2020-21 U.S. Pairs Figure Skating

twirlingaround

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Yes a bit they do, but not by that much. If the top two teams hadn't made jump errors, there's no question about the scoring. In fact, C/J and K/F look to be battling it out for the top spot down the road because they are both great and it's very exciting. I absolutely get why C/J and K/F are on top. Of course, the short programs factor in and they simply aren't there so that part was confusing to me as well. (shaking my head at all these glitches and technical snafus, and the lack of great communication readily accessible for fans -- the US fanzone site is not user friendly either).

Anyway, I love C/J and the new team of Knierim/Frazier!!! Plus, I'm happy for Meno/Sand who have been working hard for years as coaches, and were wonderful pairs skaters themselves. I remember. :) The quality of top two teams is at a very high level. But I would not be so dismissive @readernick regarding the importance of landing jumps in pairs, especially in international competition. I think Alexa/ Brandon's couple of jump snafus were due to slightly tight nerves by Alexa. They are still a new pair too, but they have come together really quickly and they look great. They may even be the stronger jumpers if they get the nerves settled. C/J though have a lot of magic on most everything except the jumps, which they are capable of landing, but seem to have difficulty in mastering consistently. For both top teams, they need to get the jump rust out. I know it's the start of an unusual season, but they have to try and relax and get consistency on those jumps because both teams have everything else. K/F are just new and have to build momentum, which won't be hard for them to achieve.

Honestly, C-G/L get a bad rap though. They steadily improved, and they are showing the hard work they did in the off-season with their new lifts and overall tweaks. They have to work harder at the lifts in being smoother and steadier on them, but I see their improvement. They looked fabulous at the start of last season, but they lost confidence and momentum at the most inopportune moments. I believe the setbacks they had on the GP circuit last season maybe colors how they are now viewed. Skate America was theirs to win, or at least strongly challenge, and they faltered. Sometimes, it's hard to climb back into good graces and to repair your own confidence after setbacks. They have a disadvantage on lifts and on how they are perceived due to the way some people look down on Ashley's height. But I like the way Ashley and Timothy embrace their unique differences and maximize their strengths to overcome obstacles.

Thanks for responding to my questions!
I loved C/J and they were great, even with some hiccups. I actually was surprised to see that Knierim/Frazier participated knowing they have only just teamed and on the ice for 4 plus months or so, I would have perhaps thought there debut would have been at Nationals. However, it was a pleasant surprise and they looked strong considering their short time together and I'm sure they have to get used to competing together and just overall coming together as a team, but they have done outstanding and look to have a promising future together. I'm actually excited to see what these two teams can do internationally.

Cain/Leduc have always been a fave of mine as well, however, their pair elements compared to the top two teams in this comp are much smaller, but they are very artistic and can jump, but in pairs you need to have the big throws, twist and high level lifts too.

Tarah/Danny - They looked the same, not much difference from what we have seen previously in terms of jumps, they still are doing a double axle and although some nice lift positions, I'm not sure I'm liking either of their short or long programs, perhaps it's because the music are warhorses but time will tell if it they grow on me

It will be interesting to see how all these teams progress through the season, it is only September and with the skaters having a lot of time off the ice earlier in the season, it's amazing that any of them were ready to put out there programs. So I applaud all of the skaters who participated. It was sure nice to see figure skating again and kudos to all the skaters for going out there and doing what they do.
 

BlissfulSynergy

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Cain/LeDuc lose points on things that might be less obvious, such are underrotations, missed levels, twist mechanics, etc. They popped their throw salchow into a double. Their 3S was definitely under-rotated, and then Ashley left off the third jump of the combo while Tim did his. They routinely miss levels and have questionable rotations. Tim uses his shoulder to help "catch" Ashley from the twist. They don't have the twist height or lift quality of the top 2. Their lifts don't cover much ice. Not that Calalang/Johnson have big throws either, but Cain/LeDuc definitely don't have a lot of height or distance on theirs, and she regularly lands with her chest down low. I think she's gotten better at disguising it, but it's pretty much just how she does throws. Some people call it "picking on her for being tall", but it's just reality that being tall makes pairs harder. She's a beautiful girl and there's obviously nothing at all wrong with being tall, it's just not advantageous in modern day pair skating. I think they do a good job with what they have. The level of their pair elements is more comparable to Kayne/O'Shea than the top 2.



