Dancing in the Record Rain
Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier (CAN) are well known for their unique lifts and they didn’t disappoint this time either. Their Free Skate to Starry Starry Night was just as the song itself: full of feelings, heart-warming and beautiful. Her little mistake in the second twizzle was the only flaw, but have I mentioned their unique lifts? Their curve lift was out of this world and really is a must-see. I think that this was the season of their lives.
Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri (ITA) harmonize perfectly and this they bring to the ice. After the Short, you could see how proud coach Barbara Fusar Poli was—no wonder, it was their season’s best with 81.66 points. Their Free Skate to La La Land was so charming and gallant, just as the skaters themselves. A little problem at the exit of the rotational lift made them lose a few points so that the total Free skate score of 117 was just 3 points below their personal best.
They started late into the season, but powerful as hell! Madison Chock and Evan Bates (USA) showed everybody at the Nationals (2nd) and the Four Continents (1st) that they were back. And this they wanted to show in the Worlds as well. Assassin’s Tango by John Powell immediately reminds us of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Well, I would say Madison and Evan did a much better job! As if it was only made for them, they put perfection to the ice, with twizzles that were smooth as silk. The Free skate was cool. Just cool. Cool as it can be! And then fun, a loooot of fun in the second part. With extremely creative lifts and an overall wow-performance they have shown that they are back!
Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje (CAN) are the current Canadian champions and came second in the Four Continents. Their Rhythm Dance in these Worlds was élégance par excellence and you did not even notice that they just perfectly nailed this technical part and that technical part. Their Free Skate was full of emotions, not least because it was a tribute to the late Denis Ten, whom they trained with for a year. He skated to S.O.S. d'un terrien en detresse, and now so did they. She looked like an angel and with their innovative lifts, Andrew made her fly. Even though they did not make it to the podium, they reached their personal best in the Rhythm Dance and can be proud of this season. Denis is, I am sure.
They came second in the Europeans, they wanted a medal in the Worlds. And after the Short Programme, in which they got a personal best of 83.10, all looked good. Their fierce performance wowed the audience and even Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin (RUS) themselves were a bit surprised about the high score. But, if you manage to get 9+ points on your twizzles alone, you should not be that surprised ;) The Free Skate was just as powerful as their Rhythm Dance, with a rotational lift that was breath-taking. However, even though they again managed to get a personal best, it was not enough for a medal.
Because there were Madison Hubbel and Zachary Donohue, the reigning US National Champions. The music of Romeo and Juliet always brings tears to my eyes and their Free Skate was no exception to that "rule". Their dance was captivating, expressive and their twizzles could not have been timed more perfectly with the music. The entry to their dance spin was extremely difficult, both technical and performance scores were enormous and consequently, they got their personal best in the Free Skate. After getting a personal best in the Rhythm Dance. Meaning: personal best overall and Bronze for this lovely couple.
In the Europeans they just missed Bronze by coming in fourth—this should not be the same again. In their Rhythm Dance Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov (RUS) already laid the groundwork for that, with a fast, powerful, precise performance as well as footwork and a step sequence that were outstanding. In the Free Skate they sealed the deal, with a wonderful interpretation of Suite in D "Air" by Johann Sebastian Bach, which gives me goosebumps the second I hear the first tune. Just as Madison and Zachary, they got personal bests in all three scores and the Silver Medal as cherry on the cake.
I don’t know what it is. There is something so special about Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) and I cannot put it in words. No matter what they do, it looks so easy, as if they are flying over the ice. You watch that beauty and don’t even notice that they score and score and score. Their Free Skate to Duet and Sunday Afternoon by Rachael Yamagata was, to me, one of the most beautiful programmes I have ever seen. Their curve lift is so legendary, it should be named after them. Just as the previous pairs they got three personal bests, which are also World Records leading to their fourth World Champion title.
This Ice Dance competition has shown the crème de la crème, all the personal bests show that. Judging on Ice Dance performances is much harder, because there are no jumps and throws. In the other disciplines it is easier: one falls a lot, one does not win. Here it is the little things: a tiny shake in the twizzle, a little mishap in an exit. But no matter if one is first or last, one thing they all have in common: they are dancers, and dance is always beautiful.