Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski of Bulgaria won their second Grand Prix gold for the season, while France’s Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder and Italy’s Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali won their second consecutive Trophée Eric silver and bronze respectively.
Compulsory Dance (CD)
The Compulsory Dance chosen for this event was the Westminster Waltz. The dance was invented by Eric van der Weyden and his wife Eva Keats. It was first performed in London at the Westminster Ice Rink in 1938.
Denkova and Staviski delivered a smooth CD which had strong flow and deep lobes as well as good unison to place first with 38.32 points.
Delobel and Schoenfelder also produced a sound and smooth dance, finishing close behind with 37.65 points.
Faiella and Scali were confident in their CD, earning 33.63 points for a third place finish.
Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France were fourth (31.53 points), while USA’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and Italy’s Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte placed fifth and sixth respectively.
Original Dance (OD)
The event continued with the OD in which the dance for the 2006-2007 season is the “Tango”. Couples can choose one to three tango rhythms. If two rhythms are used, one can be repeated. Vocals are permitted.
Denkova and Staviski displayed lots of character in their routine to Piazzolla’s Libertango which included an excellent straight line lift, a very good rotational lift, a very good level three diagonal step sequence, a good dance spin, and two good level four midline step sequences. The current World Champions earned a score of 61.15 points to place first in the OD, maintaining their first place position with a total of 99.47 points.
“It has been a long day,” said Denkova. “We practiced and slept, ate and slept, competed … It felt like somebody woke me up in the middle of the night and I had to skate.”
Performing to Tango Volver by Maxime Rodriguez, Delobel and Schoenfelder appeared focused and intent, producing two good level four midline step sequences, two difficult lifts, a good dance spin, and good diagonal step sequence. The French National Champions earned 59.25 points for a second place finish in the OD and overall (96.90 points).
“The day was long,” said Schoenfelder, adding that they were pleased with their OD. “We prepared well for this event.”
Faiella and Scali displayed precision and power in their dance to Tanguera, delivering a good level three diagonal step sequence, a level four midline step sequence with twizzles, and two difficult lifts. The two-time and reigning Italian National silver medalists were awarded a score of 54.76 for their tango, placing third in the OD and overall (88.39 points).
“We’re happy because our Original Dance wasn’t so good at Skate Canada,” said Scali, referring to his partner’s fall.
Teammates Cappellini and Lanotte, who stood in sixth after the CD, placed fourth (49.58 points) in the OD, moving up to fourth place overall with a total score of 80.76 points.
Pechalat and Bourzat placed fifth (49.23 points) in the OD and with an overall score of 80.76 points, were tied with Cappellini and Lanotte.
Virtue and Moir had problems with the combination dance spin and Moir fell during the diagonal footwork sequence. The 2006 World Junior Champions placed eighth in the OD and slipped to seventh place overall.
Free Dance (FD)
Performing to Mozart’s Requiem and selections from the soundtrack of Romeo and Juliet, Denkova and Staviski opened with a strong level four twizzle sequence and curve lift. The 2004-05 Grand Prix Final bronze medalists also executed a good circular and midline step sequence, an excellent serpentine and straight line lift, and a good straight line-rotational combination lift. The judges awarded the two-time Olympians a score of 97.78 points for a first place finish in the FD and overall (197.25 points) to win the gold.
“We were a bit tired today because of the tight schedule, but we’re still pleased with how it went for us,” Denkova said. “We’re glad that we can show the spectators a little four-minute movie [in our program].”
Delobel and Schoenfelder performed their FD to Les Incorruptibles by Maxime Rodriguez, opening with a good level four rotational lift, followed by a good circular step sequence, level four synchronized twizzles, an excellent serpentine lift, a dance spin, a curve lift, a midline step sequence, a straight line lift, and an excellent straight line-rotational combination lift. The two-time Olympians received a score of 97.72, placing second in the FD and overall (194.62).
“We’re very pleased with our performances,” said Schoenfelder. “Our compulsory dance was good, and we grew in power and [in] confidence throughout the competition. We did the job tonight, which is very encouraging.”
Faiella and Scali, who stood in third after the OD, opened their routine with a good rotational lift, followed by an expressive midline step sequence, a combination dance spin, and a very good straight line lift. The team went on to produce level four synchronized twizzles, a good straight line-curve combination lift, a good serpentine lift, and a circular step sequence. Despite an otherwise clean performance, the team received a one point deduction for an extended lift. The two-time Olympians were awarded 88.23 points for their routine to Pantera en Liberta by Monica Naranjoa, placing third in the FD and overall (176.62 points) to win the bronze.
“From the beginning to the end, we felt stronger today than at Skate Canada,” said Faiella. “We wanted to show all elements straight.” “We still have to work on our levels,” Scali added. “We changed the last lift after Skate Canada, but we still didn’t get the level we were supposed to have. We’ve worked very hard since Skate Canada and we wanted to be perfect in this competition. It was important to us to start the season strongly.”
Virtue and Moir, who stood in seventh after the OD, delivered a good routine to Valse Triste which included four level four lifts (one in combination with a level three lift), two good level three step sequences, and a level four synchronized twizzle sequence. The 2006 Four Continents bronze medalists earned a score of 83.75 points for a fourth place finish in the FD and moved up to fourth overall (160.12).
Cappellini and Lanotte placed fifth in the FD with 79.01 points (personal best) and overall (159.77), while Hungary’s Nora Hoffmann and Attila Elek finished seventh in the FD (76.89 points) and sixth overall (155.36 ).
Pechalat and Bourzat slipped to seventh overall (153.30). Bourzat stumbled in the diagonal step sequence and fell during the circular footwork sequence, placing eighth (72.54) in the FD.
Denkova and Staviski, who had 15 points from their win at Skate America, earned another 15 at this event. With a total of 30 points, the team easily qualified for the Grand Prix Final which they will compete at later next month.
Delobel and Schoenfelder picked up 13 points and will compete next week at Cup of Russia.
Faiella and Scali earned 11 points to add to the 11 points they pocketed at Skate Canada. Virtue and Moir, who had 13 points from Skate Canada, earned 9 points for a total of 22 points. Both teams will have to wait to see if they qualify for the Grand Prix Final.