Skate Canada

Dance Event

By Maggie Doyle

Place Couple Country C1 OD FD
1 Elena Grushina & Ruslan Goncharov UKR 1 1 1
2 Marie-France Dubruil & Patrice Lauzon CAN 2 2 2
3 Svetlana Kulikova & Arseni Markov RUS 4 4 3
4 Albena Denkova & Maxim Staviyski BUL 3 3 4
5 Federica Faiella & Massimo Scali ITA 5 5 5
6 Sylwia Nowak & Sebastian Kolasinski POL 6 6 6
7 Kristin Fraser & Igor Lukanin AZE 8 7 7
8 Melissa Gregory & Denis Petukhov USA 7 8 8
9 Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat FRA 9 11 9
10 Josee Pichee & Pascal Denis CAN 10 9 10
11 Stephanie Rauer & Thomas Rauer GER 11 10 11


Compulsory Dance

Starting Order - Compulsory Dance
  1. Kristin Fraser & Igor Lukanin
  2. Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat
  3. Federica Faiella & Massimo Scali
  4. Sylwia Nowak & Sebatian Kolasinski
  5. Stephanie Rauer & Thomas Rauer
  6. Marie-France Dubreuil & Patrice Lauzon
  7. Albena Denkova & Maxim Staviyski
  8. Elena Grushina & Ruslan Goncharov
  9. Svetiana Kulikova & Arseni Markov
  10. Josee Piche & Pascal Denis
  11. Melissa Gregory & Denis Petukhov


Compulsory Dance Placements
Place Couple Country
1 Elena Grushina & Ruslan Goncharov UKR
2 Marie-France Dubruil & Patrice Lauzon CAN
3 Albena Denkova & Maxim Staviyski BUL
4 Svetlana Kulikova & Arseni Markov RUS
5 Federica Faiella & Massimo Scali ITA
6 Sylwia Nowak & Sebastian Kolasinski POL
7 Melissa Gregory & Denis Petukhov USA
8 Kristin Fraser & Igor Lukanin AZE
9 Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat FRA
10 Josee Pichee & Pascal Denis CAN
11 Stephanie Rauer & Thomas Rauer GER

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Elena Grushin & Ruslan Goncharov

Nearly all the men were in black tuxes or black outfits, leaving it to the ladies to provide costume plumage for the Quickstep, a less difficult compulsory dance does not obviously separate the skill levels of the couples as easily as some of the more challenging dances. Highlights in the quickstep include the steps sequence and the Choctaws.

The super-secret judging panel had 10 judges marking the competition but only seven counting. The computer's choice of judges that count seems to make a big difference in placements on close decisions and that proved the case here for second and third place, where the team with the higher ten marks placed third instead of second.

In the eleven-team field competing here, Kristin Frazier and Igor Lukanin of AZE opened this competition phase, placing eighth with scores ranging from 4.1 through 4.7 for technical merit and 4.2 through 4.8 for timing and expression. Their lack of speed was somewhat reflected in their marks.

Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France who placed ninth are also coached by the 2002 Olympic dance champions' coach Muriel Zazoui - Boucher. They emulated their countrymen's style, appearance and constumes, and showed more energy than many couples here, including the coupleplaced first in this even. Their scores ranged from 3.6 - 5.1 and then 3.8 to 5.3. If anyone is casting for movie roles for Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat, these two should try out.

Italy's Federica Faiella (dressed in a highlighter-yellow dress) and Massimo Scali finished fifth, skating a bouncier quickstep but their performance did not look effortless and more like they were working hard out there.

Sylwia Nowak in pale lavender and Sebastian Kolasinski of Poland, who were placed sixth, started strong with close feet but seemed to slow down for their final pattern; while Germany's Stephanie and Thomas Rauer finished last with an uninspiring outing.  They drew first to skate in the Original Dance, driving Stephanie to tears. Her sea-foam empire-styled costume had a very sheer skirt. Marks ranged from 3.7 to 4.4 and 4.1 to 44. They finished 19th at the 2002 World Championships so this placement had to be disappointing.

After the warm-up, the second group of dancers skated as follows: Canada's own Marie-France Dubreuil in a new yellow costume and Patrice Lauzon, who now train in France but still earned a warm Canadian welcome. "Since losing all our costumes back in August when they did not arrive in Lyon, we are both now up to six skating costumes," said Lauzon. They drew the favorable position of skating last for Original Dance after placing 2nd. Marks had a range from 4.6 - 5.6 and 5.0 and 5.6.

