Domnina and Shabalin maintain lead at Cup of Russia

Jana Khokhlova and Sergei Novitski of Russia won the Original Dance with an entertaining performance, but remain in second place going into the Free Dance.

The students of Irina Zhuk and Alexander Svinin were the most energetic couple on the ice, and their routine to Sam’s Blues and Puttin’ on the Ritz allowed them to post the best technical score of the night.

“Our dance did not have grand idea,” explained Khokhlova. “it’s just the style of the period. Let’s say a bar, people meeting each other, men and women flirting with each other…The second part is more entertaining.”

The 2008 World bronze medalists began their performance with their trademark dance spin, which received level four, and went on to execute a level four twizzle sequence. They followed up with a daring straightline level four lift in which Novitski holds his partner upside down while balancing on one foot, and both their step sequences received a level three.

The Russian Champions held nothing back, delivering the required elements and connecting moves smoothly, and both the audience and the judges obviously enjoyed their interpretation of the 1930s-40s rhythms. They scored 59.33 points and have 95.52 points total.

“Cup of China was our first event of the season and this one was second and it makes all the difference,” said Novitski. “We felt easier here, more relaxed.”

“We asked Slava Zaitsev to do our costumes this year,” added Khokhlova. “We are very grateful to him and his entire team. We are glad that we took the risk. At first we had some reservations about this experiment, but we are very happy now.”

Teammates Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin were equally entertaining, but had problems meeting the technical requirement for the elements. The couple presented an excellent interpretation of Shostakovitch’s Waltz from Suite No. 2 for Jazz Orchestra, opting to do the dance typical for the Soviet lifestyle of the time.

“When we started working on the original dance, we wanted to do something different,” explained Domnina. “We knew that lot of people would choose foxtrot, quickstep or blues, so we looked for something different from the 1930s and 1940s, and we found this music. We didn’t concentrate on it being waltz, we just picked up the style.”

Skating in front of the home crowd, the 2008 European Champions were able to capitalize on the audience’s ability to instantly recognize both the tune and the style, and delivered their humorous program on a theme of ‘Lady and Hooligan’ with a lot of flavor. However, their circular step sequence received only a level two and the twizzles a level three. The team earned 58.64 points for second place, and remain in first overall with 97.41 points.

“In 10 day since Cup of China we worked hard on improving our dance,” said Shabalin, “but it is hard to compare different competitions. We had level four circular steps in China, we had level two here… I really don’t know what to say.”

Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy finished third in the Original Dance with 54.25 points despite the fact that their midline non-touching step sequence was graded only a level two. The team showed excellent lines and basic skating skills in their lovely program to Secunda’s Bei mir bist du schoen, and their choice of the style worked perfectly. They executed all elements well and are currently third overall with 86.82 points.

“We are happy with our performance,” said Cappellini. “In two weeks since Cup of China, we worked hard to improve our interpretation – to feel more secure on the ice. We were really eager to show people what we have worked on during the summer.”

Ukrainians Anna Zadorozhniuk and Sergei Verbillo finished fourth in the Original Dance (48.38 points) with an expressive performance to music from the Chicago soundtrack. Three of their elements, however, only received a level two and they were not able to match their fast rhythm at the end of the program. The team is currently in fourth overall with 78.54 points.

USA’s Meryl Davis and Charlie White placed eighth in the Original Dance after a disastrous performance. First, White stepped out and put a hand down during the twizzle sequence, and then later fell at the end of the diagonal step sequence. He also slipped again during the midline non-touching steps. In the end their only clean element was a level four straightline lift, and even excellent choreography and interpretation of Happy Feet could not prevent them from receiving the lowest technical score of the night. They are currently in a distant fourth overall with 79.45 points.

Katherine Copely and Deividas Stagniunas of Lithuania currently sit in fifth place, followed by Russia’s Anastasia Platonova and Alexander Grachev.

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