I'm happy for Meno & Sand too. They've created healthy competition between their two top pairs. I didn't even notice Calalang/Johnson in their first season together because they were so rough, but they've improved a great deal. They completely botched both jumping passes in the LP here and yet still left a strong impression.

And Meno & Sand also deserve credit for getting Knierim/Frazier ready this quickly. It's unusual for a pair to be this strong barely 4 months into a partnership. And it's not as if they've been training at full speed for 4 months-- some of that was spent just getting back from a quarantine. Their twist and lifts are already really strong. Their throw 3Lo is massive. The one element where they are leaving several points on the table is the Throw 3F, one of Alexa's best elements, but one that Brandon has never done before and isn't used to. It takes time to mesh techniques.

I think they will end up being the most consistent jumpers among the top US pairs, it's just right now they're brand new and still figuring things out. Alexa doesn't usually miss a 3S badly, and it could have something to do with changing her jump entry to match what Brandon's comfortable with. But maybe it could have been nerves too, or simply having hardly ever skated full run-throughs together. It can't be easy to be thrown into a competition while you're still getting used to your new partner, but instead they looked pretty calm. I already like their demeanor together more than I did with Alexa & Chris where they sometimes seemed a bundle of nerves. Their 3Ts were solid both programs, he just took off faster than her, so they need more time with that. I couldn't ask for much more from them after so little time together. To me these two pairs were the clear 2 best, and the scores reflected that.

I appreciate your comments @gold12345. You are very unflinching in your critique of Ashley & Timothy. I don't disagree with the weaknesses you have cited, but you seem to give short shrift to their strengths. A&T have to work harder to compensate for their weaknesses. They need the right music and choreo. Plus confidence is a huge factor. I wonder how much Nina Mozer has been able to be involved in their training during this global crisis. Maybe some contact via technology, but surely not as much direct contact as they had in the off-season last year. They looked so much stronger and on-point to be successful competitively in pre-season comps last year. And then there were missed opportunities during the GP, when they had a narrow window of opportunity to break through in a big way. There's no doubt that faltering on the GP hurt their confidence and how they are perceived. It's easier for their weaknesses rather than their strengths to be fore-fronted at the moment.

A&T have worked hard like many other skaters during the off-ice lockdown. That's clear in some of the new lifts they have acquired. But sure, their lifts are not done with the same ease and amplitude as C/J and K/F. A&T of course also lose levels on their 3-twist. They need to tweak it to keep it polished and working the levels for them. I think they need Mozer's hands-on input for that and for overall continued technical improvement.

The short program scoring was much tighter, especially for the top five teams. A&T's short program was stronger, and they seemed much more comfortable with the music, theme, and movement style for that program. While their FS was strong, when I took another look at it, the weaknesses jumped out at me more. First of all, the dark blue costumes are too dark and not the right shade for their complexions. And, the styling doesn't do anything to enhance either them, the music, or the choreography. I guess Ashley wanted to switch to a dress since she wore pants in the sp. But the dress doesn't work for her in this program. They just do not seem as comfortable with their FS, and it shows. I like the punk-edge drama they exude in their sp, which works with the music. But they need to tone down the overdramatic posing in the FS, which doesn't suit that music.

If Camerlengo choreographed their FS, do we know who choreographed their sp? I can't find a complete reference list to programs and choreographers, so I'm at a loss. I think Ash & Tim have very good chemistry, line and presentation skills. Their 2018-2019 FS really worked very well for them to highlight their similar line and they were onto something with the connection they were able to express through the music. But their 2019-2020 programs were not quite as strong, although both programs that season were good and showed their improvement in speed and some tech elements. But Ashley did not improve the landings on her throws which came back to bite them, unfortunately. In general, their costumes have overall been hit or miss. This season I really like the sp costumes, but they need something completely different from those dark blue FS costumes. I don't know who designs their costumes, but they should explore working with someone else. I also think they should have reached out to a different choreographer for their FS this season, and try to explore something a bit more unexpected and different. The Rach seems a bit too claustrophobic and heavy for them, which makes it more difficult to execute new moves proficiently. And their interpretation of the FS music doesn't feel adequately worked out.

