ITA, NorthernDancers, with everything here. Honestly, you took the words right out of my mouth.Thanks for posting the videos from BC and Thornhill!
For G/P this video is much easier to catch the flavour than the one from the Scarboro gala.
There are a number of things they do well: innovative lifts, innovative spin, energy, attack, speed. They clearly enjoy skating together, and have a lot of presence on the ice. They are fun to watch.
This does not make them a great competitive ice dance team yet. There are way too many cross-cuts and too much 2-foot skating, the elements are not tied together smoothly, they are missing matching angles, lines and edges (the pictures tell the tale on this), the 2nd step sequence especially looked like she was struggling to keep up with him, there is not a lot of finishing movements or focus on the dance. To me, not unlike last year, it looked more like a modified pairs program than a dance program. We are missing the dance.
Last year, the Canadian judges seemed to completely ignore the realities of this situation, perhaps mesmerized by costumes, speed and tricks. And we saw ridiculous marks in Thornhill as well. I'm hoping the international judges will set this straight and have some more perspective. I don't see a problem with good marks on the tricks/elements themselves when they are well executed. I have a real issue seeing 8's and 9's on the PCS side when the skating and team basics are weak or missing entirely. As a team, G/P need to work on the basics in order to deserve those kinds of marks. My fear is that the over-marking of last year has sent a message to them that they can bypass/short-circuit this with energy, speed and flash. An even greater fear is that they will continue to get over-rewarded for this.
To me, I was very impressed with R/H. Of all the Senior teams competing this past weekend, I think they have improved the most. Their SD was really very good. The polka was very well executed, and they had some great dancing. They had good lines, edges, unison.....quality skating. I even sorta liked their costumes. I'm really looking forward to their FD. If they continue their improvements and development, they will definitely be in the running for 3rd at Nationals.
I was also pleased to see P/I back to their former selves. It was painful to watch last year. I'm happy to see they will remain in Detroit beyond the Summer. Comparing these 2 with G/P, they really are opposites. P/I are all smooth lines, soft knees, unison, close skating, beautiful edges, intricate choreography, understated charm, elegance. They are missing attack, energy and speed. I'm hoping that their time in Detroit will help them find this over the season. They are dancers. They just need some confidence, power, and speed - perhaps an easier hill to climb than the mountain in front of G/P. I think the 3rd spot is going to be an interesting 3-way battle between G/P, P/I and R/H at Nationals.
I did not include O/W in that battle for 3rd. I think it is likely they will remain in the same spot after the season is over. I didn't catch their FD, but from the SD, I don't see a ton of improvement. The concept and packaging of the SD is wonderful (small point, I love her hair, and hope she loses the pig tails in the future). It suits them perfectly for sure. They can skate fast, and are clearly having fun. But again, there is a ton of 2-foot skating, a real lack of innovative connecting choreography, not much range in emotion and presentation and general shakiness (especially on his part). I don't like all the different music cuts. Is this a rule in the SD as well? Can they not just use 1 or 2 pieces of music? It makes the program choppy. I'm eager to see their FD. I'm hoping I see more in terms of mature skating, quality lines and finishing movements, more depth of expression, more intricate choregraphy, and so on.