Bulgaria's Albena Denkova in an elegant yellow dress and Maxim Staviyski currently have third place after performing with nice energy and quick and close feet. They gave the appearance of an effortless dance and garnered marks that range from 4.9 - 5.7 and 5.1 - 5.8.

Elena Grushina and Ruslan Goncharev of Ukraine lead at this point and must overcome their early draw of 4th to retain their lead -- but then this is ice dance where places often remain the same throughout no matter how the top teams skate. They were not as fast as the other top couples but still finished in first place here. They were obviously stronger at Skate America for the Austrian Waltz. Their marks here ranged from 5.2 to 5.7 and 5.4 to 5.8.

The Russian team of Svetina Kulikova and Arseni Markov, making their second trip to Skate Canada, had a strong quickstep flavor to their program and sit in fourth place. Her lovely blue costume had a skirt that needed twizzles to be shown to its full advantage but those movements are not part of the quickstep. Their marks ranged from 4.5 - 5.5 and 4.6 to 5.5.

Josee Piche and Pascal Denis had a more successful outing than at Skate America in compulsories. Instead of placing last they are second to last here. This team plans to continue on towards the Olympics in 2006 according to Denis. Her costume with maribou feathers and salmon brocade reminds more of a dressing gown than a traditional skating costume. Their marks ranged from 3.6 - 5.2 and from 4.0 to 5.2

The final quickstepping team of the night was Melissa Gregory, costumed in white, and her Russian husband Denis Petukhov, who compete for Team USA. Petukhov is striving for US citizenship and is the stronger dancer of the team. Their scores range 4.0 to 4.8 and 4.0 to 5.0 for seventh place.


Original Dance

Starting Order - Original Dance
  1. Stephanie Rauer & Thomas Rauer
  2. Josee Piche & Pascal Denis
  3. Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat
  4. Elena Grushina & Ruslan Goncharov
  5. Albena Denkova & Maxim Staviyski
  6. Melissa Gregory & Denis Petukhov
  7. Sylwia Nowak & Sebatian Kolasinski
  8. Svetiana Kulikova & Arseni Markov
  9. Federica Faiella & Massimo Scali
  10. Kristin Fraser & Igor Lukanin
  11. Marie-France Dubreuil & Patrice Lauzon


Original Dance Placements
Place Couple Country
1 Elena Grushina & Ruslan Goncharov UKR
2 Marie-France Dubruil & Patrice Lauzon CAN
3 Albena Denkova & Maxim Staviyski BUL
4 Svetlana Kulikova & Arseni Markov RUS
5 Federica Faiella & Massimo Scali ITA
6 Sylwia Nowak & Sebastian Kolasinski POL
7 Kristin Fraser & Igor Lukanin AZE
8 Melissa Gregory & Denis Petukhov USA
9 Josee Pichee & Pascal Denis CAN
10 Stephanie Rauer & Thomas Rauer GER
11 Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat FRA

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Elena Denkova & Maxim Staviyski

The first six places remained the same from the compulsory dances but there was some movement in places seven through eleven in this eleven-team field. The four rhythms of choice for the Original Dance were waltz, march, gallop and polka, with the skaters required to choose at least two different rhythms with the option to include up to three. Strauss wins as the most used composer in original dance this season, particularly at this competition. Waltz with polka was the most popular combination of rhythms and several of the men opted for military attire.

The brother-sister team of Stephanie and Thomas Rauer of Germany opened the original dance segment, performing to Johann Strauss Jr.'s Graduation Ball, using the waltz and gallop rhythms. She wore a white satin bridal-style dress, which should have had a more flattering cut, while he was attired as a military soldier in blue.  This music had almost a circus-like feel. Although their feet were frequently far apart from one another, they did still move up to 10th in the Original dance but remained last overall. Their marks ranged from 3.9 to 4.3 for composition and required elements and from 4.2 through 4.6 for presentation.

