World Championships review: ice dance

World Championships 2016, Boston

Gabriella PAPADAKIS / Guillaume CIZERON

When emotions have subside a bit, it’s a time to share the impressions from World Championships. It was a hard Championships for me, because I have 7 hours of time difference with Boston. So, it was four sleepless nights for me. But I’m really happy that I had enough willpower to watch it. It was an incredible Championships! With lots of emotions: from tears of happiness to broken heart (thanks to men’s event).

I have a blog in Russian, and of course it’s easier for me to express all my feelings there. I’ll try my best to do the same here. But my English is far from good, so please forgive me my mistakes. My Russian post was called “The Game of pedestals” and I’ll try to keep here this idea too. Why The Game of pedestals? Because the Winter Olympics is coming. The Olympics is soon. Foolish to think that it isn’t. And every single competition will make you closer or farther from the coveted pedestal. So, the Game starts now, and not only on the ice. Let’s see the results of the battle in Boston.

As for me, it was happening late at night…….Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until the last skater of the last warm-up. I shall take no blanket, no pillow. I shall wear no pajamas. I shall sit at my post. I am the watcher at the screen with broadcast. I am the light that comes from the monitor. I am the sound that wakes the sleepers. I am a fan who watches his favorite sport. I pledge my sleep to figure skating, for this night and all the nights to come. 

I’ll start with ice dance.

The main surprise and disappointment – Elisabeth Paradis / Francois-Xavier Ouellette didn’t get into the free dance. Sorry, what?! They weren’t worse than some who got there. It’s sad that we didn’t see their free dance at Worlds. Why it happened? Well, Piper’s scores for the SD may give a hint……Anyway….I’ve stopped to understand what Canadian Figure skating Federation has on mind since 2013)

For the first time in the season I really liked the free dance of Laurence Fournier Beaudry / Nikolaj Sorensen. Deep and mature.  Unfortunately, Nikolaj again screwed twizzles. And you know what? I caught myself thinking that I would gladly see Tessa and Scott in something similar. 

Sinitsina Katsalapov, Stepanova Bukin

“The Choice is Yours”

Russian ice dance in the deep “zhopa” (rude Russian expression :) ). Actually, exactly in the same place as last year. Of course, lots of people would gladly remind me that, in fact, last year it was 7th place! 7th! Oh please…..7th, 9th….who cares?! While ones are trying to get used to each other, other trying to improve, competitors don’t stand at the same place waiting when Russian duos will reach them! Many duets have made a good step forward and came to the Worlds in their best shape. I’ll answer the popular question: Could the result have been different If other Russian duo had gone to Boston? Yes, it could have. If this duo had been Bobrova and Soloviev. They could have fighted for 6-5 place.

From Stepanova – Bukin SD I can remember only Sasha’s tangerine dress. It’s juicy and tasty. Can’t say the same about their dances. And again mistake at Worlds – bad sign. Tried to show their maximum in the free skate. Coped well with elements. But the dance is not for a breakthrough. Their dances look a bit juniorish. Rumour has it, that they will work with Peter Tchernyshev on their dances for the next season.

Victoria and Nikita skated not so badly, as it may seems according to the place they took. At least in the short dance. Just others were stronger. Free dance looked a bit simple and empty in comparison with other dances in their warm-up. It’s difficult to compare them with duos, who have been skating together for many years. The dance is on their abilities. Hope, next year Marina will come up with something interesting for them and they will be able to skate it properly.

Gilles Poirier, Coomes Bucland

“We Do Not Sow”

After the change of music SD of Gilles – Poirier lost its charm for me. But judges liked it. Such a score…..I’m shocked. In the free dance judges weren’t so generous. So, the judges liked the SD and didn’t like the FD? I really can’t understand that. As for the current realities the scores were modest. But the dance is very cool. Huge work was done, so many interesting and difficult “stuff”. I’m really excited what they will create next season?

This season everyone seems has forgotten  about Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland.  And they surprised everyone at Worlds! However, waltz in their execution no matter to “My sweet and tender beast” or to “Die fledermaus” looks slightly comical. But everything on level 4! I always liked their Butterfly in the free dance. And let someone call it an acrobatics rather than a dance, the performance was impressive.

Hubbell Donohue

“From these Beginnings”

Hubbell – Donohue were just incredible! All the season they have been incredible only in the SD, but at Worlds they were incredible in both dances. The costume change played a part in this too. This pair has a rare combination of power, depth and sensuality. And the excellent quality of elements – now it considered as something for granted. Honestly, at the beginning of the season I was very skeptical about possible results for Madison and Zack in new coaching group, with this FD. Glad, that I was wrong. Both dances just to goosebumps.

