ISU, stop promoting 2-foot skating!
Ice Dance Free Dance Report - 2013 Skate Canada
2013 Skate Canada
Ice Dance – Free Dance
Links to Other Reports:
Ice Dance - Short Dance
Ladies – Short Program
Ladies – Free Skating
Men - Short Program
Men - Free Skating
Pairs – Short Program
Pairs – Free Skating
Disclaimer: The GOE values listed next to the elements are ones I would award if I was a judge and they’re intended to give you a general impression of how each element was executed. I try to describe each of the elements but there's not always time to be as detailed as I would like and a numbers can sometimes say a thousand words.
I am generally very nitpicky, try to pay a lot of attention to detail and attempt to notice various errors that judges might have missed. I realise that I’m being very harsh but I try my best to apply the same high standard to all of the skaters.
Any questions, comments, criticisms and discussion are all very welcome.
1. Charlene GUIGNARD / Marco FABBRI /ITA/
Un giorno per noi (from "Romeo and Juliet") performed by Josh Groban
Dance of the Knights (from "Romeo and Juliet") by Sergei Prokofiev
stationary spin lift in spread eagle  – very well extended positions from both, secure, decent speed
spread eagle straight line lift with changes of position into rotational lift  – changes of position in the first part a little labored, her positions in the second part weren’t extended well, good speed though (+1-1)
diagonal step sequence [-1] – edges a little scratchy, not a lot of flow
twizzles: arm above and catch into clockwise arms bent into one arm above  –quite good speed but he was a little off-balance on second and third set and the spacing between them changed slightly (+1-1)
pair combination spin 
circular step sequence  – more pronounced edges than in the first step sequence, could use more flow though, the footwork was a little heavy
spread eagle curve lift with her upside down 
choreographic lift  – her position could have been extended better
Good attack and expression throughout. There was quite a lot of connecting footwork and upper body movement in the program but it wasn’t very polished. They need more extension in their lines and postures.
2. Alexandra PAUL / Mitchell ISLAM /CAN/
Dance For Me Wallis (from "W.E." soundtrack) by Abel Korzeniowski
Satin Birds (from "W.E." soundtrack) by Abel Korzeniowski
I Will Follow You (from "W.E." soundtrack) by Abel Korzeniowski
Going Somewhere (from "A Single Man" soundtrack) by Abel Korzeniowski
diagonal step sequence  – quite pronounced edges, good flow
twizzles: clockwise arms bent into arm above and catch into arms bent  – quite good rotation speed, maintained same distance throughout, well synchronised
spread eagle curve lift  – quite seamless entry from a transition
circular step sequence  – good flow
changing positions on take-off into one foot straight line lift  – very solid, well extended positions
to pair spin  – well extended positions but lost speed after change of foot
split rotational lift  – secure, good rotation speed (but again, extension from her not perfect)
catchfoot rotational lift  – quite good flow and speed
choreographic lift  – in character of the music
Sharp elements. Quite soft basic skating and good flow throughout. Their gentle movements reflected the character of the music quite well and their timing seemed decent as well. The program could have used some more highlights and light and shade, however.
Gentle and romantic music is definitely a much better fit for them than quickstep.
The coaching change seems to be working out well for them. They have skated very well (definitely the best I’ve ever seen them) and in the process they have improved their personal best by 2.42 points.
3. Alexandra STEPANOVA / Ivan BUKIN /RUS/
Hänsel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (soundtrack) by Atli Örvarsson
twizzles: arm raised and catch into clockwise arms folded into arms folded and head tilted back  – very fast, quite close together
spread eagle straight line lift with changes of position [-3] – she was off-balance from the start and once the first change of position happened, he went on a deep curve and she fell down
circular step sequence  – a little tense, probably shaken after the fall
split rotational lift  – clean but take-off a little labored and could have used some more speed
pair combination spin [-1] – off-centred a little throughout, could use more speed, positions were well extended, however
swung around take-off into kneel catchfoot straight line lift 
sit curve lift with change of position [-1] – tentative entry and change of position (as if they really focused on not falling again)
diagonal step sequence  – could use more flow
choreographic lift [-1] – quite tentative
They have quite good performance skills and it was a well-choreographed program, featuring creative transitions, in character of the music, and their timing seemed mostly on point as well. The fall on the lift has probably shaken their confidence, however, as they were a little tense and seemed to be holding back.
4. Nelli ZHIGANSHINA / Alexander GAZSI /GER/
Carrigan & Dips by James Horner
Mrs. ES Dancecard by Elliot Goldenthal
I'm Happy by Gorillaz
waltz jump into twizzles: catch with both arms (choppy from both, looked like three turns) into clockwise arms above (he was off balance throughout and skidded at the end, barely avoiding putting his free foot down) [-2]
diagonal step sequence  – quite well pronounced footwork
pair combination spin [-1] – quite slow
changing positions on take-off into sit straight line lift  – very secure throughout
circular step sequence  – a little scratchy
spread eagle curve lift with her in full split  – entry a little hesitant but positions well extended
spread eagle straight line lift with changes of position  – a little heavy
catchfoot rotational lift  – quite good rotation speed
choreographic lift 
Whilst they’ve shown some of their trademark over-the-top expression in places, most of the program was quite empty and there wasn’t much other than cross-overs in between the elements. It lacks a concept (well, there is one but you’d never guess what it was if they didn’t tell you) and coherence and really needs fleshing out. Last year’s Zombie FD proved that they can do much better than this.
Same costumes as in the Short Dance (as it’s a continuation of the same story).
