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2019 Nationals: Senior Dance Free Dance

by Liz Leamy


Hubbell and Donohue Score Second U.S. Dance Title

(27 January 2019)  Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue, the 2018 World silver medalists and 2018 U.S. Champions, scored their second consecutive U.S. title finishing on top of the 12-entry field at this year’s U.S. dance event with a resounding 215.88 total score.

Skating to the edgy and captivating 1996 ‘Romeo and Juliet’ film soundtrack, this duo, known for their flow, body lean, quick turns and steps and deep edges, performed dizzying, well-formed lifts, intricate step sequences and highly technical twizzles and other exciting elements.

Perhaps more than anything, it was obvious why Hubbell & Donohue, the 2018 International Skating Union Championship Grand Prix champions, are currently ranked as one of the top dance teams in the world.  

For Hubbell, a Sylvania, Ohio native, and Donohue, originally from Madison, Connecticut, the key seems to be all about just striving to be their best, whether it be in competition or practice. (They train in Montreal with Marie France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon.)

Hubbell & Donohue said they are also excited to be part of this next generation of U.S. ice dancers.

“To be part of this journey is an honor,” said Donohue.

According to Hubbell, the team plans to focus on further developing the artistic storyline and narrative of their free dance in terms of preparing for Worlds, which will be held in Tokyo in March.

“What we would [really] love to [further] develop is the story and the connection,” said Hubbell.

Madison Chock & Evan Bates, the two-time World medalists and 2015 U.S. Champions, clinched silver with their entertaining free dance to ‘Fever’ by Elvis Presley and Michael Buble and ‘Burning Love’ by Elvis Presley, which put their total final score at 211.52.

This duo, who also train with Dubreuil and Lauzon in Montreal, knocked out expert lifts, twizzles and footwork with visible aptitude and ease, which earned them big points.

Excited about their performance, Chock & Bates said the key for their continuing to grow, move forward and ultimately achieve their dreams is to continue building their inner strength and self-confidence.

“The self belief we’re feeling right now is really the strength that is going to carry us [to] where we want to go,” said Bates.

Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker, the 2018 ISU Championship Grand Prix finalists, racked up their highest-ever U.S. Championship placement to date, claiming bronze in this event with a 196.95 total score.

This duo, who also trains in Montreal with Dubreuil and Lauzon, earned high scores for their fast, powerful program to ‘In this Shirt’ by the Irrepressibles.

As the final team of the night to perform, Hawayek & Baker exhibited terrific flow, deep edges, wonderful turns and steps, and fast-moving lifts in their program, among other things.

According to Hawayek, training in Montreal with the other U.S. teams, as well as with so many of the other accomplished dancers representing other countries who are there has been a huge inspiration for them.

“Everyday we go to the rink and feel inspired,” said Hawayek. “I’m really excited to continue.”