was the best of the whole year. It felt really solid and weíre really happy with it.

"We hope to carry that momentum through to tomorrow. For the Free Dance, weíre skating to an Italian opera piece Canto Della Terra sung by Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli. Itís pretty cool to be performing that in Italy. Hopefully the crowd will like it and connect with it and enable us to give a good performance.

"For today, we were encouraged to choose an authentic piece of music from our home country. We knew right away we wanted to do American Folk. We had the Olympics in mind, and were really hoping to make the Olympic Team. We wanted to be able to represent our country with American Folk music. Everything went according to plan this year."

About skating in the 2006 Olympic venue, she said, "Itís pretty cool to go from Vancouver to here. To be able to say that we competed in two Olympic venues in one season is awesome."

12. 83.38; 11.OD 51.91 (26.80+25.11); Nora Hoffmann and Max Zavozin did a Hungarian Czardas climbing a place. They earned Level 4 for their twizzles and rotation lift and Level 2 for the other two elements.

He said, "Today we are very happy because we felt confident and really enjoyed skating for the crowd. It was the best performance in the Original this season." She said, "We canít wait to prepare properly for next year because this season we had only a short time because of the injuries that lost us much training time."

13. 81.69; 15.OD 50.33 (26.40+23.93); Kimberly Navarro and Brent Bommentre performed a Brazilian-Afroshay to Quero Voltar Pra Angola by Alex Shaw. They received Level 4s for their sequential twizzles and their rotational lift. Their circular steps were Level 3 and their non-touching steps Level 2.

She said, "I thought it was our best performance this season. It felt strong and controlled." He said, "We like to be able to express ourselves in our programs. I thought we definitely did that today. For us to do something new keeps us interested in skating. If we couldnít challenge ourselves, we wouldnít be here."

Bommentre said, "Our goals for the free skate are to have fun, skate well and perform well for the crowd. We wanted to do something this year that was original, fun, interesting and that really challenged us."

Navarro added, "That was one of the great things about this Ė learning about the culture. We learned about the dance, we learned how to play the drums - not well! Ė but it all really helped us understand and feel the dance."

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