2006-07 Junior Grand Prix Final: Ice Dance Highlights
USA’s Madison Hubbell and Keiffer Hubbell and Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates won the gold and silver, respectively, while Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev of Russian won bronze. Teammates Kristina Gorshkova and Vitali Butikov were fourth.
Compulsory Dance (CD)
The Compulsory Dance drawn for the World Championships was the Midnight Blues, the newest of the Compulsory Dances. It was invented by Roy Bradshaw, Sue Bradshaw, Mark Bradshaw, and Julie MacDonald and first performed in 2001 in Vancouver, Canada.
The top three dance teams performed well, placing less than half a point from each other.
Bobrova and Soloviev produced a smooth CD, displaying good knees and flow to place first with 31.56 points.
Hubbell and Hubbell also produced a sound dance to finish close behind with 31.39 points.
Samuelson and Bates were confident in their CD and placed third with 31.24 points.
Gorshkova and Butikov were fourth (28.08 points), while Grethe Grünberg and Kristian Rand of Estonia placed fifth (27.96 points).
Julia Zlobina and Alexei Sitnikov of Russia were sixth (26.58 points), while France’s Elodie Brouiller and Benoit Richaud and Italy’s Camilla Spelta and Marco Garavaglia finished in seventh and eighth place, respectively.
Original Dance (OD)
The event continued with the OD in which the dance for the 2006-2007 season is the “Tango”. Couples can choose one to three tango rhythms. If two rhythms are used, one can be repeated. Vocals are permitted.
Hubbell and Hubbell delivered a solid dance, producing two good midline step sequences, two good level four lifts and dance spin, and a good level three diagonal step sequence in their tango routine. The brother-and-sister team earned a new personal best of 50.61 points for a first place finish in the OD, moving up to first overall (82.00 points).
“Our goal was really just to skate the best we could and I think we fulfilled that goal,” said Madison Hubbell. ” We obviously were working to be at the top but we weren’t expecting anything.” “We haven’t skated that well against these teams, so we’re surprised [to be in the lead],” her brother added.
The two American teams are training together under the same coaches. “It’s nice being here with somebody you’re so close to,” said Madison Hubbell, referring to Samuelson and Bates. “It makes it a lot less like a competition [and] more like training at home.”
Samuelson and Bates exhibited good character in their dance to Quejas de Bandoneón which included solid level three and four midline step sequences, two good level four lifts, a good level two diagonal step sequence, and a very good level three dance spin. The 2006 US Junior National silver medalist were awarded a score of 50.11, placing second in the OD and overall with 81.35 points.
“We skated very well,” said Samuelson. “it’s the best original dance we’ve done. It felt like we put a lot of energy into it and expression which was our goal for this program.”
Bobrova and Soloviev lost sync during their midline (with twizzles) footwork sequence, however, the team produced a very good level four straight line lift, a good level four rotational lift and combination dance spin, and level two diagonal and midline footwork sequences. The JGP Budapest Champions earned a score of 49.79 points for a third place finish in the OD. Although they tied the Americans in points (81.35), they were third overall as a result of their OD placement.
“It wasn’t our best skate, obviously.” said Soloviev. “We’ve skated better this season in practice and in competition. I think we can do better and we just have to pull ourselves together. These mistakes happen – probably because we weren’t attentive. Compared to last year, I think we are on a different level now. We’ve grown as skaters, but we need to work on our consistency to perform all elements cleanly.”
Gorshkova and Butikov placed fourth in the OD with 46.10 points. They put out a good dance to La Cumparsita which included two good level four lifts, a level four combination dance spin, and a level three midline twizzle step sequence, but the rest of their elements were graded at level two. The JGP Mirecurea Ciuc Champions maintained fourth place overall (74.18 points).
Grünberg and Rand also produced a clean tango which yielded a level three midline step sequence, two level four lifts, and a level four dance spin. They were fifth (45.62 points) in the OD and overall (73.58 points).
All other teams maintained their original placements from the CD as well.
Free Dance (FD)
Performing to Canto Alla Vita by Josh Groban, Hubbell and Hubbell opened with a level two serpentine step sequence, followed by a very good level four curve and straight line, good level four synchronized twizzles, a level two midline step sequence, and a very good level four serpentine lift. The judges awarded the JGP Courchevel silver medalists a score of 72.15 points for a first place finish in the FD and overall (154.15 points).
“I’m proud,” said Keiffer Hubbell.”This is our first international year as juniors and we skated really well. We’re satisfied with the week.” “It’s just an honor to be here and to compete against such amazing competitors and I’m just happy to skate my best all week,” his sister added.
Samuelson and Bates opened their routine of Latin remixed music by Thalía with a very good level four serpentine lift and level three dance spin, followed by a good level three circular step sequence, two good level four lifts, and a good level two midline step sequence. The JGP Mexico Cup Champions were awarded 70.63 points for a second place finish in the FD and overall (151.98 points).
“It’s amazing [to medal] and to be able to show what we can do,” said Samuelson. “We skated really well for us.” Bates agreed, adding, “[Our coaches] are great choreographers and I think they choreographed to show our skills the best they can.” Samuelson went on to say: “This is our third year doing a Latin program, but we love Latin, it’s a lot of fun. Two years ago in Novice, our free dance was to Ricky Martin and last year the Original Dance was Latin. It’s a great program, it’s a lot of fun and we really developed with the Latin character over the years. We started hardly knowing how to move our hips!”
Bobrova and Soloviev performed their FD to Armenian Rhapsody by Ara Gevorkian, which included a very good level four curve and rotational lift, but the team had problems during their twizzle sequence and dance spin. Bobrova also stumbled during the circular footwork sequence. Despite the mistakes, the JGP Courchevel silver medalists received a score of 68.32 points for a third place finish in the FD and overall (149.69 points).
“We were well prepared physically but we probably need to prepare more mentally,” admitted Soloviev. “We do our elements in practice well but we make errors in competition.” Bobrova added: “We skated better in our Grand Prix events in France and Hungary. There, we were calmer. We have improved technically since then. We have improved our edges and made the program more difficult, but not everything worked out. We gave away the first two places to the Americans. They are very strong and have great programs, but we’ll take revenge at Junior Worlds.”
Gorshkova and Butikov also had problems with their twizzle sequence and dance spin, but otherwise produced three level four lifts in their routine to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. The JGP Spin of Norway silver medalists were awarded 64.95 points for a fourth place finish in the FD and overall (139.13 points).
Grünberg and Rand delivered a flawless routine which included three level four lifts (one in combination with a level three lift), a level four dance spin, and level two diagonal and circular step sequences. The JGP Spin of Norway Champions placed fifth in the FD (64.92 points) and overall (138.50 points).
Zlobina and Sitnikov of Russia finished in sixth place, while Brouiller and Richaud and Spelta and Garavaglia finished in seventh and eighth place, respectively.