But that happens to a lot of skaters. For example, Alexa and Chris had a much more successful sp last season than they did in their FS. Even A&C's FS costumes were not that great compared to their sp. And the interpretation to the FS music was not impactful. The program never really got off the ground. Charlie White gave an excellent critique in his commentary at U.S. Nationals.
 

ice coverage

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... I actually was surprised to see that Knierim/Frazier participated knowing they have only just teamed and on the ice for 4 plus months or so, I would have perhaps thought there debut would have been at Nationals. ...

As a new partnership, Knierim/Frazier need to qualify for Nationals. It was/is not an option for them to simply show up at Nats as their very first competition.

The ISP Points Challenge offers at least three incentives to its competitors:
- For senior skaters, byes to 2021 Nats are at stake.
Top four senior scores (from those who do not already have byes as top five at 2020 Nats) earn byes to 2021 Nats.​
- Prize money is at stake.
Top five in senior events and top three in junior events earn prize money.​
- Results will be a factor in selection for international assignments.​

K/F are a prime example of those for whom ISP Points Challenge could yield big benefits.
 

twirlingaround

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I loved C/J and they were great, even with some hiccups. I actually was surprised to see that Knierim/Frazier participated knowing they have only just teamed and on the ice for 4 plus months or so, I would have perhaps thought there debut would have been at Nationals. However, it was a pleasant surprise and they looked strong considering their short time together and I'm sure they have to get used to competing together and just overall coming together as a team, but they have done outstanding and look to have a promising future together. I'm actually excited to see what these two teams can do internationally.

Cain/Leduc have always been a fave of mine as well, however, their pair elements compared to the top two teams in this comp are much smaller, but they are very artistic and can jump, but in pairs you need to have the big throws, twist and high level lifts too.

Tarah/Danny - They looked the same, not much difference from what we have seen previously in terms of jumps, they still are doing a double axle and although some nice lift positions, I'm not sure I'm liking either of their short or long programs, perhaps it's because the music are warhorses but time will tell if it they grow on me

It will be interesting to see how all these teams progress through the season, it is only September and with the skaters having a lot of time off the ice earlier in the season, it's amazing that any of them were ready to put out there programs. So I applaud all of the skaters who participated. It was sure nice to see figure skating again and kudos to all the skaters for going out there and doing what they do.
Thanks for reminding me, I guess my thought their debut would be Sectionals, but regardless your right their was money and qualify for nationals.
 

BlissfulSynergy

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Cain/LeDuc lose points on things that might be less obvious, such are underrotations, missed levels, twist mechanics, etc... The level of their pair elements is more comparable to Kayne/O'Shea than the top 2...

And Meno & Sand also deserve credit for getting Knierim/Frazier ready this quickly. It's unusual for a pair to be this strong barely 4 months into a partnership...

I think they will end up being the most consistent jumpers among the top US pairs, it's just right now they're brand new and still figuring things out. Alexa doesn't usually miss a 3S badly, and it could have something to do with changing her jump entry to match what Brandon's comfortable with. But maybe it could have been nerves too, or simply having hardly ever skated full run-throughs together... To me these two pairs were the clear 2 best, and the scores reflected that.

K/O's strengths are determination, adaptability and spirited competitiveness. It's how they became U.S. national champions. That's the thing about each member of the top four U.S. teams. Every one of them (aside from C/J) won U.S. national championships. We could argue that C/J practically won this year, but the Knierims' redemptive comeback pre-empted C/J's amazing and gorgeous coming-out party FS.

