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2017 Skate Canada Dance

by Klaus-Reinhold Kany

Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir

(28 October 2017)  The short dance at Skate Canada 2017 in Regina, Saskatchewan had a very high level and there was only one serious mistake.

It was no surprise that the 2017 World Champions Tessa Virtue (28 years old) and Scott Moir (30 years old) from Canada won this dance easily. It was their second competition of the season after the Autumn Classics in Pierrefonds near Montreal in September. The required rhythm of this season is a Rhumba with one or two other Latin dances. They began their characteristic program with the Samba "Sympathy for the Devil" by The Rolling Stones, followed by the Rhumba "Hotel California" by The Eagles and by the Chacha "Oye Como Va" by Santana. They won 82.68 points which are a kind of new world record because no ice dance couple has ever gained more points in the short dance of an international competition. The students of Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon and Romain Haguenauer in Montreal danced very closely together and Virtue moved catlike in high speed, which her costume underlined. Their components had an average of 9.7 and no less than six of the nine judges gave them at least one perfect 10.0. All of those did this for performance, overall they had 11 times a 10.0 and nobody went below 9.5.

All their five elements had a level 4 and the big majority of their GOEs was +3. All nine judges awarded their rotational lift with GOEs of +3. The 3,000 spectators gave them a standing ovation. Later Moir commented, "We are super-pleased with our performance today. We had a great a summer and fall training and we were very confident, but to come here and execute is a kind of a different story. A great off-season and a great start to the season creates some pressure, so it was nice for us to go out and execute very similar to the way we have been training. There are things we’re looking to improve, but for Tessa and I we are all smiles today.”

The second Canadian pair of Kaitlyn Weaver (28) and Andrew Poje (30) sits on second place, winning 77.47 points, a new personal best for them, and also executed an excellent performance. They chose a Bolero version of the Rhumba by Dianne Reeves and the Mambo "Do You Only Wanna Dance” by Julio Daive Big Band as their music pieces. Four of their elements had a level 4 and the non-touch midline step sequence a level 3. GOEs of +2 dominated for their elements and the components were around 9.2 with some 9.75 as highest ones. Weaver, who always speaks for the team, later said: "We’ve undergone so many changes since our first event and from this summer in general that we almost were not able to get the short dance as much time as we would have liked. We had a lot of pressure to make sure that this program lived up to our belief that it could be a great program and so we’re very happy to skate today with joy and energy and feel the incredible reception from the crowd.”

Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue, who train in the same Montreal school as Virtue and Moir, are currently third with 76.08 points. They had the same levels as Weaver and Poje, but a little lower GOEs and components and got one point of deduction for a time violation. Their music pieces were the Samba "Le Serpent” by Guem et Zaka, the Rhumba "Cuando Caliente El Sol” by Tayla Ferro and the Samba "Sambando” by Los Ritmos Calientes. Their components had an average of 9.1. Hubbell commented: "Zach and I were very happy with our skate today. We felt like we were getting more and more comfortable as the music was going and getting more into the program and enjoying skating together. It was a great start to our Grand Prix season. Zachary and I began our career together with Latin rhythms in 2012 and it is nice to come back six years later. This rhythm is natural for us.”

The new Spanish couple of Olivia Smart & Adria Diaz, also students in the Montreal school, sit fourth with 64.34 points. Their rhythms are Rhumba, Cha Cha and Merengue. They have a level 4 for the Twizzle sequence, the required Rhumba pattern and the Stationary lift and a level 3 for the partial step sequence and the parallel step sequence. Their components were around 7.4. Smart, who is of British nationality, received her Spanish citizenship surprisingly quickly this summer after skating with Diaz only for about a year. Spain has only one Olympic spot and the other Spanish couple Sara Hurtado & Kirill Khaliavin (a Russian who also got Spanish citizenship very quickly) is also very good. Therefore these two couples will battle a hard fight for this Olympic spot between each other.

The second U.S. dance team of Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker from the school of Anjelika Krylova and Pasquale Camerlengo in the Detroit Skating Club is on fifth position, earning 63.10 points. Four of their elements were good or very good, but the twizzle sequence a bit shaky. Their components had an average level of 7.6. Baker said: "We showed a lot of improvement since our last competition in Salt Lake City.”

Alla Loboda & Pavel Drozd from Russia gave a good senior Grand Prix debut after being second at Junior Worlds half a year ago and sit on sixth position with 62.60 points. Samba, Rhumba and once more Samba were their rhythms and the five elements were well executed. Their components were around 7.7.

The third Canadian couple Carolane Soucisse & Shane Firus, also from Montreal, is a promising team for the time when the presently best Canadian teams will retire. They finished seventh, winning 57.77 points and performing a clean program with GOEs of mainly +1 and components of around 7.1. The German champions Kavita Lorenz and Joti Polizoakis, who won a spot for Germany at the Nebelhorn Trophy in September, did not make any mistakes either in the program with a Salsa, a Rhumba and a Samba. They sit eighth with 56.41 points.

Natalia Kaliszek & Maksym Spodyriev from Poland are ninth with 54.74 points and would have placed higher if Kaliszek had not fallen during the twizzle sequence. This mistake cost them six or seven points. The Turkish couple Alisa Agafonova and Alper Ucar is tenth with 54.74 points. Ucar was elected as ISU athlete representative for all ice dancers in the world during the World Championships 2017.