And they are only a 3rd pair of their country! Great result for Americans – all three pair in the top-6, 2 at the pedestal. No, they will not give the French an easy life) Actually, they won’t give it to anybody.

Weaver Poje

“Wisdom and Stength”

Do I feel sorry for Weaver and Poje? After all, it likely was their last chance to win the Worlds title, or even just a medal? From the human point of view, I’m really sorry for them. But from the sporting point of view – no. They had a chance to win a World Championships, actually not even once. They didn’t take those chances. They started to change something, try something new….but it was too late. Sport doesn’t wait. This year they had a great chance to win. SD, in my opinion, is one of the best this season. Again made a step on the same rake – won the GPF and then a decrease. The FD didn’t benefit from the costume change. They just turned it into another “drama in chiffon”. And the main problem, of course, the lost of shape and technical mistakes( Next season will be very difficult for them. This thought affected them so much? And it was necessary to spend this season on the principle of Scarlett O’Hara, ” I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow. ”

Weaver Poje

“Our Sun Shines Bright”

Many people wait and wait when Italians Cappellini – Lanotte will retire and they don’t go and don’t go) But they have been uncoupled from the pedestal already in the SD. What happened with the levels … ..it’s not for me to judge. But I really wanted a medal for the Italians. Honestly, I’d gave medals to all top-6) I just want to say thank you to Anna and Luca for the joy they bring. There is so little joy and happiness in modern ice dance. So little dances that the audience can watch with a smile. Thank you Anna and Luca for remaining true to themselves, but having found the reserves to learn something new. And yes, Madame Hotarek gets a personal prize from me – for the best dresses of this Championships. Anna looked dazzlingly beautiful.

Chock Bates

Fire and Blood”

Chock and Bates lost at least silver not in Boston, but because of the whole season. Because of leapfrog with a short dance, modifications of the free, and mistakes at competitions. This is ice dance, baby, the principle of “here and now” doesn’t always work in this discipline. I like their SD. It’s not creative or  powerful classical waltz, which would be hard for them to match. Something near classics suits them. The FD has become a kind of test for Madison and Evan on readiness to skate to a serious music. Can’t say that they coped on 100%. And stroking in a dance to Rachmaninoff still look strange to me) But the performance was powerful and solemn! And maybe … .If they have been skating last … .maybe they could be second.

Shibutani

Family, Duty, Honor”

In my vision of figure skating Shibutani should have won the SD. Gabriella and Guillaume have passion and drama, Maia and Alex – happiness and playfulness. Dances are completely different, but both are very good. But … waltz is not just about pattern. The waltz should be in everything: in the steps, holds, even tilt of the head. Shibutani have it all. Can’t say the same about French team. Shibutani also have a better quality of execution of the elements. Although, I wish Maia and Alex had a more dramatic dance. At the end of the free dance I burst into tears. Probably, because the surging emotions. I’ve seen  live how they won their first bronze at Worlds in Moscow … and such a long way to repeat the success.

The main question about Shibutani, of course, will they be able to keep this success. Next season is blues … So guys, read / watch Game of Thrones, Rome and Borgia dance on the edge of decency and scandal is better than boredom. Boredom – is your main enemy. Interesting, If Americans had risked and bet everything on one duo, would they have managed to “eat” the French?

Papadakis Cizeron

Let me Soar!”

With all the easiness, heart-wrenching light drama, Papadakis and Cizeron’s short dance touches me, but doesn’t impress like a waltz. Probably, because I don’t like when dancers try to fit every dance into their style. Like, let’s take a music that’s close to us, add the needed rhythm and here we are –  waltz! Own style is very good. But the strongest dancers must be versatile, able to look good in any style, any direction. I remember ones of such dancers, I hope next season the judges will also remember) The free dance – delight. Hypnotise you, catch you and does not let go till the end. Stunning effect. All the elements are absolutely musical, each movement has sense – they tell a story, not just getting points. Undoubtedly first. But scores could have been more modest (and not only their). But I’m getting used not to pay attention to the scores…..only to placement.

I received a great pleasure from the competition in ice dance. So many fantastic performances, on maximum,  to tears and goosebumps. The World Championships – the culmination and finale of the season should be exactly like this!

To be continued.

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2 Comments on World Championships review: ice dance

  1. Bravo FS Gossips. I love your reviews. You cover not only the technical but the look and feel of the competition. I also love the philosophical expressions you use. You offer more than commentary, you provide a compelling narrative (just like a great Russian novel!) :-)

    Avid Reader and Fan from the US

    • Thank you so much for your comment! I’m sorry that my English is not good enough to express all my emotions and impressions. As for the philosophical expressions I used, it’s a House words from Game of Thrones. I’m just wanted to make this post a bit in style of it)

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