Ashley & Tim conquered a lot during 2018-19 season and that shouldn't be forgotten. I think A&T are in-between the abilities of the top two teams vs K/O, who are held back by a lack of speed and power. A&T exhibit more speed and power, as well as a bit better blade skills than K/O. It's just that A&T don't have as much speed, flow and ease of difficult lifts, throws and 3-twist as C/J and K/F. Both A&T and K/O have sbs jump skills, but with some inconsistencies. K/O have competent lifts and throws, and they performed a much improved 3-twist in the FS. Still, K/O don't get great height and distance on their throws. When K/O go clean, they can beat A&T when they make too many mistakes (as we saw at U.S. Nationals). A&T's throws and twists need continued tweaking. But Ashley has gotten great height occasionally with a good landing (see 2018 4CCs). It's just that she's not consistent or technically sound on the landings.

It's noticeable that K/F might have more precision and confidence on the jumps once they gain more time together. C/J can do the jumps as well, but it's not their strong suit. C/J said in interviews last season that they had the most difficulty adjusting to each other on their throws. But they've managed to work it out. The entire team at Meno/Sand's rink work well together. M/S have been at this for a long time and they learned a lot from their coach and mentor, John Nicks. Plus, as C/J and the Knierims said at the U.S. Natls presser, Meno/Sand champion and support their skaters as people first and foremost. Mentally and emotionally sound skaters with coaches who care about them are happier and probably train and compete better.

Actually, I do think it is important to land your jumps in pairs especially in international competition when competing against the Russian and Chinese pairs teams. I am sorry if I sounded dismissive. I just think that casual viewers of pair's skating don't understand why some teams who do land jumps don't score as highly as other teams who may have made jump errors...

I really liked Callang/Johnson's SP.

You are right that fans sometimes miss the nuances of how other elements are performed. And also when jump errors are made, it probably matters to the judges what kind of jump and what kind of error happened. But the other part of fans' critical viewpoints is the lack of faith in the scoring system, due to the way PCS are often blatantly manipulated, especially in singles and ice dance.

I'm glad C/J brought back their sp from last season! Their costumes for that program are award-worthy. They seemed more confident on the jumps in their sp, maybe because the program choreo was so comfortable. They messed up the jumps in their new FS. Jessica slightly tweaked her folded leg position on the gorgeous death spiral in the sp. She folded her free leg, but she didn't hold the skate blade.

... I actually was surprised to see that Knierim/Frazier participated knowing they have only just teamed and on the ice for 4 plus months or so, I would have perhaps thought there debut would have been at Nationals...

Cain/Leduc have always been a fave of mine as well, however, their pair elements compared to the top two teams in this comp are much smaller, but they are very artistic and can jump, but in pairs you need to have the big throws, twist and high level lifts too.

I wasn't surprised to see how well K/F performed, nor that they participated in the ISP event. I've followed K/F over the summer. They have posted training clips and so it was obvious how well they've been progressing together. Of course, the proof is in the actual competition pudding. :)

Yes, dramatic throws, twist, lifts and speed are very important. Still, some teams can have those elements, but lack polish and artistry. That's what makes C/J's and K/F's talent so exciting. They have the speed, power, pop, tech expertise and aesthetic qualities. But K/F have to gain more experience together, and both teams need to relax and be more consistent on the sbs jumps.

Also, a huge shout out to the costume designer for camp Meno/Sand. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. For both C/J and K/F, their costuming works beautifully in both of their programs! It shows how much great music and choreo combined with well-designed costumes can add to the impact of programs, especially for top-notch, quality teams.
 
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skylark

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Tarah and danny are leaving dalilah per both of their instagrams. Cant link at the moment
Whoa!! That is surprising news. Tarah said they're "exploring" training options. I don't know ... I'd kinda like to see them go back to Jim Peterson and Amanda Evora. I felt they understood what to highlight.

Here's the link to Tarah's: https://www.instagram.com/p/CFidBg5pzPU/
Danny's IG msg is identical.
 

Hyena

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My first thought was, WOW, it takes guts to say you're leaving a coach right at the start of the season, without a solid back-up plan yet.

