by Klaus-Reinhold Kany
(19 December 2022) The junior ice dance had a good level, but nobody was outstanding. The levels which the technical panel awarded were as low as in the senior dance event. In the Junior Rhythm Dance, nobody got a level 4 on the step sequences. Only few had a level 3, which is a bit strange.
Nadiia Bashynska & Peter Beaumont of Scarborough near Toronto won the Junior ice dance event with 167.26 points. They are training mates of senior dance Grand Prix Final gold medalists Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier with the same main coaches Carol Lane and Juris Razgulajevs. Dancing to the Spanish Waltz “Espana” and to the “Tango Grande” from the soundtrack “The Great Gatsby”, Bashynska & Beaumont performed five very good elements mainly with GOEs of +2 and +3. Their components were around 7.7.
Bashynska said, “We did everything we could’ve done. A lot of preparation off the ice, a lot of mental work, a lot of support from each other, there's a lot of work that goes outside of the ice practice.” Beaumont added, “Compared to last season, where the whole bunch of teams that we knew were moving up to senior, we just thought if we’re going to go for the gold, we’re going to work hard and work for it.”
In their free dance they danced to “Anna’s Theme” from “The Red Violin” by John Corigliano and to “Elegie, O doux printemps d’autrefois” (“Oh, you sweet springtime in the past”) by Jules Massenet. Their combination of a stationary lift and a rotational lift (twice level 4) was very convincing. The dance spin had only a level 1, but was well executed. The other elements had mainly GOEs of +2 and +3 and their components had an average of 7.9.
Bashynska, “We're very happy with our skate, and we're just very pleased with how we performed at this competition. The story to “Red Violin” is very complex. I suggest everybody watched the movie. I guess it starts with the master whose wife passes away during labor, and he creates the most perfect violin in his understanding. He paints it, he garnishes it with her blood, which makes it sound very unique. The violin travels all around the world, being played by many different talented violinists. It's just so intoxicating that every single person who's played the violin passed away because they were so addicted to it. So it's a very deep, dark story. Our next goal is to win Junior Worlds. This year it’s in Canada, Calgary, so we're hoping to win in our own country, that would be amazing.”
Hannah Lim & Ye Quan from South Korea train in the Ice Academy of Montreal and took the silver medal, earning 162.53 points after being third in the Rhythm Dance. There, their levels were quite deep, but well performed to the Milonga “Primavera Porteno”, mostly with GOEs of +2. Their components were around 7.5. Quan explained, “We were very happy with what we did today. We want to get the top 3, but if we don’t we are still very happy that we could make it to the Grand Prix Final.”
In their dynamic free program to the well-known “Danse Macabre” by Camille Saint-Saens, the lifts and spin had a level 4, but the two step sequences level 1. They performed all elements very well and had mainly GOEs of +3 and +2. Their components were around 7.8. Lim said, “When we were choosing the free danse music, my mom's friend showed us Yuna Kim's program from 2008. We really liked the music, so we showed it to our coaches, and then we ended up using that music. We are the first Korean ice dancers in the Junior Final. I feel really proud of my country. Technically I was not born in Korea, but my parents and they have always input that culture into me and I was so absorbed by the Korean culture.”
Quan added, “Really proud of what we did today. And most of all, we really had fun to present to everyone in front of a big, big crowd. In general, the story of the free dance is I'm a human that's alive and somehow one day, I meet death that's just staring at me, like I'm between life and death at that point.”
Katerina Mrazkova & Daniel Mrazek from the Czech Republic took bronze with 161.54 points. They train in Italy with young coach Matteo Zanni and were the favorites because they had the highest scores in their two Grand Prix. But they had bad luck in Turin even twice. In the Rhythm Dance to the Tango “A Evaristo Carriego” and the Paso Doble “Espana Cani” both fell in the first part of the Argentine Tango when he slipped and caught her with him. The other elements and the rest of the program were speedy and excellent. She used her long skirt and held it for a several interesting choreo effects. Mrazek admitted, “We don’t feel well, we both fell, something happened in the corner. But we just really wanted to make the program like nothing happened. So we tried to push and make it disappear.” The day after, he knew more about the fall, “I fell because of the long skirt of my partner, I stepped on it and so we have to do something with that.”
For their free dance, they used the soundtrack of “The Man in the Iron Mask” which was taken by French Olympic Champions Marina Anissina & Gwendal Peizerat. In the opening rotational lift, Mrazek held his sister in a difficult position apart from him. He lost balance and both went down. The other elements were excellent again with mainly GOEs of +3, the dance spins and the choreo steps even stellar. At first, they did not want to comment and their coach said, “It was a useful experience.” But when it turned out that they even won bronze, Mrazkova commented at the mandatory press conference, “I think still we did a good job and I think we still can be proud of ourselves.” Mrazek added, “Today it was my fault. I probably started to shake in the lift and I just couldn't hold it. When I was ten years old, we were driving in the car with our parents and we were listening to the music Man in the Iron Mask. I really wanted to skate to this music, but the coaches didn't let me. But I still liked improvisations because I really love the music. I realized that Alexei Yagudin and Anissina & Peizerat skated to it. Later I forgot that the music exists. But then our coach Matteo sent us the music. I suddenly remembered and knew that we are going to skate on this music.”
Phebe Bekker & James Hernandez from Britain are fourth with 156.97 points. The students of Nicholas Buckland were second in the Rhythm Dance to a Milonga and two Tangos. They were the only couple to get a level 4 for one of the two Argentine Tango parts. Bekker said, “It’s a big event. The warm up, the lights.” Hernandez added, “It was a really surreal moment. We’ve never walked into an area with ambient lighting before. Nick (Buckland) and Penny (Coomes) relocated to New Jersey after they finished competitive skating and we wanted them to be our coaches.”
In their free dance to Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”, the lift combination was too long, everything else was at least good. Bekker said, “It’s such an emotional program. I won’t say it is a letdown to slip to fourth because we thought we did a good job. But it is disappointing.” Hernandez added, “So we’re happy that we didn’t make any major mistakes. We got all the elements done in a way that we’re proud of.”
Darya Grimm & Michail Savitskiy from Germany came fifth with 152.01 points. Being quite new, they liked to watch every senior dance practice with their coach Rostislav Sinicyn because they had never seen them live. They were the only team to get a level 3 on the Midline Step Sequence, but the second Argentine Tango part was only level 1. Savitskiy commented, “We didn’t get some of the key points and we’ll have to ask why. But overall we felt good and we think we can be proud of our performance in our first really big competition. It was nice to be introduced on the ice in front of so many people.” Grimm added, “I felt it was our best performance in competition. Coming here we knew that it will be very difficult to reach the gold, so we feel we are here more for the experience.”
In their free program, they danced to Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” with modern parts in it. The levels were mixed, but all elements well executed. Their strength are soft knees, which the judges like. Savitskiy commented, “We could have added more power, but the elements were good. We wanted classical music but not really classical but a more interesting one. We are told we are very soft skaters and think not everyone has it. It’s something we can work on. We are at the beginning of our career and we’ll come up with something that will suit us and make us unique.”
The French team of Celina Fradji & Jean-Hans Fourneaux ended up sixth with 140.71 points. The students of Karine Arribert did not make any serious mistakes, but their general standard was a bit lower. Fourneaux said after the free program, “We are very happy with the program, we succeeded in having quite solid achievements. The points did not go up as we wished, but in any case we really had fun and we benefited from it.”