Nicole Orford and Thomas Williams lead junior ice dance
The junior short dance was an extremely well-skated event, but it was the final team who came out on top. Unlike the free dance, the short dance is a random draw, so it was pure chance that allowed Nicole Orford and Thomas Williams to skate last, although they enter this competition as the top qualifiers.
Orford and Williams chose music from The Beatles for their short dance—a waltz to Norwegian Wood and a quickstep to Help. The new team’s outstanding speed shown through the waltz and their quickstep was as exuberant as it was technically sound. Their spectacular opening twizzles received +2 Grades of Execution (GOE) from every judge, and the program did not let up from there. With a level four and a level three on the Viennese patterns, they sailed through the choreography and delighted audience.
Their score of 54.50 was a personal best for them, and they still had room to score higher. Their step sequence only earned a level two, although they had planned for a level three.
With 51.96 points, Kelly Oliveira and Jordan Hockley (CO) are sticking close to the leaders in second place. Their Once Upon a December waltz was marked by beautiful flow and such a calm quality to their skating. They also received one level three and one level four for the Viennese patterns, but the highlight of their dance was probably the opening level three midline step sequence, which earned mostly +2s in GOE.
On the last element, Hockley lost his grip on his blade during the twizzle, which dropped that element to a level three, setting them back a point, but the mistake definitely did not affect the lovely program.
Only .08 points out of second, Victoria Hasegawa and Connor Hasegawa (QC) are in third with 51.88 points. Their short dance, set to The Merry-Go-Round of Life, is a charming program that plays off a typical sibling rivalry relationship. The Hasegawas’ base value was the highest in the event since they earned level four for both Viennese patterns, as well as the rotational lift and twizzles, and a level three for their midline steps. The program was skated quite well, but it felt a little cautious compared to some of the later competitors, perhaps since they had to skate first.
A scary moment on the twizzles was the only break in flow to Andréanne Poulin and Marc-André Servant’s (QC) short dance to the Glee version of Keep Holding On. The team flew through their dance, earning level four and level three on the Viennese patterns, and calmly executed their level three midline steps. They also soared through the rotational lift when their flow and speed got the best of them.
Poulin and Servant’s twizzles started well, but Poulin soon found herself trapped between the boards and her partner, so she had to bail out of the first set early to keep from falling. The misstep dropped their level to three and incurred -1 GOE, but it was less of a penalty than if she had fallen and missed the second set of twizzles. With 50.71 points, they are in fourth, but still within reach of any of the medals.
Laurence Fournier-Beaudry and Yoan Breton (QC) surprised quite a few people at the Challenge when they won the silver medal, and after a strong short dance, they are in fifth place with 48.37 points. Fournier-Beaudry and Breton started their dance tentatively, and they only received level one and level two for the Viennese patterns. Once the waltz was over, however, they settled into the program better and really sold the back half of their program, a tango. Their level three midline steps, in particular, were excellent.