Then I realized they say at the end, "We have always found success and happiness through supporting each other and staying strong as a team- and we plan on continuing to do that, together." So I'm wondering if Dalilah wanted to split them up...and they put their foot down, hard.
 

skylark

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^^^ I was just thinking the same thing ... a bit belatedly, I'll admit.

Dave Lease is the original take-it-with-a-grain-of-salt source, but he has said several times that Dalilah has a record of splitting pair teams up, often, Dave suggests, to benefit the male skater.
 

TontoK

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While I admire several of the other pairs, the top 2 were definitely a cut above the rest in this early competition.

I have been hopeful for Alexa and Brandon, but I was not prepared for how well they looked with so little training time together. This is a team to watch over the course of the season. Brandon, in particular, looked stronger, faster, more confident than I remember ever seeing him.

One thing seem clear. Jenny and Todd have something clicking with their pairs. If they have not yet been recognized as premier pairs coaches, that's about to change.
 

Makemi

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Color me impressed with Alexa and Brandon! For pair together for only 4 months that was a really amazing. (Although I'll admit to getting sentimental and teary seeing Alexa in Haven's lift pose). The jumps need some work, they're still out-of-sync but I'm sure that will get cleared up in time. I'll have to eat my words, I do recall saying many months (seems like lifetimes at this point) ago that I thought this pair would never happen.

And Jessica and Brian are just ❤️
 

skylark

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You are very unflinching in your critique of Ashley & Timothy. I don't disagree with the weaknesses you have cited, but you seem to give short shrift to their strengths. A&T have to work harder to compensate for their weaknesses. They need the right music and choreo. Plus confidence is a huge factor. I wonder how much Nina Mozer has been able to be involved in their training during this global crisis. Maybe some contact via technology, but surely not as much direct contact as they had in the off-season last year. They looked so much stronger and on-point to be successful competitively in pre-season comps last year. And then there were missed opportunities during the GP, when they had a narrow window of opportunity to break through in a big way. There's no doubt that faltering on the GP hurt their confidence and how they are perceived. It's easier for their weaknesses rather than their strengths to be fore-fronted at the moment. ....

If Camerlengo choreographed their FS, do we know who choreographed their sp? ....
I also think they should have reached out to a different choreographer for their FS this season, and try to explore something a bit more unexpected and different. The Rach seems a bit too claustrophobic and heavy for them, which makes it more difficult to execute new moves proficiently. And their interpretation of the FS music doesn't feel adequately worked out.

I've watched Ashley and Tim's FS from 9/22 several times now, and I see much more to admire and value in it than I did at first. First viewing, I expected them to be more dramatic at the dramatic points in the music that I remember so well from Mishkutenok/Dmitriev in 1994. The second viewing, I noticed a lot of places where they're skating not just in unison, but in the side-by-side same steps and movements that I love from Ashley and Tim especially, because they do it so well. Like this )) rather than like this )(, as have become so popular in pairs, mostly because they disguise, many times, that pairs aren't in synch with each other so much, or at least it's not a priority. I've privately hoped that I'd see more of their exquisite parallel, in synch movements, so I'm happy about that.

Third and subsequent viewings, I began to think that they just haven't worked on the last half of their FS much as yet. Their skate lacked what A/T are so well known for -- the drama, the emotional investment, the commitment that really shows when they've gotten their elements down. So, bottom line, I think this program will evolve.

More later ... I have a commitment of my own, a date with my honey. ❤️
 
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el henry

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My own wishlist for Tarah and Danny would be to train with Rockne and Stefania, only because Rohene is working out of their rink and maybe he could do one of their programs :biggrin:

But I also like all the other suggestions. :)
 

happycamper2554

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My own wishlist for Tarah and Danny would be to train with Rockne and Stefania, only because Rohene is working out of their rink and maybe he could do one of their programs :biggrin:

But I also like all the other suggestions. :)

I want them to Get Shae Lynn programs. that swan Lake still makes me happy
 

BlissfulSynergy

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Brandon, in particular, looked stronger, faster, more confident than I remember ever seeing him.

