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U.S. International Figure Skating Classic - Dance Original and Ladies Short

by Alexandra Stevenson

Davis and White Shine on Road to Olympic Gold

1.  73.67 (35.66+38.01) It is always a pleasure to see world champions in action in any sport, and Meryl Davis & Charlie White’s Short Dance was executed with a lightness that was as delightfully exuberant as the bubbles from a newly opened bottle of champagne.

The masterpiece is set to three beloved pieces from the British show, “My Fair Lady”. It opens with “I Could Have Danced all Night,” which Julie Andrews sang after her successful transformation from an uneducated cockney waif to an acknowledged society debutante.

White is the cynical speech expert, who doesn’t realize that changing her life will also completely change his. His tuxedo is obviously top of the line, but the normal bow tie has been replaced with a small cravat, a tip off to show his scorn of the upper society and its rigid rules. Davis is in a light lavender knee-length classic sleeveless and backless creation. The two other music selections are, “Get Me to the Church on Time” and “With a Little Bit of Luck”.

Davis said, “We feel wonderful about our performance today. It’s still really early in the season and we can’t go out there kind of on autopilot like we can later in the season and just enjoy the process. We really have to think through everything, which is okay. We are thrilled with our first outing of this program and we’re excited to see where it goes leading into Skate America.”

White added, “Obviously, we are pleased with the score. That’s really good. It’s hard to take into account where things will go from here in terms of what the judges will continue to look for and what callers will look for. Right now, we are in the mode of worrying about what we can improve on. We feel like there is a lot of room to improve. It was a solid skate. The ballroom aspect, we can grow up and away from each other to make it look more finished. Those are little touches we look forward to working on.”

The twice and reigning world champions opened with their Midline Non-touching Steps, receiving Level 3 with three of the five judges giving the maximum +3 Grade of Execution. Their twizzles were the maximum Level 4, also with three +3 GoEs. Both parts of the Finnstep were Level 3, but no +3s. Their final move the rotational lift was Level 4 also with +3.

Obviously, this was a great start to their season.

2.  62.61 (31.17+31.44) Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje, the second ranked Canadians, received Level 4 for their twizzles, Level 2 and 3 for the Finnstep, Level 3 for the Non-touching steps and Level 4 with +0.67 for their curve lift. They performed to “42nd Street”.

Weaver said, “We were very calm today. We feel collected. We trained very hard this summer. It’s about fine tuning and seeing what feedback we can get from the judges and then preparing for our first grand prix Skate Canada.

Poje added, “Thinking back through our career, this is probably one of the earliest we have been out for an international competition so we’re happy with where we are. It’s definitely still young in the season. We worked hard to ensure we would be ready for this and feel like it’s a good building block for the season.”

3.  54.64 (27.34+27.30) Nicole Orford & Thomas Williams are the third ranked Canadians who were born in Calgary but now train in Burnaby in British Columbia. They performed to “Cheek to Cheek” and “Fly Me to the Moon” performed by Frank Sinatra. She will turn 21 in October and he is 22.

Orford said, “It was a pretty good skate for us. There were a few little wobbles but hopefully it didn’t show as much as it felt.”

Williams added, “We performed well the whole way through and engaged the audience and judges. There are obviously improvements we still have to make, but we felt solid overall.’

4. 53.97 (25.83+ 28.14) Penny Coomes & Nick Buckland, Great Britain, received only Level 1 for their spectacular lift with which they ended the routine, and that kept them from third place by just a fraction of a point. They skated to “I Won’t Dance” and “Swing Set” by Jurassic 5.  

5. 53.75 (28.50+26.25 -1) Julia Zlobina & Aleksei Sitnikov, Uzbekistan, had an extended lift.

6. 53.03 (26.50+26.53) Lynn Kriengkrairut & Logan Giulietti-Schmitt, U.S., danced to “That Man” by Caro Emerald, and “Jolie Coquine”, by Caravan Plaza. Kriengkrairut said, “It was a lot of fun. We chose good music this year so we amped it up and enjoyed ourselves.”