Canada's Josee Piche and Pascal Denis advanced to ninth place overall from 10th in the compulsories after finishing ninth in the original dance. They opted for Waltz and Polka rhythms while skating to selections from Johann Strauss, Jr.  Piche wore a peach dress while Denis featured peach floral appliqués on his dark jacket. The crowd really got behind their rousing music and they looked as if they enjoyed their support. Their spins and lifts were less complicated than the top teams here and marks ranged from 3.6 through 4.8 and 4.1 through 4.5.

Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France appeared in costumes that instantly reminded of past Anissina and Peizerat's costumes, all Nathalie needed was the red hair to fully fit the part. They carried out the resemblance further by skating to Masquerade by A. Kchatchaturian for their Waltz. They also used a J. Strauss Polka, "Tritsch Tratsch Polka." Disaster struck early in their dance as Bourzat fell into the barrier on a turn in the corner during their waltz segment. They battled stoically on to the dance's conclusion, although their final lift needs more picturesque positions. They lost ground here dropping from 9th in the compulsories to 11th in the original for 10th place overall at this competitive stage. Their marks ranged from 3.6 to 4.3 and from 4.0 to 4.6.

Elena Grushina and Ruslan Goncharov gave a strong performance of their original dance program to Waltz and Polka rhythms, again using music by Strauss as they held to their lead of first place. They opted for the "Blue Danube" and a Strauss Polka.   Grushina wore a white and purple dress while Goncharov wore white. They gave this dance a true waltz feel with elegant turns and made a seamless transfer between the two rhythms. Their polka had an authentic flavor.  They slowed down a bit at the end of the polka but picked up the pace again as they returned to the waltz. Their marks ranged from 5.1 to 5.7 and 5.4 to 5.8.

Bulgaria's Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviyski returned to the Baroque period for their march and waltz original dance, skating with good speed to "March for the Turkish Ceremonies" by Jean Baptistie Lully, and switching to "Dance of the Witches" by Henry Purcell. Their marks ranged from 4.9 to 5.8 and from 5.0 to 5.8.   They remained in third place heading into the free dance. They kept up their speed but opted for an easier criss-crossing footwork sequence.

The USA's Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov performed here to a Waltz and Polka program that utilized the music of Andre Keiw. They skated a stronger version of this program last week at Skate America where their footwork section had more crispness. This team still has strong lifts and skates with close together feet. They lost one spot, dropping from seventh in the compulsories to eighth in the original and overall. The range of their marks was from 4.3 to 4.8 and from 4.5 to 4.9. "We had an off night tonight which was disappointing. It is one of those things that can happen," Gregory said.

Sylwia Nowak and Sebastian Kolasinski took their original dance in a less typical direction when they utilized music from "Once Upon Adezehber" for their waltz and chose a polka by K. Narnyslowski.  Nowak's paler pink chiffon costume looked more Pepto Bismal Pink on the TV monitor while her partner opted for Blue Velvet military attire.  They started off strong in the Waltz but their polka was less impressive. Their marks ranged from 4.4 to 5.1 and 4.7 to 5.2. and they held on to sixth place at this stage.

After a resurfacing the final group of four dance teams took the ice for warm-up.   Russia's Svetlana Kukikova and Arseni Markov also chose to use "Waltz Masquerade" by Aram Khatchaturian and also "Toska po Rodine" (Homesickness) by A. Trofimov. Their footwork featured slides and several turns and they skated with elegance but their corner turns need some crispness. Their marks ranged from 4.6 to 5.3 and 4.8 to 5.5, keeping them in fourth place.

Italy's Ferica Faiella wore a dress resembling rainbow sherbet and she and her partner Massimo Scali opted for Johann Strauss selections, choosing music from Die Fledermaus as they switched from waltz to gallop and back to waltz rhythms. The range of their marks ran from 4.7 to 5.2 and 4.8 to 5.3 as they remained in fifth place. They had decent speed but their feet were far apart at times and their final lift exit had a rough exit.

Azerbaijan's Kristin Frazier and Igor Lukanin also featured the waltz and polka rhythms. This team lacks speed and opted for easier crossing interweaving footwork. Their feet are wide apart on their turns but they were able to capitalize on the mistakes of the American team to again surpass them here. They moved up from eighth place in the compulsories to seventh place at this point with their marks ranging from 4.4 to 4.8 and 4.5 to 5.0

The final couple of the night was Quebec province's own Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon for Canada.  This couple presented an elegant Waltz to "At the Ball" (soundtrack from Anna Karenina) and then switched to a Strauss polka, "Furioso Polka." They remain in 2nd place but drew to again skate last, skating just after the leading Ukranian team for the free dance. Their marks ranged from 5.1 to 5.5 and 5.3 to 5.7. This program
featured lovely quick turns and dynamic lifts. They maintained good speed throughout and had a smooth transition into their polka. Their dances were lively and full of high energy. The home crowd gave them a huge roar of support as they completed their dance.

