by Klaus-Reinhold Kany
(8 November 2021) The ice dance competition at the Grand Prix in Turin had a very good level, with three world class teams and several not far from world class. There was no fall in the Rhythm Dance and only one in the free dance.
Four times World Champions Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron from France paused the whole last season and did not even take part in the World Championships in Sweden. But now they are back, won the Masters competition in France, the Finlandia Trophy and now their first Grand Prix of this season in Turin.
Their music pieces for the Rhythm Dance are by U.S. pop singer John Legend, The Hip Hop “Made For Love“, the Blues and another part from “U Move, I Move.“ The levels in their five elements were not yet very high, but they always say they concentrate on performance in the fall and work on the levels later in the season. The twizzle sequence, the lift and the midline step sequence had several GOEs of +5. Their performance in their Waacking street dance was as stellar as usual.
Papadakis commented on their program, “We changed the second music of the program after Finlandia and the choreography a bit as well. We worked with our choreographer to choreograph something new. I think it was very clean and we had a lot of fun working on that, it was a big improvement. It was Marie-France (Dubreuil) who came up with the idea of a Waacking dance and we loved it at once. We were looking for a specialist because we didn't know anything about this dance, which comes from the gay movement of the 1980 and died when AIDS spread. Arms and body and legs do what they need. We made it our own. Because of Covid we had much time to work without stress.“
In their new free dance, they use classical music which is quite unknown: Elégie for cello and piano by 19th century French composer Gabriel Fauré. The performance was absolutely outstanding, the components had an average of 9.7 with nine perfect 10.0 for performance, composition and interpretation of the music. They collected higher levels than in the Rhythm Dance and GOEs of +4 and +5 dominated for all ten elements. Cizeron said, “We are happy with our performance today, we made some improvements technically. We pushed ourselves during the last weeks. There are still a lot of things to work on for the next Grand Prix and the Final. It's a whole year's process, we go step by step and we improve what needs to be improved.“
In their last season as competitors, Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue took the silver medal with 207.90 points. Therefore they are the first ice dance team to be qualified for the Grand Prix Final in December 2021 after winning Skate America and being second in Italy. In their Rhythm Dance in Turin to a medley of Janet Jackson songs, the levels were mixed, but the five elements had GOEs of mainly +4 and the components an average of 9.4.
“Drowning” by Anne Sila, the World silver medalists of 2021 had difficult new lifts and other excellent elements. The GOEs were mainly +4 and the components around 9.3. During the choreographic lift Hubbell bumped a bit against Donohue’s lower body. He joked, “I’m still getting my voice back."
Hubbell commented, “After our first Grand Prix we went home and we made some improvements, mainly in the free dance. We are a bit disappointed with the score today. We chose that song because we worked with acrobats. They are the lift coaches and they worked with this music in another show and suggested it.”
The bronze medal with 202.18 points went to Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin from the Moscow school of Irina Zhuk and Alexander Svinin. The Grand Prix was their first competition of this season. They only said about the reasons, “We had problems.“ The levels in the Rhythm Dance to music of the Backstreet Boys were as mixed as for the other top teams, but the GOEs mainly +3 and the components around 9.1.
Stepanova commented on the Rhythm Dance, “We were not confident enough, We would have loved to compete somewhere before, but it is what it is so we did our best. Physically we are not there yet, and the skate today was good - even in the practices we skated worse.“
In the free, they mainly danced to “Romeo and Juliet” in the version of Nino Rota. The levels were good, the GOEs mainly +3 and the components around 9.2. “Today we are not as happy as yesterday because we lacked speed and power and hence some emotions were missing,“ Stepanova remarked. “It's a dance that is full of emotions, it's about love, and we were unable to show the whole story.”
Shiyue Wang & Xinyu Liu from China, who train in the Montreal Ice Academy on site or online, placed fourth with 184.59 points. In the Rhythm Dance to a Hip Hop and a Blues by Elvis Presley, they had only level 1 in two step sequences, but well executed elements. Their free dance to “Kung Fu Piano“ by the Piano Guys was faultless with high speed and had mainly GOEs of +2 and +3.
U.S. ice dancers Caroline Green & Michael Parsons from the school of Alexei Kiliakov in Leesburg, Virginia, are fifth in their third season together, earning 178.26 points. In the Rhythm Dance they had relatively high levels and were even fourth. They credit this success to their new Hip Hop coach Jimmie Manners in the team. Their free dance to music by Ezio Bosso was also very good, with one exception, Green fell on the exit of the curve combination lift. But nevertheless they made quick progress together. Their main goal is to qualify for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
Evgenia Lopareva & Geoffrey Brissaud from Lyon in France came sixth with 174.63 points. In their free dance to new versions of music by Johann Sebastian Bach, they had good levels.
Canadians Carolane Soucisse & Shane Firus from the school of Carol Lane in Scarborough near Toronto are seventh with 163.86 points. In their free, they danced to two songs of the late French singer Charles Aznavour.
Katharina Mueller and Tim Dieck from Germany finished on eighth place with 158.97 points. They mainly train under Anjelika Krylova in Moscow. They used songs by Whitney Houston from “Bodyguard“ for the free dance, but had low levels. Hong Chen & Zhuoming Sun placed ninth with 158.12 points. Like their teammates on fourth position, they train in Montreal if they are allowed to come to Canada. If not, then online with the team coaches.
Carolina Moscheni & Francesco Fioretti from Italy ended up tenth with 140.83 points. They have been training together only for some months.