Free Dance Preview and Virtual Program Sun. Nov. 14 , 2:00 PM EST | Golden Skate

Free Dance Preview and Virtual Program Sun. Nov. 14 , 2:00 PM EST


Wicked Yankee Girl
Jul 26, 2003
Sunday, Nov. 14
2:00 p.m.: Free dance

Of course, the order of skate will not be determined until after the free dance has been competed, and I'll add the extra info to the top of this thread at that time. However, I'm posting the meat of the virtual program now.

For all of the medal contenders except for Riazanova and Tkachenko, Skate America is their second competition on the Grand Prix series. All of them will have spent the time in between, polishing their routines and attempting to improve their levels on elements that didn't score as well as they would like. Most however, will be doing essentially the same routines they performed in their first outing. Some will have made some tweaks and rearrangments of their programs, including Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who felt that the original version of their free dance was a bit too jam packed with tango footwork outside the elements, giving the audience and them no breathing room. The Detroit Free Press has an interview with White and Davis, talking about changes to their programs here:

A preskate America interview with Meryl and Charlie may be downloaded here:
Another interview may be found on the changes they are making to their dances on icenetwork.
Of the couples competing here, Meryl and Charlie scored the highest in their previous Grand Prix
outing, followed by Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier, who won the free dance at Skate Canada.

Vanessa and Paul's new free dance was choreographed by Christopher Dean to "Eleanor Rigby."
Vanessa's costume is bright red, and Paul's is bright blue, representing the colors of the British flag. This program has been very well received. It will be exciting to see how it develops over the season, as they perform Dean's difficult choreography with more smoothness.

Alex and Maia Shibutani earned the third highest score of this group, placing second in the free dance at NHK. Their program to "Smile" and "Let's Face the Music and Dance" is a very smooth ballroom routine, reminiscent of 1930's musicals.

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje's program to the score from "Moulin Rouge" is the most lift-centric
of the top programs. It has four short lifts and two transitional lifts. For my tastes, this is perhaps a bit too much. However, the lifts have very clever entrances, and advance the plot of the story they are telling on the ice.

Finally, Ekaterina Riazanova and Ilia Tkachenko have not yet competed on the Grand Prix. Their
free dance, as seen at Nebelhorn Trophy, is set to music listed in their ISU biography as just "Mexico." At Nebelhorn, their free dance was scored just behind the Shibutanis. Their performance gained them the highest base level score of the teams competing here.

Stefanie Frohberg and Tim Giesen GER (ISU World Ranking 41st)
Frohberg and Giesing scored 44.30 in the short dance.
Coach: Rene Lohse
Choreographer: Jutta Deutschland (SD); Denkova and Staviski (FD)
Their FD: La Maza by Silvio Rodriguez, Cuban/Spanish theme
7th at Finlandia in the FD, 65.59
FD Skate Canada 62.10

1 Sequential Twizzle 4
2 Straight Line Lift4
3 Circular Step2
4 Rotational Lift Blown lift. Not enough rotations. Their performance of their other elements was fairly uniform.
5 Combination Spin4
6 Midline Step2
7 Curve Lift4+Rotational Lift4
8 Transitional Lift; no score
Base: 33.00

Cathy Reed and Chris Reed JPN (ISU World Ranking: 27th)
If only Chris and Cathy could master the twizzles! They scored 44.40 in the short dance, and are
second on the program today.
Coach: Nikolai Morozov, Walter Rizzo
Choreographer: Nikolai Morozov, Patti Wilcox
Their FD: So She Dances by Josh Groban
For three years straight, National Senior champions in Japan
15th at last year's World Championships
FD NHK 69.62
This slow piece of music without any real highs does them no favors.

1 Rotational Lift4
2 Straight Line Lift2
3 Sequential Twizzle 3 This had their weakest GOE at Skate Canada. Not surprising. They often have twizzle trouble.
4 Curve Lift2+Rotational Lift4 This was quite nice
5 Circular Step2
6 Midline Step2
7 Transitional Lift; no score 0.00 Very pretty
8 Combination Spin4
Base: 33.00

Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland GBR (ISU World Ranking: 28th)
Penny and Nick's FD is much better than their short dance would lead you to think. They scored 49.43 in the short dance.
Coach: Evgeni Platov, Philip Askew
Choreographer: Philip Askew
Their FD: Simba Confronts Scar and King of Pride Rock/Circle of Life (from "The Lion King" soundtrack) by Elton John & Tim Rice
Current British Senior Silver Medallists
16th at European Championships last year
This fall, third at Coupe de Nice, fourth at Nepela Trophy
NHK FD 66.28
They stay in lion character throughout.