The Free dance continues on Sunday as they and the Ukranians battle for first place.


Free Dance

Starting Order - Free Dance
  1. Josee Piche & Pascal Denis
  2. Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat
  3. Stephanie Rauer & Thomas Rauer
  4. Sylwia Nowak & Sebatian Kolasinski
  5. Melissa Gregory & Denis Petukhov
  6. Kristin Fraser & Igor Lukanin
  7. Federica Faiella & Massimo Scali
  8. Albena Denkova & Maxim Staviyski
  9. Svetiana Kulikova & Arseni Markov
  10. Elena Grushina & Ruslan Goncharov
  11. Marie-France Dubreuil & Patrice Lauzon


Free Dance Placements
Place Couple Country
1 Elena Grushina & Ruslan Goncharov UKR
2 Marie-France Dubruil & Patrice Lauzon CAN
3 Svetlana Kulikova & Arseni Markov RUS
4 Albena Denkova & Maxim Staviyski BUL
5 Federica Faiella & Massimo Scali ITA
6 Sylwia Nowak & Sebastian Kolasinski POL
7 Kristin Fraser & Igor Lukanin AZE
8 Melissa Gregory & Denis Petukhov USA
9 Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat FRA
10 Josee Pichee & Pascal Denis CAN
11 Stephanie Rauer & Thomas Rauer GER

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Svetlana Kulikova & Arseni Markov

Skate Canada's final event, the free dance, took place Sunday, November 3 at the Colisee Pepsi before a crowd of 6,205 in this 6,610 capacity facility. Nobody's performance blew the doors off the building but the judges
decisions were not controversial.  Third and fourth place switched places as did ninth place and 10th place.

Josee Piche and Pascal Denis of Canada skated a clean rendition of their free dance to Vivaldi's "Four Seasons", "Concerto in F minor Op" and "Vival/Bond." Giving a better performance than they did at Skate America the week before, they still need more speed.  Highlights included a lovely lift where she is in a spiral position low to the ice and their music for their footwork section grabs the audience. They spent an extremely long extended period in kiss and cry while the judging computer system experienced a technical failure. This team finished 10th in the free dance and 10th overall with marks from 4.1 to 4.3 for technical merit and 4.3 to 4.5 for presentation.

Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat of France, skating in their first senior international competition, remained in 11th place both in the free dance and overall.   Wearing striking blue and silver costumes with a Middle Eastern flavor, they performed to "Buddha Bar" by Claude Challe that was choreographed by Romain Hagenauer. Their marks ranged from 3.9 to 4.4 and 4.0 to 4.6. She had some problems with her twizzles, but they kept in character for this performance. Their coach would be wise, however, to give them their own identity rather than depend so much on an Anissina and Peizerat's past program.

Germany's Stephanie Rauer & Thomas Rauer regained some ground with their free dance to "James Bond Theme Remix" by Moby, "Golden Eye" by Tina Turner and "The Avenger's Theme" by Laurie Johnson.  This program was choreographed by Florenza Pizanis-Ellis and they train with Oleg Ryjkin in Bulgaria and Germany.  They moved up to ninth in the free dance and ninth overall with marks ranging from 3.9 to 4.6 and 3.9 to 4.6. Skating a little faster than the couples in 10th and 11th place likely helped them advance.

Sylwia Nowak & Sebastian Kolasinski of Poland performed to "Phantom of the Opera", choosing less well-known musical selections from that musical. The couple remained in sixth place throughout this competition with marks in the free dance ranging from 4.2 to 4.9 and 4.3 to 5.0.  It was an middling performance with mostly unimpressive lifts, and one dance spin especially did not go well for them. The program also included a cartwheel lift and a hydroblading move.