Brandon has been showing this strength, speed and fluidity for awhile. But maybe it hasn't been as apparent. Still, if you look closely at his programs with Haven last season, you will notice his partnering strengths. When Haven was out with injury during 2015-16 season, Brandon worked very hard with Marina Zoueva on perfecting his aesthetics and movement qualities. As a result, he has been evolving in his skating skills and expressive qualities ever since.

I'm very happy, but not especially surprised by how well Brandon and Alexa look together. If you followed the various Instagrams (theirs and their coaches) over the course of the past months, you would have seen clips showing their progress. From the beginning, A&B have looked pretty good together, especially in terms of athletic promise. Their skills jibe very well together.

IMO, Haven and Alexa have very similar body types, which may have made the transition not as difficult. Plus, Brandon has been friends with Chris and Alexa for many years, so the knowledge of each other on a personal level has surely helped. Chris having a personal connection with Brandon due to their early friendship days in Colorado, is an added bonus, which adds strength and solidity to A&B's partnership. There was no awkward adjustment stage of getting to know each other, or having to get over any former rivalry differences. All the top U.S. pairs teams have known each other for years, competed with and against each other, and have respect for each other.

I think Alexa's personality is more extrovert than Haven's. There is a joyful connection I sense between Alexa & Brandon that seems based on gratitude for this second chance they both have of pursuing their passion and achieving their skating goals. It also appears like they feel very comfortable skating together, which probably makes the necessary adjustments of getting used to each other's rhythms and technique not as hard or frustrating. They showed some slight nerves going into jumps, and they have to work on jumping in better unison, but it's clear to me that they have great potential together with the jumps. Brandon's renewed confidence in that respect is obvious, after his struggles trying to support Haven in getting mentally comfortable again with her jumps (after her devastating knee injury).

Someone else here already mentioned the issue A&B have to overcome regarding timing on their throws. But that won't be hard to work out. Brandon was a great partner on the throws with Haven, so with slight adjustments, the jumps and the throws should be strengths for A&B. Alexa gets great height and distance. She's probably working on becoming comfortable with the feel of being thrown by a different partner, and being able to control air position and landings. Add in their speed, flow, great 3-twist, and further adjustments on their lifts, and they will definitely be right up there with any top team in the world. Brandon & Haven were already one of the best teams in the world on lifts, and Chris & Alexa as well had above-average lifts. Whoever did A&B's choreo came up with a cool series of carry positions into a lift they are using in both programs. It's very creative and impactful, but I'm not sure it should be featured in both programs. Still, it looks fantastic!

The one-hand carry lift that Brandon & Haven patented and everyone is copying does not look as secure and exceptional performed by Brandon & Alexa, because right now the effort is visible. Also Alexa's back leg is not as high. Haven always looked like she was flying freely without a care in the world. It takes time to develop that kind of symbiotic confidence, knowledge and trust in one's partner. Plus the timing and rhythm factor also have to be perfected. On the positive side, the speed and flow that Alexa & Brandon are showing is better already than what Haven & Brandon had. H&B had speed, but they didn't utilize their speed effectively all the time. It could be because of Haven's injury rehab drastically impacting the confidence and forward momentum of their partnership. When they came back, they had a lot to overcome in trying to rebuild. I'm glad H&B achieved two bronze medals on the GP last season. After their miscues at 2020 U.S. Nationals, it was the right decision for H&B to split, especially when a new opportunity beckoned for Brandon. He had loyally stood by Haven after her injury, and they went as far as they could together. Having a new opportunity and a fresh perspective with other partners is probably proving to be good for everyone concerned.

Brandon is clearly excited about being in a stimulating, new training environment. TeamMenoSand are top-notch and their recent success is backed up by years of hard work, solid championship pairs experience, and a legacy passed down to them through John Nicks (former champion skater and famous coach of singles and pairs skaters, including Tai & Randy).

