by Klaus-Reinhold Kany
The Rhythm Dance at Skate Canada 2022 in Mississauga had a high level. Six of the ten teams had more than 70 points and there were few serious mistakes. Canadians Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier, fifth at the World Championships seven months ago, sit first with 87.23 points. They danced to the Cha Cha “Do What I Do” by U.S soul singer Lady Bri and the Rhumba “Rhythm Only” by the Dancelife Studio Orchestra. All five elements were outstanding, the Choreographic Rhythm Sequence even got three GOEs of +5 and three of +4. Twizzles and Lift had a level 4, the two step sequences level 3. The components had an average of 9.3.
Poirier explained, “This was our first performance of the season with our new Rhythm Dance and it was really special to do that program in a rink that we're really familiar with at home in front of some family and in front of the Canadian crowd. After the Olympic season, this is just such a beautiful way to start our season and I think we're really excited to perform again tomorrow.” Gilles added, “We actually had a really hard time picking exactly what we wanted to do. We are very corky and fun, and I think everybody expects us to do something like that. So our coach Carol actually found this music in a commercial. And the moment we heard it, we instantly fell in love with it, and we decided to kind of go the more sexy, modern Latin route, which is something that we haven't done before.”
Lilah Fear & Lewis Gibson from Great Britain train in the Montreal Ice Academy and took second place with 83.80 points. They danced to three Latin music pieces by Marc Anthony and played the roles of stars singers Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony in the biographical film “El Cantante” from 2006. The five elements were excellent and had mainly GOEs of +3 and +4, the lift even got two +5. Like for all couples in an early stage of the season, some levels were not yet as high. In their case the midline step sequence had a level 2 for her and level 3 for him, the Pattern Dance Type Step Sequence a level 3 and the Twizzles sequence a level 3 for her and 4 for him. The components were around 9.0. Fear said, “The crowd was electric and we really fed off that energy. It is always such a pleasure to perform in Canada. We are pretty happy with our performance and our score. Over 80 That’s been our goal for so long and now we reach it consistently.”
Caroline Green & Michael Parsons left their coach Alexei Kiliakov in the summer and now train in the relatively new school of Charlie White, Tanith White (formerly Belbin) and Greg Zuerlein in Canton, Michigan. They sit third with 76.13 points and competed to the Samba “Vocalizado”, the Rhumba “Historia De Un Amor” and another Samba “Boutique”. All elements were very good, twizzles and Curve lift had a level 4, the step sequences levels 3 and 2. Parsons commented, “I think today was a great step forward for us this season, our second competition of the season, and we're really happy with the progress that we've made in a short amount of time.”
Canadians Marjorie Lavoie & Zachary Lagha, also from the Montreal Academy, are currently fourth with 75.94 points, very close to a medal. Their lift was a bit longer than 7 second therefore one point was deducted. Their levels were mixed and they danced to one Cha Cha and two Sambas. Lagha stumbled a bit on the Choreographic Rhythm Sequence. After begin third at Skate America, Marie-Jade Lauriault & Romain le Gac from Canada were invited as last-minute alternates for countrymen Mika Makita & Tyler Gunara. They came fifth with 74.59 points (two more than at Skate America) after dancing to two Mambos and one Rhumba.
Emily Bratti & Ian Somerville, also from the new Canton school, are ranked sixth with 70.85 points. Three of the four level elements got a level 4 and the midline step sequence levels 1 and 2. Somerville commented, “It’s so cool to be here and nice to see how many people like figure skating. We were amazed how many people were already there at the practices.” Misato Komatsubara & Tim Koleto from Japan are on seventh position with 68.88 points. Koleto said, “We improved a lot since our Challenger event. Of course the competition with the other Japanese team is in our minds, but it just gives us more motivation and fire. We hope that together with them we can motivate more young people to try ice dance in Japan.”
Australians Holly Harris & Jason Chan from the Montreal Ice Academy sit eighth with 67.68 points after being fifth at Skate America the week before. Holly Harris & Jason Chan from Australia, also training in Montreal, are on eighth position with 67.68 points. U.S. dancers Molly Cesanek & Yehor Yehorov, another Canton team, are ninth with 61.40 points. Dancing to Rhumba, Mambo and Salsa, their levels were mixed and their components around 6.6. The Israelis Mariia Nosovitskaya & Mikhail Nosovitskiy who train in Hackensack, New Jersey, ended up tenth with 58.03 points. Their GOEs were mainly +1 and she fell after having finished the midline step sequence right before the final pose.
