Boston, December 12, 2003
This evening the Skating Club of Boston held an exhibition of skaters who have qualified for the US Championships next month during their regular Friday evening club ice. As far as I can tell, this event wasn't publicized at all, even on the club's web site, so there was hardly anybody there other than the club regulars.
Although this was intended to be the "nationals sendoff", in fact Nationals is still 3.5 weeks away so it's a bit too early to expect any of these skaters to be in peak form just yet. Since I didn't get to either New Englands or Easterns this fall, though, I appreciated getting a "sneak preview" of these skaters.
The first group of skaters on the ice were 5 of the 6 ice dance teams who will be representing the club at Nationals, each of whom skated their free dance.
Masten & Ramsdell, the novice team, were up first, skating to the disco classic "Last Dance". In the opening slow section, they did a dance spin, a hydroblade-type move, a rotational lift, and another hydroblade, then with the change in tempo they did their twizzles, circular steps with good ice coverage, a lift, and finally another pretzel-type lift. This was a nice dance for this level and they looked comfortable performing it.
Next up, Cepican & Lichtor skated to some music that started out as a slow waltz and ended up with some fast swing music. I thought one of the cuts might have been from the "Addams Family", so who knows. I was clearly missing whatever was supposed to be the unifying theme, anyway. They started with a lift where she was swung around behind his back, waltzy steps, a low hydroblade lift where he was doing a shoot-the-duck on one foot, circular steps, dance spin with nice position and control, twizzles in both directions, pretzel lift, straight-line steps, and finally the change-of-direction lift.
Devins & O'Keefe skated to an Irish medley in green costumes. They started out with him spinning by himself while she just posed. Dance spin, change-of-direction lift, circular steps, pretzel lift, lift with her carried behind his back, more moves showing Kevin off, a low lift, twizzles slow and CCW only, some partnering trouble on the diagonal steps (got too far apart), and a rotational lift to end the program. When they started out I thought it was apparent they were a stronger team than Cepican & Lichtor, but they couldn't maintain it through the entire program.
Gibbons & Pekarek skated in burgundy outfits to a medley of the "Montagues & Capulets" theme from Romeo & Juliet, and some vaguely-familiar new-age violin stuff -- it kept cutting back and forth between the two. The opening started with pendulum-type moves between his legs, an upside-down to no-hands lift, a very fast dance spin, twizzles CCW (I think they did 3 or 4 turns in each?), circular steps fast with complicated handholds, rotational lift with a drop-out dismount, low hydroblade lift, leaps in counterpoint, a crotch lift, dance spin, twizzles in both directions but not as fast or secure as their first set, besti squat change edge lift, diagonal steps, ending with a complicated rotational lift.
Galler-Rabinowitz & Mitchell skated to a tango with lots of percussion. She was wearing one of those fashionable dresses with a completely bare back and a big cut-out at the waist, he in plain black with a few sparkles. Opened with a lift where he dropped her down into a hooked-leg position, twizzles in both directions, low besti squat pendulum-type change-edge lift, low hydroblade, circular steps, another low lift, dance spin with another hooked-leg position, upside-down lift with many changes, twizzles in both directions, another lift, dance spin, diagonal steps, rotational lift seemed a little awkward both in getting her up and down. To tell the truth, I'm wondering if Loren is outgrowing David a little.
Next up, we had the singles and pairs, starting with the novices and working up to the seniors.
Juliana Cannarozzo skated her long program to a medley of "Jalousie" tango, the Habenera from Carmen, and Zorro. 2x, spin combo, intentional 1.5 flip, 3s/2t, 3t fall, layback, 3r, 2f from steps, ina, split jump, 3s with a quick step out, 2x/2f sequence, butterfly sit. Her posture still needs work.
Stephen Carriere also skated his long program, to a jazzy Elvis medley. 3s fall, 3z fall, flying camel, 3f fall, 3r, spin combination kind of sloppy, 2x into another jump I missed while I was looking down at my notebook, , circular steps, 3t step-out/2t, split jump, 2f, death drop. In spite of the falls, I got the sense that Stephen really can land all those jumps; he seems to have very good jumping mechanics, good spring and tight rotation in the air. What he really needs to work on is his posture, extension, spins, and musical expression. Perhaps that will come with time.
Katie Thordarson skated her short program, which I think is to the same piece of music that Karen Kwan once used. She is a very powerful, fast, smooth skater. Triple lutz off a true edge with a hand down/2t (this was better than any of her attempts in the warmup), 2x fell out, layback, steps into 2f, flying sit spin didn't fly, circular steps, spirals with a Sasha position, spin combination.
Bakerman & Brennan did their free skate, which is to one of those Tchaikovsky ballets that are all starting to sound interchangeable to me. 2x/hop/2t nice, 2 twist, throw 3s with a nasty fall, toe lasso lift, pair spin, spirals, flying camels fairly slow but with good unison, impressive-looking carry lift, BIDS, throw 2x with another nasty fall (this one was definitely his fault), sbs 2f he popped his, back press lift with sloppy feet on his part, BODS not held for a full circle, pair spin. In spite of the errors on the throws, they looked fairly competent and non-scary on their other elements, and presented themselves nicely.
Jason Wong skated his Spanish guitar free skate. Popped the flip, 3r, flying camel, 3z sat down on the landing, another 3r, particularly effective MITF section to the "Aranjuez" adagio with spread eagle, spiral with very good extension, ina, split falling leaf, and various edgy steps, spin combination, turns into a 3z with a hand down, back spiral with a hand down on the ice pulling into a back upright spin, 3t, straight-line steps, 3s, death drop into a back scratch spin.
Louann Donovan skated her "On The Waterfront" program. Opening with typical Lori Nichol hand movements toward her face, 3z/2t, split jump, 3t/3t maybe a little cheat on the second jump, 3r maybe also a little underrotated, camel to donut to camel spin, layback, 1f, good upper-body movements to express the music, 3z two-footed, spirals, 1s, butterfly spin, straight-line steps, 1x, spin combination kind of sloppy. Seeing this program in person for the first time, I found it absolutely breathtaking -- at least up to the point where Louann started popping jumps and giving up on the performance. I kind of feel the same way I did about Chen Lu in the fall of 1995 -- if only we get to see at least *one* good performance of this program sometime!
Scott Smith was last, skating his saxophone concerto program. 3x a little forced on the landing, 3t, 3s two-footed with a step out, flying camel, 3z two-footed (the jump had no height or power), straight-line steps, 3r nice, slow edgy steps and posing, camel to outside edge in a twisted layover position very nice, 3x fell, 3f two-footed, death drop, eagles changing inside to outside and then into a 3s two-footed, spin combination. I love the music for this program and there are many nice touches to the choreography, and I know Scott has been working hard to improve his edges and upper-body presentation, but somehow the whole package just doesn't work for me yet. Maybe a stronger and cleaner performance would help?
Thanks to all the skaters and the club for hosting the show, and good luck to everyone in Atlanta!
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