1 Rotational Lift4
2 Sequential Twizzle 4 Their twizzles at NHK got level 4, but had some problems.
3 Combination Spin4 Their combination spin was weak at NHK>
4 Curve Lift3 This was a highlight for me.
5 Curve Lift4+Rotational Lift1
6 Circular Step2
7 Diagonal Step1 They had problems with this step at NHK, resulting in negative GOE's.
ran out of gas a bit
8 Transitional Lift; no score
9 Transitional Lift; no score nice lift to get 0 points for.
Base 32.50

Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giuletti-Schmitt USA (ISU World Ranking 82nd)
Lynn and Logan scored 52.13 in the short, a very respectable score for them.
Coach: Yaroslava Netchaeva, Juri Tchesnitchenko
Choreographer: Yaroslava Netchaeva, Juri Tchesnitchenko
FD: I Belong To You by Muse; Mon Coeur S'Ouvre A Ta Voix (from "Samson and Dalilah") by Camille Saint-Saens
8th at the most recent US Championships
6th at Nebelhorn
8th in the FD at Nebelhorn (74.23)
The lifts in this program are all interesting and well executed.

1 Straight Line Lift4 Nice lift
2 Sequential Twizzle 4
3 Curve Lift4+Rotational Lift4 This was their strongest element at Nebelhorn
4 Circular Step1 Their steps were not strong.
5 Curve Lift4
6 Combination Spin4
7 Transitional Lift; no score
8 Midline Step1 This by far their weakest element
9 Transitional Lift; no score
Base: 34.00


Ekaterina Riazanova and Ilia Tkachencko RUS (ISU World Ranking 34th)
Katia and Ilia's SD earned 55.52, and could well have scored higher, I think.
Coach: Alexei Gorshkov
Choreographer: Sergei Petukhov
FD: Mexico
FD Nebelhorn
Last year was their first as a team.
4th at the most recent Senior Russian Nationals
3rd at Nebelhorn this fall
3rd in the free dance at Nebelhorn (83.61)
Video from Russian Test Skate

1 Diagonal Step3
2 Curve Lift4
3 Rotational Lift4 (reversing)
4 Sequential Twizzle 4
5 Combination Spin4
6 Stationary Lift4 This was by far their best element at Nebelhorn.
7 Circular Step2 This was their weakest, although it did not earn negative GOE.
8 Transitional Lift; no score
Base: 38.50

Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani USA (ISU World Ranking: 14th)
Maia and Alex are still having a few problems with the Golden Waltz, scoring 56.46 in the short dance.
Coach: Igor Shpilband, Marina Zueva, J.Johns, A. Lenda
Choreographer: Igor Shpilband, Marina Zueva
Their FD: Smile (Charlie Chaplin soundtrack); Let's Face the Music and Dance by Irving Berlin
Current US Junior champions
4th at last year's Junior Worlds, 2nd at the previous Junior Worlds
5th at Nebelhorn this fall, due to a fall in the SD.(46.90) They were second in the FD at Nebelhorn, ahead of Capellini/Lanotte.
FD NHK 83.25

1 Spin4
2 Circular Step2
3 Curve Lift4+Rotational Lift4 This is a beautiful lift that works very well.
4 Sequential Twizzle 4 3 sets of very fast ones
5 Straight Line Lift4
6 Diagonal Step2 The Shibutani's last two elements were their weakest in GOE at NHK.
7 Rotational Lift4
Base: 37.00

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje CAN (ISU World Ranking: 10th)
Kaitlyn and Andrew's short dance was very wonderful, and they scored 59.48 for it.
Coach: S. Bourne, P. Camerlengo, A. Krylova
Choreographer: Shae-Lynn Bourne, Pasquale Camerlengo
Their FD: Sparkling Diamonds; Come What May; El Tango de Roxanne (from Moulin Rouge soundtrack)
1st place at 4CC's in 2010
3rd at Canadian Senior Nationals
NHK FD 82.88

This program has 6 lifts...for me, it is too much about the lifts, althought they are interesting.