Team USA's Melissa Gregory & Denis Petukhov remained in eighth place with their free dance, "Snow" by Craig Armstrong that was choreographed by their coach Oleg Epstein. They did not skate this romantic program as well as they had at Skate America. Petukhov has aggravated a right knee injury since Skate America, so they were relieved to just complete this event as they remained in eighth place overall. Their range for their marks ran from 4.3 to 5.0 and 4.5 to 5.2. Next they plan to head home, seek medical treatment and get ready for their next competition, the 2003 U.S. Championships in Dallas.

Azerbaijan's Kristin Fraser & Igor Lukanin who train in Maryland with Genrich Sretenski and Liz Coates remained in seventh place overall after another seventh place finish for the free dance.  Skating to "Remember Me" and "She's Been Good" both by Marc Anthony and "Tic, Tic, Tac" by Carrapicho - Fiesta de Boi Bumba.  Their marks ranged from 4.4 to 4.7 and 4.4 to 4.9. Fraser also stated she has an infected blister on her left foot that required medical attention when it developed into a bone infection prior to Skate Canada.

Federica Faiella & Massimo Scali of Italy gave a spirited performance to Gloria Estefan's "Ayer", Willy Deville's "Demaniado", Estefan's "Volveeras" and more of Deville's "Demanniado." They worked with choreographers and former Olympic champions, Natalia Bestmianova & Andre Bukin and the Italians have only been together as a couple
since 2001. They won 2002 Nebelhorn Trophy earlier this season; and here they finished fifth in all three competition rounds and fifth overall.  They had marks ranging from 4.9 to 5.2 and 5.1 to 5.5. They did a nice job of capturing the Latin flavors of this dance and looked like they were having fun while performing.  Highlights included a strong diagonal footwork sequence.  The Canadian audience responded well to there performance which ended with an energetic finish.

Albena Denkova & Maxim Staviyski of Bulgaria took a risk with their Egyptian styled program to "Afrah Baladi" by Mostafa Sax that was choreographed by Sergei Petukhov. They dropped from third place to fourth place in the free dance, dropping to fourth overall. They received marks ranging from 5.0 to 5.7 and 5.0 to 5.8.  It appears that they did not have good luck on the seven of the ten judges that were selected to count for this free dance, since their marks from all ten judges were higher overall for them than for the Russian couple that passed them by.  Denkova wore a red wig for her role that fortunately remained in place and they remained in character throughout their performance.  They did not skate as fast as last year with this program, however.

Svetlana Kulikova & Arseni Markov of Russia skated with good speed and enthusiasm, to "Fire on Ice" by B. Mortuzavi. Skating their Nicolai Morozov choreography well, this team moved up from fourth place to third in the free dance and third overall. They were tied on total factored placements (7.0) with the Bulgarians overall but the final results went in their favor with their higher free dance placement. Their mark range was 5.0 to 5.4 and 5.0 to 5.6. They kept up good energy throughout this dance and highlights included strong lifts. Their performance went over well with this Canadian audience.

Ukraine's Elena Grushina & Ruslan Goncharov deserved their win here, skating much better than they did at Skate America to their free dance to "Quixote" by Bond. They kept up their energy throughout and ended on a stronger note. They finished first in all three facets of competition for a 2.0 factored placement. Their marks ranged from 5.0 to 5.8 and 5.5 to 5.8. Their program was choreographed by the popular Nikolai Morozov and they train this season with Tatiana Tarasova instead of Natalia Linichuk. They seem off to a good start to be this season's "IT" team. Skate Canada is not a point event for them so they will have to wait to Trophee Lalique for more Grand Prix series points to go with their 12 points from Skate America.

The final Skate Canada competitors in the start order, Marie-France Dubreuil & Patrice Lauzon of Canada, unveiled their new free dance here to "Dance with My Heart." This music was created especially for them by Majoly. When this team finished, the Canadian audience seemed underwhelmed, responding with just polite applause and only a few
individuals standing. The Canadian flags did not come out in abundance yet they had been very supportive of this team,and their other countrymen, all week. This dance lacked the speed of the Ukrainian and Russian couples, which did not help their cause. They had good lifts and spins but this program needed more oomph to help them move up .They remained in second place in the free dance and second overall, receiving marks that ranged from 5.0 to 5.6 and 5.2 to 5.8. They will return to Europe, where they currently train, immediately following this competition but, plan to return to Canada for New Year's and the Canadian nationals. They now have nine Grand Prix series points.


2002 Skate Canada Dance Medalists

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