Skate America day 3 (actually written on day four...or after the wine/margarita party, what feels like week 4).....
I know, everyone's probably seen the whole event by now, but what the hay, what's worth doing is worth doing right...so I'll finish off my reports here and look forward to doing more from Canada!
Free dance: Well, I can't make the same comment about the lack of classless costumes for this one....heehee.
Starting off is Lefebvre/Markov (one of these days I'll spell her damn name right) with Memorial....Very nice costumes.....their pair spin and most of their timing elements were quite good, although it seemed he was off on the first set of twizzles in their straightline steps. Her position in lifts is really nice, especially the rotational ones. The music, I guess most are familiar with it, that it's rather the same rhythm and tempo, and requires a lot of energy I think to not make it monotonous and boring....they did a nice job with it, it could appear almost as mechanical if not done right....I think they have better quality than a 9th place finish here. 74.38/142.87
Hann-McCurdy/Coreno (Kykos house/Temple of golden pavilion) They come out in grey and blue unitards....and right from the start, they have some really funky, kind of off-center movements and positions that are eye-catching. Nice smooth position changes in lifts, and dance spin good. The style is so odd, it could easily cover missteps, because much of it appears to be intentionally "off" a bit. They are somewhat slow still and their twizzle timing and arm positions in the final footwork a little bit off, but by far this was the most interesting program for me (and some other folks I was sitting near) of the first 2 groups. 67.92/131.07
Mikhalova/Sergeev (Jesus Christ Superstar) Initial lift is a nice Navka style lift with her balanced on his knees, and as the program goes on, I think more and more, this is really looking at Navka-lite. Pretty slow dance spin, but the lifts are good, the footwork is ok, and they do the same kind of "hump and twist" rotational lift that the French did in the OD. Overall it seemed to be a pretty good senior debut. 68.29/135.99
Navarro/Bommentre (Beatles medley) They have good chemistry, and high "perky" factor....with them, it was like I was watching Tanith-lite. They were quite wide apart on their straightline steps I thought, but nice footwork, lifts....she has (what appear to be unintentional) slightly bent knees at times that straight would leave more of an impression. Overall a pretty clean program, and there were a few standing at the end for them. Personal best of 77.59, total competition score of 152.78. Brent Bommentre was the subject of much talk among drunken ladies later in the evening....
Watanabe/Kido (Fantasie by Chopin) Well.....I can't blame Novikov for me really not paying so much attention to them....they failed a bit to hold my interest. Overall speed is slow, and I kept thinking how much better this music was used in the hands of Shizuka last year. She has very nice position and posture in lifts. Otherwise, it's kind of "vanilla" to me. But it must be hard to be a Japanese dance team. 75.11/149.27
Zaretskis (Carmina Burana) It was nice that they used some lesser known cuts of this music, although they also threw the old familiar standbys in as well. They were off quite a bit during this program....she was off on the first twizzles....one of their holds appeared to be rather short/awkward positioned. Then, during a rotational lift they got frightfully close to the boards...she lost a piece of fringe from her costume (isn't that supposed to be a deduction?), and they were totally off on the last lift. Really a rough outing, but it looks like the program could be a solid one. 70.31/143.95
Matthews/Zavosin (Mrvca medley) They have some really nice, smooth lifts, and so much speed that it seemed almost that they were ahead of their music by a second or two at the music change. The dance spin had some very nice positions....she flexes her back so much, one must wonder if a) that's how it got hurt and b) if they shouldn't find other ways to score points. Very beautiful rotational lift near the end. 83.94/164.94
During the zamboni break after this group, we saw Hann-Mccurdy/Coreno up in the stands. I went over and let them know that our group liked their program the best so far (the truth)...Coreno's eyes got big and he said "Wow, thank you so much"....said they would be in Victoria watching at Skate Canada, even thought their next event is TEB. When I saw him later, after the full dance event was over, I said, ok, so maybe we liked your program SECOND best now....he laughed and said, Hey, that's still good! Nice guy. Coming back to our section, I saw Voronov and told him congratulations for a solid senior GP debut, and that I looked forward to seeing him next week in Canada. He asked if I would be there and I said yes, and I'd be cheering for him. He grinned, said thank you, and gave me a hug. Cute kid, even if he does look like he's 14.