1 Circular Step3
2 Sequential Twizzle 2 They had a problem with the twizzles at NHK, resulting in negative GOE
3 Combination Spin4
4 Rotational Lift3 ( interesting entrance)
5 Curve Lift4
6 Rotational Lift3
7 Straight Line Lift4
8 Diagonal Step2 Their diagonal step did not score well either, although GOE was not negative.
9 Transitional Lift; no score
10 Transitional Lift; no score
Base: 35.50

Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier CAN (ISU World Ranking: 6th)
Vanessa and Paul did not skate their short dance at their very best, and so are just about a point ahead of Weaver and Poje, having scored 60.41 in the short dance.
Coach: Carol Lane, Juris Razguliaevs, Jon Lane
Choreographer: Christopher Dean, Carol Lane, Juris Razguliaevs
FD Eleanor Rigby by John Lennon and Paul McCartney performed by Joshua Bell
FD from Skate Canada 91.47

1 Combination Spin4
2 Straight Line Lift2 This was their weakest GOE element at Skate Canada
3 Diagonal Step3
4 Sequential Twizzle 3
5 Serpentine Lift4
6 Serpentine Step3
7 Rotational Lift4 This is a very interesting lift
8 Transitional Lift; no score
Base: 37.50

Meryl Davis and Charlie White USA (ISU World Ranking: 1st)
Meryl and Charlie's effort to fix the problems they had with the Golden Waltz paid off, but they had problems with the twizzles (Charlie slipped) and the step sequence. They scored 63.62 in the short dance.
Coach: Igor Shpilband, Marina Zueva
Choreographer: Igor Shpilband, Marina Zueva
Their FD: Il Postino (soundtrack) by Luis Bacalov; and Payadora and Recuerdo (Forever Tango) by Lisandro Adrover
Two time US Champions, 2nd at Olympics, 2nd at Worlds, 1st at GPF.
FD NHK 98.24

1 Straight Line Lift4 unique lift
2 Circular Step3
3 Sequential Twizzle3
4 Straight Line Lift2+Rotational Lift4
5 Spin4 I like this spin
6 Diagonal Step3 This was their weakest GOE element at NHK
7 Rotational Lift4
Base 37.50
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Jul 11, 2003
Doris - This is incredible work you do each year, and for someone like me, helps me understand the nature of Ice Dance. Bravo! As I watched a few of the youtube clips, I really got a good feeling between the Teams. For all the chatter about Skating Skills, it is with the Ice Dancers.

I can't help thinking that Reputation plays a big roll in the scoring but it does not interfere with my own personal judgments.

Thanks very much again.

colleen o'neill

Nov 3, 2006
:agree: Yup. This is really invaluable, doris ( Getting any sleep ?)

After checking these out again, I think D/W will have a winner in their FD. I don't just mean at SA..whatever changes or rearrangements they've made, there are a lot of goodies in that program. And even if it's not more polished than at NHK (which I think is highly unlikely) I feel those that think C/P could offer them any sort of a challenge are whistling past the graveyard.

I like W/P's FD better than I did at first, and I don't mind their opening pose,in this case, since I think it sort of echoes the kind of "posturing" of the movie..But I can always do without a voice over. I see what you mean about the lifts, but I don't know which I would cut..They do look lovely in a lift, while some of Vanessa's positions in their lifts seem a little awkward by comparison at this stage.....Have to look back again to see how they compare in the hold department. W/P's costumes are very nice..they have such nice long lines,they can get away with more detail than many .
I think C/P stand a chance of having their program viewed as a more " serious " program, for whatever that's worth.

But what, oh what are they going to do with the Shibutanis ? Every time I see that program, I only love them more. I'll have to look to you ice dance experts to give me the low down on the comparative difficulty, but it sure doesn't look easy... (although they look easy doing it.) To me that quickstep is everything you'd want a quickstep to, playful and light , light, light. Her carriage is second to none. Their programs ( and I'm dying to see the SD clean)are connected..two parts of the same presentation...therefore, I like the two versions of the same dress. It's such a beautiful dress to begin with...simple , elegant..nothing distracting about it. And though the programs are very appropriate for their ages and the fact that they're a sister/brother couple , they're certainly not junior-ish programs.

