Chock and Bates Top Leaderboard in Short Dance
by Liz Leamy
(25 January 2020) Madison Chock & Evan Bates, the 2015 U.S. titlists and two-time World medalists, skated their way to the top of the leaderboard in the short dance, edging out the 2019 champions, Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue due to their dynamite-like short dance to Cole Porter’s ‘Too Darn Hot’ for which they scored an 87.63.
The duo, who has been training alongside Hubbell and Donohue in Montreal with coaches Patrice Lauzon and Marie France-Dubreuil for the last year and a half, knocked it out of the park with this program, choreographed by France-Dubreuil and Sam Chouinard, which was defined by terrific artistry, skating skills and choreography.
Notably, almost every one of this team’s movements matched the inflections of the music, as their arms both flew about as fitting accents to their great turns, steps, lift and edges, something that did not get lost on the audience, who clapped for them in earnest.
Although Chock had a tiny misstep on the Finn Step portion of this program, it didn’t seem to affect the overall presentation and execution of their work.
“We’re very proud of today’s skate,” said Bates. “I think it was as free and spontaneous as we’ve been all season. I’m very pleased with how things went and we’re looking forward to skating tomorrow.”
Hubbell & Donohue, who are the 2018 U.S. titlists and like Chock and Bates, are two-time World medalists, racked up the second-highest scores of the event, an 86.31, with their entertaining program that revolved around a Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio theme.
Hubbell, who bore a startling impression to Monroe with her coiffed platinum hairstyle, Hollywood-style makeup and stunning red dress, while Donohue wore a fun baseball-themed outfit complete with pinstripes, displayed their characteristic power, presence and quickness.
They did have a slight step down, however, which affected their overall score slightly.
Still, they were as solid as ever and stand to build their score to potentially reclaim the U.S. title with a stellar free dance.
“It’s a competition and we want to skate our best,” said Hubbell, an Ohio native. “[Overall], it’s been a really smooth season for this program.”
Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker, the 2019 U.S. bronze medalists, earned the third-biggest numbers for their fantastic disco-themed program to the ‘Saturday Night Fever’ soundtrack, an 82.59 as well as a rousing standing ovation from the crowd.
This duo, who also trains with France-Dubreuil and Lauzon in Montreal, racked up big points for their lightning-quick footwork, moving lifts and hyper-speed power as well as theatrical presence.
For this team, their performance was a victory on all fronts.
“We were thrilled with the performance,” said Baker. “We want to have a lot of fun and have the audience have as much fun as we did.”
Hawayek said the two have enjoyed doing the program all year, as it has a theme that is uplifting, nostalgic and inspirational.
“Even at seven in the morning [in the freezing weather] in Montreal, there’s something about [skating] the program and music,” said Hawayek, a Michigan native. “It’s an incredibly fun program to train and perform and we were thrilled to bring that joy to other people as well.”
The duo is looking forward to the free dance portion of the competition, meanwhile.
“Right now our focus is on the end of the season,” said Baker. “We want to put out two strong performances [here].”