Dance Free Dance
The free dance at Skate Canada 2022 in the Paramount Fine Foods Center in Mississauga had a very high level. None of the top six couples made any mistake. Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier from Scarborough near Toronto, who had been seventh at the Olympic Games of 2022, won the event with 215.70 points. All ten elements were outstanding, GOEs of +4 dominated and five elements had even GOEs of +5. Five of the seven level elements had a level 4, the two step sequences level 2 and 3. They danced in an emotional and convincing general way to four songs of the soundtrack of “Evita” and Gilles played the legendary Argentinian politician and celebrity Evita Peron or singer Madonna who played Evita in the film. The components had an average of 9.4 with one 9.75 as highest one.
Gilles commented, “We had an absolute blast performing our free dance for the first time. I think we knew the moment when we started choreographing this program that it was going to be something special and it absolutely tells this beautiful story of this icon and her guidance with Che.” Poirier added, “We've had the opportunity to compete for so many years, and I think in a lot of ways, it's not something we take for granted. Each season and each moment is special and it creates a particular memory. I think, especially for us, we returned this season after the last Olympic cycle, really putting ourselves as people first and our joy of skating forward. That mindset was really critical in just creating the moment that we were able to have today between the two of us and between us and the audience as well.”
Lilah Fear & Lewis Gibson from Britain, tenth at the Olympic Games in Beijing, won the silver medal earning 209.18 points. They are in the Montreal Ice Academy and danced to the two songs “Born This Way” and “Million Reasons” by Lady Gaga with a lot of tricks and excelled with showy elements and dynamic speed. All elements were excellent as well and GOEs of +3 and +4 dominated. The winners of the Nebelhorn Trophy 2022 had almost the same levels as the winner, the main difference was that they had a combination lift and Gilles & Poirier two individual lifts instead. But pointwise this makes no difference because the combination lift gets as much basic points as two separate lifts together. Their components were around 9.1.
Gibson said, “We both had so much fun performing today. It's always such a gift to get to skate to Lady Gaga as a free dance and it's super empowering music.” Fear added, “For us this season, we are really motivated by the message of ‘Born This Way’, which I think speaks for itself and also by Lady Gaga as an artist, because we got to watch her live and she is so confident, she knows who she is and she's so inclusive to everyone that was there to see her. For us, that really resonated and inspired us and it's a message that we really want to get across in our skating and in our performance. After we saw the diverse people at Lady Gaga’s concert, we were so empowered to explore our own individuality.”
Canadians Marjorie Lajoie & Zachary Lagha from the Montreal school took the bronze medal with 195.49 points. They danced to the soundtrack of “Nureyev” about the famous Russian ballet dancer in a balletic style. All their elements were quite excellent as well. They had the same levels as the two top teams, but a bit lower GOEs, mainly +3. Their components had an average of 8.7. Lajoie said, “It was really fun, and I'm very proud that we were able to deliver a great performance today in front of our home crowd. It felt amazing to do that. This is our first Grand Prix medal.”
Caroline Green & Michael Parsons from the ice dance school in Canton finished fourth with 194.19 points after being third in the Rhythm Dance. Dancing to Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”, they also made no mistake and performed all elements in a very good way. But something unusual was missing to keep the third place. Their components were around 8.5, but they had less GOEs of +4 than Lajoie & Lagha.
Marie-Jade Lauriault & Romain Le Gac from Canada had won bronze at Skate America with 178.30 points, but were fifth in Canada with 189.07 points because the level was higher there. They competed to “Pink Panther”, had good levels and components around 8.2. Emily Bratti & Ian Somerville of Canton, Michigan, finished on sixth position with 179.14 points. The levels were almost the same as those of the top couples, but their GOEs were mainly +2. Their music was the soundtrack of “La La Land”.
Misato Komatsubara & Tim Koleto from Japan placed seventh, earning 166.06 points. Koleto made a small mistake in the One Foot Turns Sequence, but everything else was at least good. Their music choice was “Il Dolce Suono” by Donizetti and “The Diva Dance” (both music pieces used in The Fifth Element) by French composer Eric Serra. Holly Harris & Jason Chan from Australia are on eighth position with 159.92 points, 11 less than at Skate America. Harris stumbled a bit on the twizzles, the other elements were clean, but they had low levels. Molly Cesanek & Yehor Yehorov of Canton, Michigan, placed ninth with 150.79 points. Yehorov’s twizzles were not clean, the other elements good, however. Mariia Nosovitskaya & Mikhail Nosovitskiy from Israel, who train in Hackensack under Galit Chait, ended up tenth with 146.49 points. They competed to “La vie en rose” by Patricia Kaas and to two songs by French singer Edith Piaf.