I'm sort of bemused..
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Record Breaker
Jun 3, 2009
doris said this in the frankendance thread, but it's an FD thing, so I'll comment on it here

C&P's program is perhaps more difficult, but doesn't seem to me to have anything to do with Eleanor Rigby, which is a song about loneliness and depression. This isn't helped by the fact that the version they are using is by a person who also is not involved in the song, and who could just as well be singing about the virtues of Bounty Paper Towels, in contrast to the Beatles' much more moving version. I find I can appreciate it best as an abstract piece, but I really want more out of them artistically. Perhaps this free dance will develop some depth as the season progresses. It's a lot to expect of such a young team that they develop both artistically and technically in the same season. At least they are much better packaged in this program than they were last year.

I quite disagree. They've chosen are far more intense rendition for "Eleanor Rigby" but I think it suits what they're trying to convey (a far more intense and desperate feeling: it's not merely loneliness, but dislocation). The way they slip into incredible harmony (the twizzles) and then into a synchronus disharmony (for lack of a better term - you see it in some of the step sequences, as well as in the costume design). It's definitely an abstract rendition but I find the theme exquisitely rendered. That, and I suspect that had they chosen a version closer to the original, there would've been far too many "D/W did this better" cries. This is their first free dance that I actually love - I found the previous two a little too airless for my taste.

W/P.... I dunno - I think this program is a step back from last season's Phantasia (which was a stronger program than D/W's, for my money). Firstly, I don't like how the lifts are positioned and crammed in there - they do four lifts within a minute - at least save one for the "Roxanne" bit. They look more comfortable in the lifts, but again - none are new. The one thing I hope they improve is their stamina. They really lose steam by the end of their programs (they did at NHK, Nationals last season). They are a very handsome team, though - despite Weaver's attempts to steal the spotlight, Poje is such a generous presence on the ice and he displays her wonderfully.

I also prefer their SD this season to W/P's, which is a big change for me from last year.


Wicked Yankee Girl
Jul 26, 2003
Well, she had one in the SD! And there is a lovely purple dress that she had in the practice, and Charlie went with a vest rather than a jacket.

BTW, I've rearranged the program so that it is in the right order.


Wicked Yankee Girl
Jul 26, 2003
The Oregonian has a nice article about D&W's changes in their FD-

But more significantly, it meant flying in renowned dancers Daniela Pucci and Luis Bianchi for a crash course in tango style and attitude.

"They made such an incredible difference in how we were approaching the tango," Davis said. "They got us to feel exactly what we're portraying and how to relate to one another."

For Pucci, the tutorial amounted to a real-life episode of dancing with the stars. Davis and White are the new faces of U.S. figure skating, the duo that usurped Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto as the nation's premier ice dancers.

"Meryl and Charlie were very easy to work with," Pucci wrote in an e-mail. "They are extremely professional, talented, open-minded and humble. ... We worked with them on how to build their tango characters."

Davis and White worked on mastering their expressions as well as an assortment of classic tango movements in order to bring more authenticity to their routine.

"It's meant to look like we landed in a club in Buenos Aires," Davis said.

For all of his many years as an ice dancer, former hockey player Charlie White admits that the tango required a little extra effort and thought. It's why he has cultivated a little bit of blond stubble on his chin and wears a costume designed to showcase his few chest hairs.

"I can't just be a kid and try to portray a guy who's trying to be sexy and tango-ey," the mop-topped White said.

I'm interested to see how this is reflected in their skating today, but I worry when skaters make too many changes between GP events. Muscle memory counts for something.


Record Breaker
Jun 3, 2009
The Germans were laboured - nothing impressive.

The Japanese were clean.

The Brits had two deductions - too long lifts presumably (there were no falls. I also wonder about the legality of some of the entries)

The Americans were hot.


Feb 3, 2007
any link to live stream? I allways ask this kind of stuff...sorry...I'm so lost for this stuff