by Liz Leamy
Chock and Bates Dominate Rhythm Dance
Madison Chock & Evan Bates, the three-time U.S. champions and three-time World medalists edged out a solid first-place finish in the Rhythm Dance competition at Skate America in Norwood, Massachusetts.
Topping out a field of 10 total teams, Chock & Bates were awarded an 82.63 for their fluid and engaging program to Ben Liebrand’s remix of the famous David Bowie 1980s song ‘Let’s Dance.’
Their standout elements included beautifully executed footwork sequences as well as twizzles for which they earned loud applause from the crowd as well as high grade of execution marks from the nine-member International Skating Union judging panel.
Although the finish of their rotational lift was a tiny bit shaky, causing them to get plus two grade of execution scores, the overall standard of the program was exceptional.
Chock & Bates, meanwhile, said it was good to be out on the ice competing again, as it gives them motivation to just keep getting better.
“We always want to challenge ourselves and improve our skating,” said Bates. “We’re going for a World title and that internal drive hopefully is leading us to that final goal.”
Chock & Bates said they were also pleased about competing in Boston at this event.
“It’s great to be competing here at Skate America,” said Chock. “The crowd was amazing and it’s such an incredible venue.”
Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker, the four-time U.S. bronze medalists and U.S. Olympians, clinched second with their spicy program to ‘Cuban Pete’ and ‘Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps’ by the Desi Arnaz Orchestra that was created by Massimo Scali.
Racking up a solid score of 79.12, this team skated with incredible unison, power and flow and held the full attention the crowd with this fun Tango-themed program, who gave them a loud ovation at its finish.
“We’re really staying in the moment and appreciating our presence with one another,” said Hawayek, who hails from East Aurora, New York, a Buffalo suburb, as she added that the iconic 1950s sitcom ‘I Love Lucy’ had inspired the theme for this program.
Going into the 2026 Olympic cycle, Hawayek & Baker said they have been working as hard as ever to be at an optimal level with their skating.
“We have to believe we can push into that space [of being top six finishers at the World Championships],” said Jean-Luc Baker, who hails from Seattle. “Still, we’re finding the most enjoyment in just taking things day by day.”
Marie-Jade Lauriault & Romain Le Gac of Canada scored a 72.12, winding up in the third position, with their power-charged program to Malambo No. 1, Ms. Harmony and Mambo No. 8.
Donned in dramatic black costumes, this duo, who clinched the 2016 International Cup of Nice silver medal, was all about power, terrific ice coverage, excellent body lean and notable energy.
“It felt really good [out there.] The audience was fun and we had a lot of fun performing,” said Lauriault.
Le Gac agreed.
“We did what we do in practice,” said Le Gac. “We enjoyed skating here in Boston.”