World silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the short dance at Skate America in Kent, Wash., this afternoon after performing a charming march-waltz-polka medley to music from the ballet Giselle.
Their total of 71.39 (35.25/37.14) points bested the rest of the field by more than five points, setting the duo up nicely for a third consecutive Skate America title.
“I think Charlie and I feel really good about our debut today,” Davis, 25, offered. “As athletes and performers, we’re never completely thrilled with a performance, but we think this is a good start and we’re very excited about this program and we’re anxious to see it evolve over the season.”
The four-time U.S. champions were rock solid from start to finish, earning positive grades of execution (GOE) on each of their planned elements, and a level four on each of three elements. The lone error was a one point deduction for an extended lift, but the interpretation of the ballet more than made up for the mistake.
“I think we’ve been able to watch a lot of ballets and Giselle to get a feel for the characteristics of how they act,” 24-year-old White explained. “We’re definitely trying to make it our own, but we’re comfortable with the way we’re presenting it. No one is going to be dancing a polka unless they’re having a blast, so we want to bring the audience into it in a balletic fashion and really portray that throughout the performance.”
Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver, 23, and Andrew Poje, 25, continued to show that they are ready to compete with the world’s best, earning 65.79 (32.66/33.13) points this afternoon. The duo was particularly strong on the compulsory Yankee Polka, leaving them just short of their personal best score in the short dance.
“The Yankee Polka is a large part of the short dance score,” said Weaver. “We spend lots of time on it because it’s a difficult dance for us, personally.”
“I like that the scores are a little more weighted, putting everyone on the same playing field,” she continued. “I like that it’s treated with importance, so you have to devote the same amount of time to it as everything else.”
The Four Continents bronze medalists delivered a sophisticated, yet playful, program to music from The Sound of Music, which proved to be a big hit with the audience.
“We are very happy with how we skated the short,” said Weaver. “It’s our second competition this season, so we were lucky enough to get feedback from our previous event and improved our levels and key points of the polka.”
“This short dance also has special meaning to use because of Andrew’s grandmother who passed away this summer,” Weaver summed up. “She loved Edelweiss and was Austrian, so we are really proud to perform this for her, and we are looking forward to it evolving throughout the season.”
Finishing in third place were Russian champions Ekaterina Bobrova, 22, and Dmitri Soloviev, 23, with 62.91 (31.16/31.75) points. The duo displayed more confidence than in the past with their waltz-polka medley.
“We are very happy with our performance today,” said Bobrova. “We skated to have fun and enjoy ourselves. We think with every competition we can improve and improve.”
The European silver medalists suffered from low levels—earning level four on just two elements, but are confident that the program will grow as the season progresses.
“Our goal is to bring the compulsory dance together with the original dance so that it doesn’t look like two parts, but looks like one organic dance,” explained Soloviev.
Finishing in fourth place were American pewter medalists Lynn Kriengkrairut, 24, and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt, 27, with a new personal best of 53.89 points. Their Chris Isaac program brought a bit of hootenanny to the competition, and was well-received by the Kent audience.
“We felt really strong out there today,” said Kriengkrairut. “We really wanted to get the levels on the Yankee Polka section, because that’s been really hard for everyone. We did that, and we feel really great.”
Giulietti-Schmitt agreed, adding, “We were very happy with our performance, overall. There are still some things we need to improve on technically. We can always boost our components and that’s something we’ve been continuously working on, as well. For us, it was a performance goal, not a score-based goal. We achieved that and we’re very happy.”
Germany’s Nelli Zhiganshina and Alexander Gazsi, placed fifth (52.30), followed by Italy’s Lorenza Alessandrini and Simone Vaturi (50.36).
USA’s Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus were seventh with 47.98 points in their Grand Prix debut.