Home Figure Skating News Gilles and Poirier lead with narrow margin in Rhythm Dance

Gilles and Poirier lead with narrow margin in Rhythm Dance

by Paula Slater
Iana Saveleva

2022-23 Grand Prix Final Rhythm Dance

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Canada perform their Rhythm Dance at the 2022-23 Grand Prix Final in Torino, Italy.

2022-23 Grand Prix Final: Rhythm Dance

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Canada took the lead in the Ice Dance event by a narrow margin after the Rhythm Dance at the 2022-23 Grand Prix Final in Torino, Italy. USA’s Madison Chock and Evan Bates are trailing behind by just under half a point, while Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri of Italy sit in third.

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier (CAN)

Gilles and Poirier were decisive in their engaging Cha Cha/Rhumba routine to “Do What I Do” and “Rhythm Only.” The 2021 World bronze medalists racked up many high positive grades of execution (GOE) in all elements. The midline steps and pattern steps were only graded a level two, but the 2021 World bronze medalists received a level four for the twizzles and rotational lift. They scored 85.93 points.

“Every performance this season has felt a little bit different, especially in the Rhythm Dance,” said Poirier. “Today, the level of performance was the highest it’s been throughout the whole season. We really felt inside the performance and that was a really great feeling. Today, we both felt a little bit hesitant on a few of the turns in the step sequences and we did get a bit lower levels than the previous competition. We thought that was a fair assessment.”

“I think it’s so nice to have all the teams so close together and really make it a competition,” he added. “I think everyone here in this field is so good and so strong and it makes it an exciting and great event for the audience.”

Madison Chock and Evan Bates (USA)

Chock and Bates impressed with their feisty Samba/Rhumba to a remix of “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie, displaying quick and precise footwork while showing very good skating skills throughout. The 2022 World bronze medalists earned a level four on the twizzles and curve lift, while the midline steps and pattern steps were a level three. They picked up a new season’s best of 85.49 for a close second-place finish.

“It was super fun,” said Chock. “We felt a great energy between Evan and myself and the audience was wonderful and gave us lots of energy at the end. It was great performance for us. We came to put our skates forward and win the Grand Prix Final, but based on how the season has been so far, we are just really proud of how much work we accomplished in such a short amount of time. It feels really good to be able to perform these programs at their best and that’s what we are going do tomorrow at the free.”

“We’re also so excited to be back here in Italy,” she added. “We had the best time performing out rhythm dance today. We’re so proud of work we’ve been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time in the rhythm dance and the free dance.

“I think it’s more exciting for the audience, more exciting for the fans watching at home, in the Palevela, and, of course, for all of us,” said Bates of the tight competition. “We’re all very experienced and it feels that over the years there’s been many tight races. It seems like we’re always very close. It’s nothing new. It’s going to be fun and exciting and I think it’s good for the sport.”

Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri (ITA)

Guignard and Fabbri appeared focused in their sultry samba and rhumba which was highlighted by their level-four straightline lift. The twizzles were graded a level four and three (her/him), while the midline steps got a level two and three. The pattern steps also received a level three, and the two-time European bronze medalists earned 84.55 for third place going into the free dance tomorrow.

“It’s been an emotional night,” said Fabbri. “It’s always nice to skate in front of the home crowd. You feel a little bit more pressure, of course. It was not super easy, but we are proud of what we did tonight.”

“After the two Grand Prixes, we tried to analyze the performance and the scores we got in the rhythm dance,” he added. “We couldn’t change anything during the two Grand Prixes. We could only change something after. We felt that the last steps and the last music were the two weaknesses in the rhythm dance, and we weren’t getting really good points compared to other teams. So, we tried to see what we could do and we all agreed the last music that we skated on was not as strong as other music. So we decided to change it after Sheffield. I cannot tell you if it paid off as I haven’t looked at our scores, but we’re happy with what we did.”

Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Soerensen (CAN)

Fournier Beaudry and Soerensen of Canada delivered a dynamic Rhumba/Samba dance to music by Gloria Estefan, showing good flow and speed throughout. The 2022 NHK Trophy Champions received a level four for the twizzles and stationary lift, while the midline steps were graded a level two and three. The 2022 NHK Trophy champions also picked up a level three on the pattern steps are in fourth place overall with 83.16 points.

“It’s great to be on the ice for the first time this season with the best six teams in the world,” said Soerensen. “We still haven’t competed with Piper and Paul yet this season, so we’re excited about that.”

“This season has been a really fun experience for us so far,” added Fournier Beaudry. “And there are still so many goals we want to achieve. For example, we’re dreaming of becoming Canadian National champions one day!”

Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson (GBR)

Fear and Gibson were engaging in their Latin-themed program to “Vivir Mi Vida” and “No Me Ames.” The five-time national champions delivered level-four twizzles and rotational lift, while the midline steps were graded a level two. The pattern steps received a level three, and they the team earned 80.75 points for fifth place.

“It feels awesome to be here, like a dream like in Disney Land!” said Fear.

The scores were a bit lower than what they are used to, and Fear said that will just give them a lesson on what they have to work on. The highlight of their season thus far was at the Grand Prix in Sheffield.

“The atmosphere there was just outstanding and something we will never ever forget!” “Not saying that because we were British, but the full arena, and the warm atmosphere was special and we heard a lot of people say that!” added Gibson.

Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker (USA)

Hawayek and Baker delivered a high-energy performance to “Cuban Pete,” “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps,” and “El Cumbanchero,” while displaying lots of charisma throughout. Their routine was highlighted by level-four twizzles and stationary lift. The 2018 Four Continents Champions round out the six ice dance teams with 79.50 points.

“We had some technical challenges that we need to work on, but we improved here and there,” said Baker. “This is a really challenging event. Four of our training mates are here, and we are just really happy to be part of that group and we think we deserve being a part of this group.”

“It felt good out there, we had fun!” said Hawayek. “We have a lot of ‘firsts’ in Italy. Even though this is not our first Grand Prix Final, we had our first Junior and Senior Worlds here. We just feel so calm here, beautiful people, and the food is awesome!”

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