by Klaus-Reinhold Kany
(29 Sep 2020) The ice dance event at the Nebelhorn Trophy 2020 in Oberstdorf, Germany was not high level although none of the six couples made a big mistake and there were no falls at all. But no first-class couple took part. Due to the Covid-19 virus, all couples had only limited training time. Therefore the ISU had decided that last season’s rhythm and Finnstep steps in the Rhythm Dance are mandatory again, so that all couples may use the same program as last season.
To their own surprise, the Czech brother-and-sister team of Natalie Taschlerova (18) & Filip Taschler (21) won the ice dance competition with 163.62 points in their first fulltime senior season. Last season they had split their time between senior and junior programs and had been 19th at Europeans and 16th at Junior Worlds. They train with Matteo Zanni in Egna in Northern Italy. Using music of the “Jersey Boys“, they opened their Swing program with a good twizzle sequence (she had level 4 and he level 3), followed by an entertaining midline step sequence. The Finnstep had a level 2, the Pattern Dance Type Step Sequence a level 3, but the curve lift only a level 1 because they stumbled a bit and had to finish the lift abruptly.
Their free dance to a Tango medley had a high speed, much fire and components of 7.3. Taschler explained how they got in good physical shape in Italy: “We train in a valley in a mountain area in Italy. Our rink was closed for almost four months from March to June. As soon as we were allowed to leave the apartment again and the rink was still closed, we ran the mountains uphill and downhill every day.“ Five elements had a level 4 and the two step sequences a level 2. Their best element was the twizzle sequence which had GOEs of +2 and +3.
Sasha Fear (18) & George Waddell (21) from Britain won the silver medal with 151.43 points in their very first international senior competition. They train in the famous Ice Academy of Montreal (IAM) under Romain Haguenauer, Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon. As British citizens they were allowed to fly from Canada to Germany without any problems, tests or quarantine. They knew that they have to sit out a quarantine of two weeks when returning to Canada, but they said it was worth while for them. Fear is the younger sister of Lilah Fear who competes with Lewis Gibson very successfully and who trains in the same school. In their Rhythm Dance to “Singing in the Rain“, Fear and Waddell had two level 4 elements, but the Finnstep only got the basic value. In their free dance to Gershwin’s “An American in Paris“, they moved up from third to second place and had good levels. Fear said: “We executed everything we had planned, therefore we are happy.“
The Ukrainian couple of Darya Popova (19) & Volodymyr Byelikov (21) who train in Kharkiv in Eastern Ukraine, took bronze with 148.60 points. For their Rhythm Dance, they used the musical Grease and had mixed levels. In their free dance to “Believer“ most elements were clean, but they got no points for the Choreographic Slide Movement because it was not according to the rules. The best element was their combination lift.
Natacha Lagouge (20) & Arnaud Caffa (21) from Lyon in France finished on fourth position, earning 143.29 points. The students of Olivier Schoenfelder used a Swing and a Foxtrot from “Dream Girls“ for their Rhythm Dance. Four elements were good, but the Finnstep had only a basic level because they did not meet any of the four key points. Their Vivaldi free dance was clean, but the levels were relatively low and one lift was too long.
Arianna Wroblewska (26) & Stephane Walker (29) from Switzerland were fifth with 134.18 points. They are relatively new in ice dance beacuse both were single skaters until two years ago. Wroblewska came from Poland, and Walker was even five times Swiss national champion and took part in four world championships before switching to ice dance in 2018. They train in the school of Barbara Fusar Poli in Milan, Italy. Their levels in the Rhythm Dance were good, except for the Finnstep. In the free dance to two pieces by the “Imagine Dragons“, their levels were good as well.
Hanna Jakucs & Alessio Galli from the Netherlands ended up sixth, earning 124.98 points. Jakucs was born in Hungary, Galli in Italy. They also train with Fusar Poli in Milan. Their programs were a bit slow, but they made no serious mistake. The German couple of Jennifer Janse van Rensburg & Benjamin Steffan, who trains in Oberstdorf under Rostislav Sinicyn, had planned to compete. But Steffan had an ankle injury which aggravated in the days before the Trophy. They went to the draw to try but withdrew after the last practice before the competition.