CD - Golden Waltz
Local organizers must have sponsored groups of schoolchildren for the compulsory dance. Kids had been trucked in to fill the arena and packed it to the rafters. They went very insane for any kind of spinning lift to finish the the CD, and many had brought Italian flags to cheer for for Faiella/Scali and Aureli/Vaturi. Chanting Eeee-Tal-Ya (Italia) over and over, screaming and running up to the glass to cheer, the atmosphere during the Italian couples was like a soccer match.
Quick notes on the top few dancers. I am very good with technical reports on singles and pairs, but I'm not an expert in dance so just general not-terribly-technical comments here:
1. Navka/Kostomarov - class of the field, everything well done, good timing, edges, flow, speed and good expression of the waltz, very elegant
2. Grushina/Goncharov - great speed, very well presented, Grushina really projects outward to the audience, very grand style
3. Denkova/Stavisky - just behind G/G and seemed justified, she is still very sick (getting over a bad flu, coughing in every practice, I heard she has bronchitis) and overall they were a bit sluggish. Good edging, but the waltz is unfortunately not a strong style for them, they lack the extension and leg line of N/K or G/G.
4. Delobel Schoenfelder - deep and quiet edges, but need to project more of the feeling of the waltz and with more speed
5. Chait/Sahknovsky - flowed well, good deep edging (especially him), nice speed (could have been close to Del/Schoe)
6. Faiella/Scali - so energized by the atmosphere when they were introduced, they skated the first half of the first pattern like they were shot out of a cannon, with blazing speed and attack. The remaining 75% of the dance was a bit calmer and skated very competently. Their hydroblade highlight to close the program brought more screams from the audience.
7. Domnina/Shabalin - good lines, clean and true to the character of the waltz
8. Kerr/Kerr - well skated, good speed
9. Frazer/Lukanin - well skated, clean
10. Kulikova/Novikov - skated very carefully, with a smaller pattern, she seemed to be looking down at her feet a lot and concentrating inwardly on her steps rather than seeming comfortable and giving more attention to selling the character of the waltz
The Opening Ceremony consisted of a parade of flags and some introductory statements from competition organizers and officials. The highlights were performances from the Italian ladies junior national champion, who skated a lyrical program with a single axel and double lutz, and well-known Russian acrobats, Besedin & Polishuk, who treated the audience to a comic routine, with Besedin dressed in a leotard and tights as a modern dancer and Besedin as a hockey place.
r = loop (rittberger)
z = lutz
Top four were clearly a cut above the rest.
1. Totmianina/Marinin - everything clean and well done, SBS 3toes perfect, throw 3r perfect - strong flowing edge and back on her landing, lift a bit tentative but strong postitions and clean with well controlled one hand set-down.
2. Obertas/Sokolov - SBS 3t technically clean but not great quality or in great unison, throw 3f fine, huge twist. My friend Louis commented that the way the symmetry of the music parallels the symmetry of the movement is brilliant.
The seemed to be reaching for a level 3 on all elements, with many unique and difficult moves. The SBS solo spins were backward to forward change of foot. The axel lasso lift was particularly notable as it rotated one direction in a basic 1-handed lift, then turned into a carry with her in an upside down position with him rotating in the opposite direction.
3. Petrova/Tikhonov - in general skated very slowly. Tango is a new style for them but there wasn't a lot of choreography, the music became monotonous and the program became ponderous very quickly. He only did a 2t, her 3t was fine, throw 3r was fine, lift was good - one-handed with many changes of position. Spins were the weakest technical element (she missed the hook on the forward camel but saved it) other than the total lack of speed in the overall program.
4. Savchenko/Szolkowy - Perfect SBS 3t, she touched her free foot down on a big throw 3s. Nice one-handed set down of the basic lasso lift. Very soft and sensitive program, had many interesting and unique touches, complemented by her stong positions and good extension. The spiral sequence was particularly strong opening with with a change of edge forward pair spiral. The most notable thing in their program was the pair combination spin, which changed *direction* with the change of foot from a counter-clockwise to a clockwise spin - I've never seen this before and it was extremely impressive.
5. Volosozhar/Morozov - clean SBS 3t's, she touched her free foot and a hand on throw 3r, big airy twist, change of direction of rotation on lasso lift, good SBS spins.
6. Handke/Wende - technically clean 3t's but not very good quality for either of them, clean throw 3r, twist & lift ok, a bit off on the SBS spins.
The rest of the field is very weak...