Kolbe was really brave to compete seeing the accidente she had during practice on thursday.
It seems painful!
The performances are all more enjoyable than I was expecting since I have been a short dance skeptic. What I think is particularly enlightening though are the protocols.
On the performances, Tessa and Scott seem very strong at this point in the year which is not so much a surprise as much as it is a relief. While some may criticize the reconstruction of a free dance from a prior season into this season's short dance I think it is completely understandable and was the right thing to do. Scott is particularly convincing in dances that require attitude and Latin seems right up his alley. I thought Pink Floyd, was a tad too bland for him especially so this style and naturally this program really suits him. Tessa looks stronger than what little we saw of her last season. I love the light blue dress on her though it is hard to think of a color that she would not look good in. The color is soft but she still exudes confidence. Fingers crossed she can keep it up throughout an entire season which they electing to make longer than usual. This is something that has not happened for them in 3 or 4 years if I am not mistaken. I think they did a very good job of re mixing the music from last year's program too. I am not left thinking it is just a shortened version of that free dance. This short dance can definitely stand on its own. Overall, their chemistry is undeniable, and this program once again shows it big time.
Maia and Alex gave a performance that I thought was a wonderfully pleasant eye opener. They can shake it! I think people who enjoy their skating usually have visions of them floating around a few inches above the ice like Angels. The pre-conceived concerns that somehow Latin would present them with a challenge were probably not uncalled for given the stereotype of what "Latin Ballroom" is but I would say they have once again found a way to "thread the needle" in their typically skillful way. The start of the program especially has an aura of "cool" that I think will surprise people who associate them with "Nat King Cole" dreaminess. Yes, nice hip action (giggle) for sure. Maia to me is a true natural beauty for sure so I'm not convinced that one should mess too much with this little Goddess. Her outfits are always classy and tasteful IMO. Alex is a dynamo. That boy can shake it and while looking strong and very masculine. I think he and Scott both have that quality. Overall I think a really strong start for them. After last season, only a fool would underestimate their ability to keep on improving as the season progresses.
Madison and Evan to me were very pleasant, nice and smooth but also somewhat cautious. This is not surprising since they have not competed together much. With time I am sure they will make improvements. Their opening music is really cute. The height difference and their contrasting coloring somehow has the effect of making you choose which one of them to watch at any given point in time. Kind of hard to describe. When Evan skated with Emily, I watched them both.
Most interesting to me probably because I do research for a living are the protocols. To me, it showed how these callers were particularly tough. For the start of the season, that makes sense and is probably a really good thing. The pattern that jumps out though is that the Canton dancers were not getting levels in the two patterns. To me this says that there are simply some basic differences in interpretation of the rules/aspects that the callers are looking for, the key points, from what their coaches are teaching and training. When you have some of the most talented technical skaters in the world, this can definitely be fixed.
Level 1 for Maia and Alex is particularly shocking given how strong they are technically. For this reason though, there isn't a question in probably anyone's mind that they are capable of making the adjustments needed to get the levels going forward. IIRC everybody learned more about what was being looked for and am sure the Canton teams now have a better sense for what they need to do than before. I would be shocked if base values for Tessa and Scott, Maia and Alex don't go up from here.