by Klaus-Reinhold Kany
The level of the ice dance competition was relatively high. No couple fell or made serious mistakes. The two best couples mostly train in Montreal, but it is astonishing that China has several good and younger dance coaches now compared to five or ten years ago.
Shiyue Wang & Xinyu Liu won the Dance event with 206.84 points, more than 14 points ahead of the second couple. They had been 22nd of the Olympic Games in 2018, 15th of Worlds 2019 and 4th of Four Continents 2020. They have been training in the Ice Academy of Montreal for several years under Romain Haguenauer, Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon. The week before the Cup of China Haguenauer had a lot of time for them (and for the silver medalists) because after returning from Skate America to Canada he had to stay in quarantine and could work with them online intensely.
All five elements in the Rhythm Dance were excellent and mainly had GOEs of +3 and +4. Three elements had a level 4, the diagonal step sequence a level 3 and the partial step sequence a level 3 for her and a level 4 for him. The components had an average of 8.9. They danced in high speed to a part of the Charles Chaplin soundtrack of “Modern Times“ and to two music pieces of Christopher Curtis.
Wang said, “We miss
competitions a lot after long times of training. Liu injured
himself on his hand and is still under recovery. It’s been
difficult but thanks to the help of team medical staff and
members, we’ve been able to go through it. Since it’s been
difficult to do online classes, we decided not to change our
programs. Technically we have not changed that much in our
program, but we felt we are more in control of the program.“
“We are pretty happy with today’s performance,” Wang said. “Because of Liu Xinyu’s hand injury, we had a rushed preparation, but we did what we were able to do in practice. After he fully recovers, we hope to polish the program. Compared to last year’s Cup of China, I feel we have matured and have become more experienced. During our combination spin, one piece of our fabric fell on the ice, so we got one point of deduction, we will make sure it does not happen again in the future.”
Hong Chen & Zhuoming Sun won the silver medal with 192.26 points. They also normally train in Montreal. For the Rhythm Dance music they used a Swing and a Foxtrot from the soundtrack of ”The Greatest Showman.” Their GOEs were mainly +3, they had one element with level 4 and four with level 3. Their components were around 8.1. “We are satisfied with today’s performance.” Sun said. “We have a new Rhythm Dance this year and actually just finished the choreography with our coaches abroad. During the choreography we need to fit each other’s schedule because of the time difference but the program turns out good. We still need to polish and be more familiar with the program.“
In their free dance to two pieces from the soundtrack of “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg“, all elements were very good and their components around 8.2. Sun remarked, “For today, we were able to perform like we do in practice. We used the same music as last year, but we made a new program via online classes with our overseas coaches.“
Wanji Ning & Chao Wang took bronze with 171.90 points. Their Rhythm Dance with four music pieces from the soundtrack of “Mary Poppins“ was also faultless and the elements had mainly GOEs of +2. But the levels were lower. Wang said, “We skated the same program as last year. We came to Chongqing early to adjust to the ice rink. We skated a little tight today but skated what we’ve trained in our daily practice.“ The music of their free dance was “Mozart L’Opera Rock”. All elements and the levels were convincing.
Yuzhu Guo & Pengkun Zhao finished on fourth position with 162.36 points. Their Rhythm dance music was the Quickstep “Sing, sing, sing“ by Benny Goodman and the Foxtrot “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen,“ sung by Ella Fitzgerald. The levels were mixed and the components around 6.6. Zhao commented, “We skated the same program as last year. Overall we are satisfied with today’s performance. We had three months of not being able to train at all, but this time we feel like we did better than our normal training.“ In their free dance to “One Thousand Years“ and to the “W.E.“ soundtrack, the step sequence levels were low, but they made no mistake.
Yufei Lin & Zijian Gao are only 16 and 17 years old and gave their senior-level debut after being 14th at last year’s Junior Grand Prix in Poland. Their Rhythm Dance was well performed, but the levels lower. Gao explained, “We didn’t skate our best today but we’ll continue to improve the future. We are happy that we could learn a lot from our teammates.“ In their free dance to “The Twilight Saga,“ GOEs of +1 dominated. Lin explained: “We are satisfied with today’s performance. This competition is more like an opportunity for us to come out at the international stage and try.” Gao added, ”We were nervous, but also more excited. We come here to learn from others, both on and off ice.”