Denkova/Staviski (Seven Deadly Sins) Ok, so the extent of my notes on them, this performance is "STUNNING" underlined about 3 times....Standing O well-deserved. So much passion and amazing beauty....sometimes you see a performance, and sometimes you see an "event"....this was the latter, to me. 100.12/201.58
Pechelat/Bourzat (Four Seasons....not the classical one) So, they come out in the weirdest costumes ever (except perhaps Chait/Sakhnovski's craptacular clown outfits)...They are true French. They have a fantastic headstand type lift with her on his shoulders....very cool. Neat choreography, even if some of it looks like cheerleader moves...could they be the voidiest French team ever?? Stay tuned. 82.02 (after 2.00 deductions) is a personal best, and total score is 167.28. They did not look thrilled.
Gregory/Petukhov (Adam and Eve) They still have the best and fastest dance spin of anyone here....very nice. A "wow" spread eagle lift....very nice speed in the footwork, twizzles as fast counter as regular rotation. Great drama. Totally amazing performance, and I've decided that after seeing both couples twice, in seperate seasons, I'll take Greg/Pets over Belgosto any day....standing ovation, well deserved, and 90.35/180.98
Kerrs (Last of the Mohicans) Nice lifts, nice dance spin although slow (especially compared to the last team). She looked a little apprehensive in the rotational lift, and I don't know if there was a slip up or not.....nothing obvious to observers. The have a little off timing in a catchfoot twizzle, and then she slips on the footwork...just a little off here and there on timing that I could see, but the program is interesting and goes by fast. 79.05/160.09
Void alert: Kulik there again, this time without Gordeeva and Elizaveeta (not that I saw, anyway). Just as cute as the day before. Olga Orlova is very beautiful and very tall. Says she hasn't really been looking much for a partner yet, but perhaps "in a little while"...she and Novikov will be doing a show this coming week, just a one-time deal. Saw Ryan Bradley and congratulated him on his new programs, they are so wonderful and he presents them well...wished him good luck at nationals...he said, "Yeah, I should work on the jumps, ya think?" Very cute.
Ladiezzzzz....NOT my favorite discipline (or even second or third), I never would have thought it would turn out to be one of the best events of Skate America.....holy cow batman.
Kiira Korpi (Phantasia) Very nice grace and elegance on the ice. 3F-2T clean, 3lutz with a lean on the landing, and then a fall on the second 3F. Spirals are nice enough, not the extension of some, but ok. Layback to catchfoot position. Combo looked like 3S-3T clean, then 3L, and hand down on the 2A. spins are nice, she uses the music very well for choreography and footwork. Nice combo of 2A-2T-2T. Very beautiful and lyrical skater, and after all was said and done with everyone in the event, she remained one of the three programs I would like to watch again, even with the errors, right away. 89.95/132.93
Mira Leung (Terra Cotta Warriors) Nice costume, good color for her. And she occasionally smiles in this program, which is a nice look for her as well. first jump solid (3F) but then 2foots the 3lutz and goes down on the second jump of the combo (2 or 3 loop, I couldn't tell). Camel combo spin to Bmann spin ok....not the cleanest or most extension, but passable. Seems to be working at connecting with the audience more. Spirals are actually quite good. 3S, then 2A-2T. Flying camel spin with a little off position of the free leg, knee bent a little. footwork is quite nice. Flutzed the second lutz (possibly the first one also)...Nice combo that looked like a 3F-3L-2L. Did a nice layback to Bman spin earlier, and combo spin with Bmann in it at the end....isn't that some kind of penalty these days? (I thought just 2 Bman positions in spins allowed now, or maybe that was just a dream). 83.73/128.07 She still has a strange jump take off and doesn't believe in the power of makeup....perhaps if we get her to lose the bangs she'll look more mature. Not sure.
