by Geri Walbert
(20 January 2017) The Short Dance rhythms this season for Junior Short Dance are the Blues plus one or more of either Swing, or Hip Hop. For Juniors Pattern Dance elements include two sequences of Blues, either skated one after the other or separately must be skated on a different side of the ice surface, one Short Lift, one not touching Midline, Diagonal or Circular Step Sequence skated to a different rhythm than the Blues and one set of Sequential Twizzles. Duration is two minutes, 40 seconds, plus or minus 10 seconds.
The open draw of the Short Dance in Kansas City were the first three of the top contenders for the overall title this year.
First up was Lorraine McNamara, 19, & Quinn Carpenter, 21, who train in Rockville, MD with Alexei Kiliakov, Elena Novak & Dmitri IIin. They have been competing at the junior dance level since 2011, winning two national bronze medals, a silver medal, and in the past two years were the US Junior Dance Champions. They won the 2015 Junior Grand Prix Final and a silver medal at the 2015 World Junior Championships. This very experienced team is expected to vie for their 3rd national title this year. Only their recent loss at the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final in Marseille to teammates Rachel & Michael Parsons who won that event, makes their quest for a 3rd title not a given.
They appeared on the ice performing to “The Power” by District 78 for their Blues and two Hip Hop pieces “Vanguaridan” by Steed Lord and “Gala” by Claude Chalie and Jean-Marc Chalie. Their marks for Executed Elements were rated Level 4 to score 37.39 points with Program Components of 33.05 points and no deductions. Although the point total of 70.44 was very strong they lost this dance to their main rivals, the Parson siblings, who skated just after them.
The team remained positive, saying overall they were very happy with their performance and looked forward to the Free Dance on Friday.
Coming off their win at the recent Junior Grand Prix Final, Rachel & Michael Parsons, who also train in Rockville, MD with the same coaches have battled with their teammates since 2011, with a 4th place at nationals, then a 3rd the following year and two silver medals. They chose two Hip Hop medley pieces, including “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody” by Fergie, and their Blues, “Born to Die” by Lana Del Rey. Their elegant performance rated 38.49 for elements and 33.93 for components, tipping their total score by nearly 2 points to win this portion of the event.
The Parsons said working on the Hip Hop elements this season was challenging but they relished the opportunity and really enjoy working on compulsory dances like the Blues.
Performing 4th in the lineup was Christina Carreira, 18, & Anthony Ponomarenko, 19, who placed 3rd in the Short Dance with “Why Don’t You Do Right” for their Blues and “Cool Cat in Town” by Tape Five. Ponomarenko is the son of Marina Klimova & Sergei Ponomarenko, the 3-time world dance champions (1989, 1990,1992) and the 1992 Olympic champions. Although the teams has been working with Igor Shpilbands’ group in Novi, MI, the past 3 years, Ponomarenko said his Mom and Dad, who is now an ISU Technical Specialist, are very supportive and helpful.
Their Executed Elements score was 35.37 and their Component score was 31.40 for a total of 66.77 points. They received Level 4 for all elements except the step sequence that was awarded a Level 3.
Their teammates, Chloe Lewis, 16, & Logan Bye, 18, took 4th place with a Blues “Save My Soul” and Swing routine to “Jumpin’ Jack” both performed by Big Bad VooDoo Daddy, coached and choreographed by Igor Sphilband. Their final score of 60.66, included 32.71 points for Executed Elements and 27.89 points for Components. They received two Level 3s for the 1st Blues section and the step sequence, the other elements were rated Level 4.
Fifth place finishers, Eliana Gropman & Ian Somerville were well behind the leaders with a total overall score of 52.95 points.