5. Ekaterina RIAZANOVA / Ilia TKACHENKO /RUS/
The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber
circular step sequence  – quite neat footwork, flow not bad
spread eagle entry into catchfoot rotational lift  – very fast rotation, quite effortless
pair spin  – good rotation speed, decent positions
spread eagle curve lift with her in layback into rotational lift with changes of position  – solid
spread eagle straight line lift with changes of position [-1] – laboured, the changes of position were strained
twizzles: arm above and catch into clockwise moving arms into arms bent [-1] – speed not bad but on the first set they were a little bit off-synch going in and she lost balance coming out and had to put free foot down, third set was a little weak from her (didn’t move much)
diagonal step sequence 
choreographic lift  – suitably dramatic
Their basic skating is decent and they showed elegant and soft movement throughout. The program was very open however. They spent a lot of time skating apart on in open holds and the transitions were rather lackluster. Choreography lacked variety and creativity and was quite generic.
At this point I think that some radical changes are needed. A new coach, maybe even new partners. They definitely have potential but they need to develop their own style and produce programs which would make a statement and be memorable. I remember “Snowstorm” working out quite well for them a couple of seasons ago but they haven’t been able to build on it since.
Lv5 facial expressions from Tkachenko, as usual.
6. Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUE /USA/
Nocturne Into Bohemian Rhapsody by Lucia Micarelli
rotational lift with change of position  – good flow from start to finish, quite effortless
circular step sequence  – quite good flow
one foot curve lift  – very well balanced, quite seamless entry from a transition
transitions into pair change combination spin  – good positions but a little slow after change of foot
spread eagle straight line lift with changes of position 
diagonal step sequence 
jump into twizzles: moving arms into clockwise catch  – good rotation speed but both sets a little bit off-synch
ina bauer curve lift 
choreographic lift in character of the music 
Most of the elements were quite seamlessly integrated into the program which flowed well, was coherent and worked as a whole (instead of just being stroking into required elements, which we see so often in ice dance nowadays). Their soft movement reflected the character of the music well.
They have improved their personal best by 0.01.
7. Kaitlyn WEAVER / Andrew POJE /CAN/
“Life, Death and Tango”
A levare by Gideon Kramer, Astor Piazzolla
Yo soy Maria by Gideon Kramer, Astor Piazzolla
Milonga de la Anunciacion by Gideon Kramer, Astor Piazzolla
circular step sequence  – strong edges, good flow
pair change combination spin  – quite good positions and rotation speed
one arm rotational lift going up and down 
difficult entry into spread eagle straight line lift with changes of position 
diagonal step sequence  – sharp footwork, deep edges
hydroblade curve lift  – great balance, very solid
twizzles: arm above and catch into clockwise arms folded(he was a little off-balance and the spacing between them changed) into arms bent(she wobbled slightly) [-1] – rotation speed wasn’t bad but then wasn’t as fast as you can see from some of their rivals either
catchfoot rotational lift 
choreographic lift 
Deep edges, quite smooth basic skating. They skated close together, mostly in closed holds and their movement was incredibly well controlled and very elegant throughout.
Some more variety in the choreography would have been good to see, however.
This program screamed ‘mature and sophisticated’ and the judges clearly loved it. They have improved their Personal Best by 4.70 points.
8. Tessa VIRTUE / Scott MOIR /CAN/
Petit Adagio by Alexander Glazunov
Waltz in Concerto No. 2 by Alexander Glazunov
Allegro Moderato by Alexander Skriabin
spread eagle entry into one foot straight line lift  – effortless
circular step sequence  – good speed and flow
spread eagle curve lift  – very secure
twizzles: clockwise arms bent into arm above and catch into arms bent  – very fast rotation, entry ‘out of nowhere,’ close together and keeping even spacing
pair change combination spin  – well extended positions, good rotation speed
difficult entry into catchfoot rotational lift  – incredibly fast
rotational lift with changes of position 
diagonal step sequence 
choreographic lift [-1] – a little heavy and labored, they seemed to have missed the balance point, which was perfect on all the other lifts
The quality of execution of their technical elements was absolutely incredible. Very soft and smooth basic skating. I remembered Ola Kauc saying that it looks like they must have some invisible propellers lifting them over the ice surface because their movement is so light.
Whilst their movements were appropriately soft, they could have been stronger and more defined. They seemed a little limp.
Hubbell/Donohue and Weaver/Poje showed programs which had a clear concept and were very coherent. But I wasn’t sure what story this free dance was trying to tell and how it all tied together.
A very interesting analysis. It shows both the strengths and the remaining worries in V/M's program, and it also indicates that Weaver/Poje are ready to speed ahead. I know that it's very crowded at the top in ice dance (and has been for quite a few years), but after this Olympics there may be space for some couples to move up, and people such as W/P are very well positioned. And even in this Olympic season, there's still the fight for bronze at Sochi. (Assuming our top two couples skate their best in the Games, which I intensely hope for.)
ISU, stop promoting 2-foot skating!
We haven't seen Bobrova/Soloviev and Pechalat/Bourzat yet so it's hard to make predictions but I think that Weaver/Poje have definitely left their mark and are going to be challenging for the bronze medal in Sochi for sure. Both of their programs at Skate Canada were very polished for this early in the season, showing strong elements and quite sophisticated choreography. They are looking much better than last season (in hindsight the decision to work with the choreographer who knew nothing about skating for their FD wasn't a good one)
Whilst Cappellini/LaNotte have made a very strong showing as well at SA, I don't think they are skating as 'big' as Weaver/Poje. I'd say they are quite close though. It might be down to who skates slightly sharper and stronger on the day.
It's great to see the bronze medal fight being so open, it will make for a very exciting Ice Dance event at the Olympics.