Michelle Cantu (I could have danced all night) Greeted like a hometown girl (she has trained here in the past I guess). Started with a solid 3L, but then turned out on the 2A, fell on a 2F, and went on from there. She did manage to throw a 3S-2T combo, but two footed the 3S. Did 3 2As, popped a second loop jump. Has very nice speed and position in spins, good footwork and presentation, but it wasn't enough to make up much ground. 70.66 is a personal best for her though, and 108.44 total.
Katy Taylor (Theme and Variations by Tchaikovsky) Rough day for Katy. Supposedly I read she has new boots....so hopefully this will be a rough one. Had one fall....3 doubled jumps.....possibly 2footed her first 3F, fall out on a 2F....and THEN, talk about moxie, throws a 3lutz into the program at 4:03 that I am sure doesn't normally go there...um, fall number 2, but I give her big props for that one. Good spins, nice spirals. 71.41/106.07
Valentina Marchei (Adios Nonino) Started with a badly 2footed 3Lutz....2F, then a 2 footed 3F....combo spin....salchow (not sure if it was a 2 or 3), put hand down. Combo spin again, spirals ok. 3L 2 footed, hand down. 2A-1T. Footwork pretty good, but she was so not on today she even wobbled on her final pose. Rough programs, back to back. 73.89/116.81
Mao Asada (Czardas) Well, this was the closest thing we've seen so far to a Mao meltdown....NOT her day. Popped the 3A...then did 2A-2L. Popped flip to a double. She does show a little more expression than she did at Campbells just a week ago, but the lost 3A seemed to take the wind out of her sails. Nice footwork and really nice combo spin. Did a 3F, then 3flutz, nice spirals, 3L-2L, camel to donut combo (only drops her hip a little bit), does another 3(f)lutz, combo spin to 1-hand bmann. Fantastic for another skater...for Mao, not great. 102.39/171.23
Emily Hughes (Sylvia) Started with a beautiful 2A, and already we are seeing the Emily attack. 3F was popped, but never even got up in the air....kind of turned out on the ice, and it looks like she didn't get her pick in? Then gets right back into it with a 3Lutz-2t-2loop great. Flying sit spin with great position....I've decided that I could watch Emily spin all day...she's awesome. Charlotte into that layback spin with the beautiful position, into a Bmann the way it's SUPPOSED to look! 3S, then re-pops the second 3F....beautiful spirals, camel to combo spin really lovely. 3T, but then pops the 3lutz to double. Camel spin combo wonderful also. What she does good, she does great....wish the jumps would be there. I've discovered that I like Emily better than Kimmie....and Katy.....and many of the other recent U.S. skaters I've seen. 89.92/147.34
Kimmie Meissner (Galicia) Ahhh, NOW let the games begin....now that Mao has let the door open, lets see big guns come in ablazing....and so they did. 3lutz-3toe with NO cheat on the jumps....nice high 2A, and I think that's all she was going for (didn't have a "popped" look to it). 3F-2T....nice choreography, and I noted in her short program, the airplane arms are starting to dissipate some....she is a bit softer in the hands and wrists. Footwork is great, nice camel combo spin with good speed and positions. 3S. Spirals are really nice, except her extension in the hydrant spiral thingy....a little lacking there. 3L. sit spin combo good. Fly camel to donut spin and YES, dangit, she drops her hip for it GRRRRRR. 3lutz, 2A, other combo spin, and we have ourselves a perfect program. Standing ovation, deserved, not just because of who she is. Well done Kimmie. 118.96/177.78
Miki Ando (Mendolsson Violin Concerto) And the big gun comes right back at her. 3Lutz-3Loop perfect. 3S, 3F....beautiful choreography, nice gentle and soft expression that fits the music. Sit spin combo good. Spirals still her weakest point, but similar level of many others. 3 lutz. 3S-3L-2L, dead on. 3F-2L. 2A. spin combo great. Footwork is so wonderful in it's expression of the music, audience is clapping for her before she's through with the sequence. Combo spin at the end wonderful, and we have back to back WOW programs. Way to go Miki!!! 125.85 is a personal best by far, and total for competition is 192.59 (for those who are wondering, she would have surpassed Kevin Vanderperren for 4th in the men's event).
