by Liz Leamy
Chock and Bates Hold on for Gold in Free Dance
Madison Chock & Evan Bates, the 2022 U.S. titlists and three-time World medalists, held of first overall in the strong 10-entry field ice dance event at Skate America with a fluid and graceful program to Jorane’s ‘Film III,’ ‘Les Tectoniques’ and ‘Fem III’ for which they earned a 120.17 and 202.80 total.
They skated with tremendous flow, speed and artistic aptitude and were a hit with the crowd who filled up the 2,500-capacity Tenley Albright Performance Center at the Skating Club of Boston in Norwood, Massachusetts.
Highlights of their program included stunning lifts, a pretty pair spin, quick twizzles and a dramatic slide movement in which Chock did a split-like lunge with Bates across the ice.
Although the team, who placed second in the free dance, did not get marked on a choreographic step sequence (as it was said to have not been close enough to the boards), the overall standard of their program was excellent.
Chock & Bates also said this was a performance they were both satisfied with, especially considering it was their first international outing of the season.
“Performing the free dance was a joy and we’re pleased with how our first competition of the season went,” said Chock. “It was wonderful, the crowd was amazing and we’re so happy to debut our free dance here at Skate America.”
In regard to the situation with the step sequence in their performance, the duo said it only motivates them to keep working hard moving forward.
“We love learning and pushing ourselves,” said Chock. “I think that comes across in our skating.”
Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker, the four-time U.S. medalists and 2022 U.S. Olympians, clinched silver, earned first in the free dance for their arresting performance to ‘Requiem’ and ‘Sofia’ by Askjell for which they were awarded a 122.95 for 202.07 total.
Wearing bright pink and black costumes, this team, who also trains in Montreal with Marie France-Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon and Romain Haguenauer, were all about skill, synchronicity and energy as they skated their program with great power, aptitude and ease.
At the same time, their performance also resonated of a powerful narrative that resonated in a major way with the audience and the judging panel.
“It was a joy to skate here in Norwood,” said Hawayek. “Being able to be here with a full crowd made it really special today.”
“Going into this season, we’re trying to be as present as possible. We’re trying to put ourselves out there and produce work we’re really proud of,” said Jean-Luc Baker. “We’re just trying to stay as true to who we are.”
Some of the highlights of their program were their well-extended and easy lifts, synchronized twizzle sequence and fluid diagonal step sequence, among other memorable things.
Marie-Jade Lauriault & Romain Le Gac of Canada, who also train with Marie France-Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon and Romain Haguenauer in Montreal, claimed bronze with their lively and entertaining free dance to ‘Pink Panther’ by C. Beck for which they earned a 106.18 and 178.30 total.
Wearing streamlined black outfits infused with pink accents, Lauriault and Le Gac were a big crowd favorite and reeled off such outstanding elements as powerful and flowing step sequences, synchronized twizzles, lifts and a pair spin, among other things.
“It’s important to believe and that’s what we are taking from here,” said Lauriault.
Le Gac concurred.
“To reach for a new goal to get a medal and we’re really happy to do what we do in practice and reach our goal,” said Le Gac. “It was a special moment for us and it was a really nice ‘souvenir’ we take from here.”