BTW, I'm from the U.S., but I'm giving a shout-out at the moment to the colorful flag of Brazil! More countries around the world should be represented in the sport of figure skating. I love the new flag feature. There's even a flag for Mars! :love:
 

BlissfulSynergy

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Jenny and Todd have something clicking with their pairs. If they have not yet been recognized as premier pairs coaches,

They were definitely known to be good pairs coaches, carrying on a legacy passed down through John Nicks. Many factors though go into achieving high profile renown. You need to coach champions. Many skaters have the potential to achieve championship goals, but life often happens which makes forward progress to the top levels a constant uphill battle. Meno/Sand have hung in there with all of their students, putting care for each individual skater first, always. Do not forget that Marley/Brubaker (coached by M/S) were heading for greatness, but it didn't happen for unfortunate reasons, beyond Meno/Sand's control. I'm sure M/S had other promising pairs teams over the years who only progressed so far. It takes time to achieve top level success. The moments along the way have to be appreciated, valued, and lessons learned from.

Another excellent team for M/S was Jessica Calalang/ Zach Sidhu who were coming along well before Sidhu experienced back problems, which scuttled their forward momentum as a competitive team. Chelsea Liu/ Brian Johnson had success on the junior level and they were good together in their senior season debut, but I don't think they were physically well-matched. C/S and L/J trained together under Meno/Sand for a few years at least. Who knew that magic would happen when Jessica was eventually paired with Brian to form such a lovely and engaging partnership! C/J were good from the very beginning at their first U.S. Nationals in 2019. They showed range in a jazzy sp by Rohene Ward and in a classic/modern fp that was probably by Cindy Stuart who has done wonderful work for them every time. I absolutely love C/J's current and last season's sp by Benoit Richaud to Game of Thrones' Light of the Seven! And their costumes this season and last season are so great! Who designs the costumes for C/J and K/F? Fabulous job for both teams in both programs. Also, did Cindy Stuart choreograph Alexa & Brandon's new programs, or was it Benoit Richaud? (he had choreographed for Alexa & Chris previously)

Everything has eventually come together quite beautifully and deservedly for Meno/Sand and crew, with a great new state-of-the-art training rink shared with another top-notch coach (Rafael Arutunian) and his students. Meno/Sand were recognized with the PSA coach of the year award recently for their work with C/J and the Knierims.
 
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BlissfulSynergy

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Whoa!! That is surprising news. Tarah said they're "exploring" training options. I don't know ... I'd kinda like to see them go back to Jim Peterson and Amanda Evora. I felt they understood what to highlight.

Here's the link to Tarah's: https://www.instagram.com/p/CFidBg5pzPU/
Danny's IG msg is identical.

Yes, that's interesting news. We won't know where they are moving until it's announced, though I've seen a lot of speculation. I'm not sure why there has been speculation T&D would consider training in Canada, especially during a time like the one we are currently in. But I saw that mentioned elsewhere as a fan preference. I don't see that happening at all. It's more likely that T&D would return to train with Jim Peterson and Amanda Evora, who are now located in Canton, Michigan.

Berton/Brubaker are fairly new coaches who are building their profile and coaching careers. Are B/B now located in Colorado Springs? I think T&D are at a stage where they are looking for experienced expertise from established coaches, and trying to achieve new heights with their skating. I don't see them leaving Dalilah Sappenfiled for less experienced coaches. It has probably been good for Tarah to be at the Colorado training facility for physical rehab, strengthening, etc. So, I wouldn't completely rule out Berton/Brubaker, but I'm not convinced that's the direction they would go in.

That said, it makes me wonder whether T&J might not want some of the training excitement and success we all see happening at the Meno/Sand state-of-the-art rink in California. But the question will be whether Meno/Sand and crew would take on another top rival team. In addition to their top senior teams C/J and K/F, they are coaching Nate Bartholomay with his new partner, Katie McBeath. And Megan Wessenberg is under their tutelage too, as she searches for a pairs partner. M/S also have junior teams coming up the ranks.

T&D did not make stellar or significant progress with Dalilah, aside from some slight but inconsistent improvements with their 3-twist. As everyone can see, T&D's biggest drawback is their lack of speed and Tarah's noticeable lack of blade prowess (which is connected with the ability to gain speed). They also need to develop more pop and power with their elements, which is a must if they hope to compete with the top three teams, and especially the top two Meno/Sand teams. T&J's greatest strengths are their competitiveness and desire to improve, along with their loyalty to supporting each other.
 