Giulietti-Schmitt added, “It was fine. Not our best, but we feel we made an improvement since Lake Placid (the summer competition at the end of July). That’s what is important that we keep progressing throughout the season. Not quite the score we would like but we performed better than we had so it was good for us.”

They began with their twizzles which received a full half point above the base value for the maximum Level 4. The first part of the Finnstep received Level 3 with four 0s and a -1 for Grade of Execution. (A “0” means adequate in every aspect”) But the second part for -1 straight across the board.

They received Level 2 for the Midline Steps. They left the audience clapping with their rotational Level 4 lift which earned an extra +0.50 over the base value for that Level.

7.48.17 (23.00+26.17 -1) Isabella Tobias & Stagniunas Deividas, Israel, skated to “A Fine Romance” and “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.”

8. 48.07 (23.84+2.23) Anastasia Cannuscio & Colin McManus, U.S., interpreted “Putting on the Ritz”and “Get Happy”. Cannuscio said, “It went really well. Personally, I had a lot of fun with it which is what I was aiming to do for the program. The elements went well. Our technical score seemed a little low. I don’t know why, maybe the Finnstep. But it felt good. Colin’s suspender popped off in the middle of the program, which gave us a little bit of a distraction.”

McManus added, “The suspender popping off was so silly that I just have to laugh about it. The program is so happy anyway that it just kind of worked. I don’t think it affected our performance at all. It was just a funny little accident.”

Cannuscio revealed, “We’ve working on lifts and overall expression and finish on the ice. As a team, we have been very athletic and had a lot of speed, but we weren’t the most artistic. We are trying to improve that, to have no toepicks on the ice, very smooth light skating.

9. 46.15 (21.15+21.99 -1) Justyna Polutowska & Peter Gerber, Poland, who performed to “Le Jazz Hot”, had a deduction for an extended lift.

10. 45.23 (24.49+21.74 -1) Allison Reed & Vasili Rogov, Israel, had a deduction for an extended lift in their routine set to “Hit the Road, Jack”.

11.42.15 (20.33+21.82) Angelia Telegina & Otar Japaridze, Georgia, skated to music from “Burlesque”.

12. 41.15 (21.00+20.15) Federica Bernandi & Christopher Moir, Italy, interpreted “Nights of Cabiria”.

13. 38.01 (16.84+22.17 -1) Alissandra Aronow & Collin Brubaker, U.S., are now training in Canton, Michigan. This was their first international and they were thrilled. She said, “I had a few slips so that was disappointing but it’s exciting to be here.” He admitted, “We made a few mistakes but I’m overall happy with our performance and happy to be here. We are proud.” They performed to a Nat King Cole medley.

They were awarded this competition based on their performance in the Lake Placid Ice Dance championships. Brubaker explained, “We felt super excited. Preparation wasn’t exactly ideal since it was such a last minute call. But when they told us, we got everything together and are managing the best we can.” They lost a point because their lift went over time.

14. 33.58 (17.49+18.09) Pilar & Leonardo Moekawa, from Mexico, performed to “Booty Swing” by Stelar, “Putting on the Ritz”, and “Mr. Pinstripe Suite” by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

Ladies Short Program

1.58.49 (31.37+28.12 -1) Gracie Gold, USA, certainly earned her first place skating to Gershwin’s “Three Preludes”, but it was not the performance she had hoped to give. It began well, with a good triple Lutz to triple toe loop which gave her 10.10 points. That was followed by her step sequence for which the Technical Panel gave her Level 3, while all five judges on the panel awarded her +2 Grades of Execution. She also earned Level 3 for her flying camel.

Her triple flip, however, was given an “e” for wrong edge take-off and she lost -1.40 from its base value. Then she fell on her double Axel. She had been having problems mostly with her left boot, in which the screws had been applied incorrectly. However, she said, “I don’t think the problem was my skated today. They were able to repair them yesterday before my official practice.

“I don’t really know what happened with the Axel. I honestly thought I had landed it. I was a bit nervous for the competition today. I’ve been feeling really good, training-wise and cardio-wise. When I watched the video in slow-motion, I glided for a pretty good time before I fell, and it sort of caught me off guard. I don’t know what exactly the issue was. It was strange.