Sarah Meier (Pride and Prejudice) Ok, so I felt bad for Miki, having to follow Kimmie's great skate. I felt extra bad for Sarah, having to follow two of them. She rose to the occasion. started with a beautiful 3Lutz-2t-2l combo....then 3S-2t, then 3F. Beautiful expression to the music, very gentle and facial expression very serene with it....I used the word "Enchanting" to describe her skating later, and the friends I was with (who hadn't seen her before and have since been converted to Sarah fans) agreed. Nice combo spin, then another combo spin that was great (possibly level 4?? I'm not good with level thingys). Another clean 3Lutz....nice spirals, like Miki, in the unassisted position, her extension isn't great, although I think her hydrant spiral is better. Then, the one mistake....singles a double axel....moves right back on to a 3S, no problem....combo spin...lovely footwork (slightly slow, but fits the music), 2a-2t and final spin, and holy cow, three in a row knocked out of the park. 111.41 is a personal best, total competition score 169.01, and my girl crush on Sarah continues. Had she not singled the axel, she would have beat Mao for bronze....wow.
Mai Asada (Swan Lake) Well, it would have been nice to end the event with four bang up performances in a row....but it was a rough night for both Asada sisters unfortunately. Beautiful 3lutz, and even more beautiful smile after landing it....3F with a fall. SIGH. Very graceful, elegant on the ice. 3Loop ok...nice spiral, very nice layback to b-man spin. 3F fall again....Oh my....oh Mai? 2S...lovely footwork with lovely facial expression as well....camel to combo spin good, then 3S-2t good....2A-2t, flying sit spin combo, then final spin combo very nice. 89.63 her personal best, although I'm sure she would have liked a stronger program....138.29 total.
Other void alerts: Chris Mabee using the ATM machine all decked out for the town....John Kerr with his ponytail does not equal Jarrod Swallow, as I previously thought....it equals John Kerr with a ponytail...which is somewhat better. Brent Bommentre (who several feel should be named Rick instead) signing autographs...Morgan Matthews looking healthier in off-ice wear....Walking past an incredibly gorgeous Platov who smells nice and has nice shoes....was on his cell phone, or I would have barked at him or something, just to make him stop and look at me closer...wheee! Preaubert signing autographs, appearing rather shy about it...he'd better get used to it. He was signing for one girl, and she gave him her pen....he tried, and shook it and it wouldn't work...she looked devastated. He whipped his own pen out and finished signing...very cute. Nikolai Morosov looks somewhat amphibian close up....not exactly sure what that is supposed to mean, it just stuck in my mind. Novikov is the most warm blooded creature in the universe....3 feet away, he emanates heat like some smaller solar system sun....I'd orbit him, but I'd probably be arrested. He also smells quite good, despite wearing what looks like the same shirt as the day before....not as good as Urmanov though.
Efaieva/Menshikov (Sorochio by bond) Their costumes look like they have eyes on the front...kinda weirded me out. They started out strong, the 2twistt, throw 3loop, SBS 2A x2 in sequence all nice....nice lifts and spirals with good leg alignment. Then she falls on the throw, slides into the wall. death spiral and next lift are good, then in the SBS spin he loses it, falls off the spin....she or both of them stumble in the footwork and they finish off of the music by a few seconds behind. On the ice, she looks like she's crying...in the K&C he looks like he's about to. They are young, and got some nice pity applause....81.85/130.53
Piatkowska/Khromin (Criminals soundtrack) and dressed like them also, in strange black outfits. If they'd been paroled sooner they would have had more time to work on this program. SBS 3T, he leans on landing, her hand is down. SBS 2A, again her hand down. She 2 foots the landing on the throw 3L. Throw 3T ok. They have some nice positions on lifts and spirals, although he is a bit weak in extension. He trips in the footwork, they finish with an ok but not fast pair spin. Some nice moments in the choreography. 78.63/103.21
Mukhortova/Trankov (Elegy by Rachmaninoff) Maxim Trankov in black velvet is good for the future of pair skating. And of the human race. Just a commentary. They start with a great attack, and the SBS 3t seq 2t is very good...nice 2twist, nice SBS 2A and lift, death spiral solid, and the pair spin is well done, showing off his flexibility (which seems at least equal to hers, if not superior). She falls in the throw 3L, then steps out on the landing of the throw 3S. Nice SBS spins, but then he gets off on the timing/position, and kind of aborts it early. Spirals are nice, the final lift is good, and they finish a few seconds off the music. They seem to give good emotional support to each other...nice to see. 92.29/141.31
Vise/Trent (Les Miserables) And the winner of the wedgie of the night award goes to Tiffany Vise.