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BlissfulSynergy

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I must have misread @el henry's earlier post in thinking Berton/Brubaker moved to Colorado. I guess then they are still in Brubaker's hometown of Chicago. Maybe Rohene is now stationed at B/B's rink but AFAIK, Rohene is still a free agent as a choreographer. He choreographed C/J's debut sp, and he still works with Jason, who is from Chicago. Rohene is originally from Minneapolis, I believe.

Did Rohene choreograph programs for B/B's recently debuted senior team, Lockley/Prochnow, who were competitive as juniors? L/P have suffered injuries recently and their progress has been slowed as a result.

at the end, [Tarah & Danny said]: "We have always found success and happiness through supporting each other and staying strong as a team- and we plan on continuing to do that, together." So I'm wondering if Dalilah wanted to split them up...and they put their foot down, hard.

You might be onto something. That might be very possible, since we have witnessed how often Dalilah switches pairs partners. Dalilah is known for bringing Chris & Alexa together, which was great for them both personally and professionally. Most recently, I guess Sarah Feng was left in the dust when she was dropped by Nyman & Dalilah in favor of young Russian skater, Nadezhda Labazina. As recently reported, Dalilah has now paired T.J. Nyman with Haven Denney! I wonder if Haven reached out to Dalilah, or if Dalilah called Haven first, knowing that Haven was still interested in continuing after the split with Brandon?

As well, Danny Neudecker split with long-time partner Nica Digerness. Surely, that was because Dalilah felt Sasha F. (whose father is a coach and a former ice dancer) with her atheticism and jumping talent, would be a good match for Danny. Nica has been recovering from an injury, but in the meantime, Dalilah paired Nica with Ian Meyh, who was formerly a promising partner for Chelsea Liu (who became Jiaxi Liu when she departed the U.S. for China. But it appears that Chelsea's adventure with Xie Zhong is now over, since reportedly he has retired).

Apparently, Labazina is still with Dalilah. So what if Dalilah had suggested pairing young Labazina with Danny? Who knows. :popcorn:

Danny definitely seems very loyal to Tarah (they used to be in an off-ice relationship). Maybe Dalilah anticipated finding a different partner for Tarah. Or maybe she initially wanted Tarah to skate with T.J. (who was formerly dating Tarah). But then, the idea for Haven & T.J. must have taken shape. I wonder why T.J. and Labazina were not working out as a pair.

Ultimately, Tarah & Danny need to find something to help them progress in their areas of weakness, because they have lost ground to the top two teams. Ashley/Timothy are also stronger on any given day, unless they make too many errors, and T&D skate clean.
 
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BlissfulSynergy

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I want them to Get Shae Lynn programs. that swan Lake still makes me happy

The Swan Lake program was gorgeous on T&D, and it took their skating to a new level. It was choreographed by Canadians Shae Lynn Bourne and Shae Zukiwsky. The latter Shae is now in a top role with Skate Canada as Senior Director, Performance Excellence, so he would be unlikely to collaborate again with Shae Lynn on choreography for a current U.S. pairs team.

Perhaps T&D could reach out to Shae Lynn once again, but I'm sure cost is a factor, plus distance during these times. I think T&D have two good programs this season which they seem comfortable with. They need to focus more on improving Tarah's skating skills, increasing their speed and training for more strength and power.

I would love to see what Shae Lynn was working on with James/Cipres, but I guess we never will, unless they skate the program in exhibition at some point.
 

el henry

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I apologize for any confusion, @BlissfulSynergy, but per his Instagram it appears that Rohene has landed, at least for the time being, at Fox Valley as a "home base."

"Super excited to be coaching with this great group of coaches and friends!!!! More like family. Hope to see you all at Fox Valley soon!!!! ... Rockne n Stefania!!"

Ro's exclamation game, as always, is strong ;)
 
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