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2022 Nationals: Senior Dance

by Liz Leamy



Chock and Bates Edge Out Hubbell and Donohue to Take Lead in U.S. Championship Rhythm Dance

(9 January 2022)  Madison Chock and Evan Bates, the two-time World bronze medalists and two-time U.S. titlists, floated through their electric Billie Eilish program to clinch first in the U.S. Championship Rhythm Dance, edging out longtime rivals and fellow training partners, Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, the three-time World medalists and three-time U.S. titlists, by more than two and a half points with a 91.94.

Looking like characters from a Hollywood movie, Chock, wearing a stunning electric green dress and Bates, donned in black, racked up big points with their silken-like skating that was defined by light-as-air edges, ease of movement, quickness and flow, among other things.

In their program, Chock and Bates opened up with gorgeous edges and turns in their Midnight Blues and followed it up with an intricate pattern dance step sequence, cool curve lift (in which she stood on his legs), lightning-quick twizzles done in perfect synch and a midline step sequence that fit ideally to the music ‘Bad Guy.’

Remarkably, the duo scored unanimous plus-five grade of execution marks for their level four lift from all officials on the nine-member judging panel, an occurrence that doesn’t happen very often in the sport.

For Chock and Bates, it was all about having fun, though.

“It was so much fun performing out there in front of the crowd here in Nashville,” said Chock, who, along with Bates, trains in Montreal with Marie France-Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon. “Every second was so enjoyable. It was wonderful.”

Chock and Bates also mentioned all the hard work they’ve been putting into their training recently, especially with the ISU Grand Prix final having been cancelled last December which opening up more time for them to practice.

“It’s a true testament to our training,” said Chock. “We just polished and smoothed out all the details we wanted to.”

The two also said they really enjoy doing this program.

“We just put our heart into this program,” said Chock. “It’s just very fun and inspiring for us every time we skate it.”

Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donahue wound up second on the leaderboard with their vibrant and lively program to a Janet Jackson medley that generated an 89.39 score.

Dressed in striking black outfits, Hubbell and Donohue turned up the heat as they performed all of their technical elements with powerand command.

In their program, Hubbell and Donohue skated with attack, performing their footwork sequences, lifts and spins with strength and ownership, efforts which did not get lost on the crowd, who gave them a standing ovation at its conclusion.

In regard to marks, Hubbell and Donohue were awarded plus-four and plus-five grade of execution points, specifically for their step sequence and lift.

This duo, who, like Chock and Bates, also train in Montreal with Marie France-Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon, intonated that this performance provided them with yet another opportunity for growth.

“We didn’t up and back off and play it safe,” said Hubbell. “I’ll say ‘let’s just skate full out and attack it. Zach and I are always striving for excellence and striving for our best.”

Caroline Green and Michael Parsons scored the third-highest marks, an 80.85, for their high-octane program to Janet Jackson’s ‘The Knowledge’ and ‘Rhythm Nation’ and ‘You’re Never Gonna Get It’ by En Vogue.

Green and Parsons, who have only been skating together for just more than a year and a half, put the pedal to the metal and in turn, earned plus-three and plus-four grade of execution marks for their twizzle, pattern dance step and midline step sequences, skating their turns and steps with power, understanding and deep edges.

The two were also a big hit with the crowd and generated loud applause for their interpretation of the music, speed and presentation, among other things.

“I think we’ve built a really strong trust together,” said Michael Parsons, who, along with Green, train with in Leesburg, Virginia with Elena Novak, Alexei Kiliakov, Jimmie Manners, Ruslan Goncharov and Meredith Jones. “I’m just lucky to be with a really strong person.”

In terms of their successful outcome in this portion of the competition, the two, who are said to have been a hit on the ISU Grand Prix circuit earlier in the season, said it’s all about building upon a foundation through training and competitive experience.

“We’ve really tried to create unique programs,” said Parsons. “As this year has progressed, we’ve really come into our own.”