Very nice program, with some interesting and different lift entries. It looked like he may have doubled their SBS 3T (it's harder for me to tell when they mirror)....Spirals and leg line are very good considering their height difference....then she falls on what looks like a throw 4sal attempt....kudos for going for that one! Timing gets off a little towards the end of their SBS spins (what is it with spins tonight??), and she actually falls out of the ending death spiral; but other than those errors, quite a nice and interesting program. And like I said, best wedgie of the night, so that was keeping the audience entertained 84.33/131.19
Nam/Leftheris (Gayaneh) Right from the start, you sense the power and speed of this team...SBS 3T/2T, then another SBS 3T, well done. 2twist, throw 3S great and high...dance lift into shoot the duck-death spiral nice. Then she goes down on the throw 3L....nice lift and very nice spirals except for the fan position (how many people can actually do that one well?? Not enough). Another nice lift, then again, SBS spins just slightly off in timing, get back in synch at the end. He slips once on the footwork, and they finish about 2 seconds off the music. Nicely done most of it, and most of their errors were small...Intricate program. 104/161.32
Inoue/Baldwin (Puccini) Starting element is SBS 3T...here's a shock, he fell. (SIGH) 2 twist nice, death spiral and lift are very nice. SBS spins with perfect timing (FINALLY!) Another lift, and then a pair spin with nice speed and position, and very smooth changes of direction. She falls on the throw 3A...and as they pass by us closer, you can see a bruise on right outer hip, so apparantly practices have not been so smooth either, poor thing. Spirals are nice, and the throw 3L is very solid. SBS 2A in sequence, first set good, second one he puts his hands down. Footowork and final lift good, and they also finish slightly behind their music. What can I say? Rena is a rock star and John is, well, John. 110.62/169.90
Langlois/Hay (The notebook) Ok, so I do have an Annabelle aversion because she reminds me of Katy Taylor, who reminds me of Barbie, who reminds me of all that I am not....GRRRR. But what can I say? This is a beautiful, romantic program. SBS 2A is very good, then the throw 3L with a fallout. 2twist is nice, lift is very smooth and flowing. SBS 3T, he puts a hand down, then 2t. They have nice mood and emotion, and a very nice dancey FW section in the middle well done. SBS spins are right on, nice lift with position changes. She goes down again on the throw 3S. Pair spiral with very nice leg line and positions. Dance lift into overhead lift, then spread eagle into death spiral, pair spin good. Really is going to be a beautiful program when solid on the jumps. 97.77 is a personal best for them, for 153.63 total.
Siudeks (Chopin selections) A warm welcome to one of the nicest teams in the sport (and most of the fans seemed to know that). Nice SBS jump combo and throw 3L, then I think he doubled the SBS 3T....beautiful 3twist, and great lift entries, very difficult and interesting variations. SBS spins with good timing, very nice spirals. Throw 3S looked like she may have had a hand down, but it may have just been a close call. More wonderful lifts, and very elegant footwork right to the music, final death spiral, and they are one of the few to actually finish ON the music! Standing O from most of the crowd, and beautifully done with just small errors. 111.13/161.47
Other pics to follow once I'm at home and see what is worth it and what isn't, and can upload them...then off to Canada!