“I didn’t have to fight for any of the spins. I think I was just pretty nervous today. I hadn’t competed the Short Program in front of an audience, just closed sessions, but I think, despite all the issues with my skate and the regular competition anxieties, I was able to put out a really solid skate, so I’m happy. It looks like a good start to the season.”

The last two elements of her SP, spins, were both awarded the maximum Level 4. The first, a layback, was rewarded with two +3s (the maximum Grade of Execution) and three +2s from the small judging panel. The last spin was a combination which was awarded straight +2s.

2. 56.27 (30.73+26.54 -1) Agnes Zawadzki, USA, used music from the TV series, “Sex and the City 2.”  She began well with a triple Lutz which gained +1.40 over its base value, but then she fell on the second jump in her combination of two triple toe loops. Later, she also stumbled on her double Axel.

Zawadzki readily admitted, “It wasn’t my best. I went into the (triple) Lutz (her first element) and I felt really good. Then, going into the combination (of two triple toe loops), I had a kind of moment like, ‘Where am I?’ It’s happened to me before when I went to the Japan Open. It was definitely not my best and it felt like I was doing that again. It was kind of like an out-of-body experience for a brief moment, and that’s where I made the mistake.

“I made sure that I regrouped for the Layback (spin) and got myself together for the double Axel.” She explained she was able to do that by telling herself, “You’re right here in the moment! Just focus on what you’re doing. I just told myself to take a deep breath. I can’t wait to perform my Free Skate.”

She continued with an excellent Level 4 flying camel spin spin, but her double Axel was a little dicey. She finished with two Level 4 spins The steps and the last spin were both Level 3.

3. 54.80 (31.80+25.00 -2) Courtney Hicks, USA, used the music Beltrami’s “Soul Surfer.” The Californian also had problems with jumping. She had an unsatisfactory landing on the second jump of her first element, a combination of triple flip to triple toe loop. She explained, “The triple flip to triple toe was a little higher than I thought. I did the best I could, I think, with how it went. The rest of the program felt really good. I think I probably thought about it too much going into it. I need to learn how to relax and just do it without thinking about it.”

She fell on the double Axel at the end. “It has always been kind of an odd jump for me. I have a tendency to overthink it and then I start getting into more trouble than if I would have just done the jump.” But she bounced back with a wonderful Level 4 combination spin which earned two of the maximum +3 Grades of Execution. She was, however, given a time violation (-1.0) for not finishing her routine quickly enough in addition to the other point deduction for the fall.

4. 50.94 (27.02 +25.92 -1) Amelie LaCoste, who has won the Canadian title twice, in 2011 & 2012, and taken 16th place in the World championships twice, must have been very disappointed with her placing.  She used the music “The Feeling Begins” but fell twice, on a triple flip and also on the second jump of a combination of two triple loops.

5. 47.91 (23.31+24.60) Samantha Cesario, USA, who represents The SC of NY, skated to “Fever”. She said, “For the triple-triple, they’ve been on and off but I’m excited that I went for it. For the Axel, I just sort of lost my focus and king of just went right off the edge. I don’t really know where the score came from, to be honest with you, so it kind of stinks. For the triple-triple, they’ve been on and off, but I’m excited that I went for it.

“On the double Axel I think I just lost the focus going in and then before I knew it, I just thought, ‘Oh! That was so stupid! I don’t know how it got me that low of a score, but I guess I’ll see when the protocols came out. That (low) score came from more than the double Axel, so we’ll have to see.

“I need to work on feeling confident on the in-between stuff, because loop I can do pretty easily so it’s just the timing that gets me. It takes time. Hopefully, by the end of the season, it will be consistent.”

6. 44.31 (23.19+21.12) Sandy Hoffmann is a 20-year-old who is the third-ranked Senior is Germany. She used “Promise” by Bergersen. She was the leading non-North American in a field of 14 competitors from ten countries.

7. 41.62 (23.36+18.26) Melanie Yuung-Hui Chang, from Chinese Taipei performed to Rodrigo’s “Concerto de Aranjuez”.

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