Cup of China – Short Dance (2012.11.02)

First, my apologizes for NOT having yet finished Skate of America or even posted anything about Skate Canada (which I’ll try to get back to as soon as I’ve cleaned this CoC, if only to get a chance to comment the Carmendrama) – work kinda took over my life over the last few days and when I started having time again my router died on me. Got a first one for $200 which got me nowhere and on for which I’m not even sure I can get a refund, and had to shell an extra $150 for finally getting the internet (and, accessorily, all my figure skating-showing channels >_<) back

:(

Ok, now that I’m done describing the sad state of my life and that I’ve made half the readers go away with it, I propose for the rest of you that we move on straight to this week’s first event, the Short Dance. Which can only mean one thing – it’s Yankee Polka time! Yeeha!

Xiaoyang Yu (26) and Chen Wang (26), CHN

Xiaoyang Yu and Chen Wang clearly going for a quite literal interpretation of the term Yankee Polka here

Well, there are one of the local teams, meaning we wouldn’t have seen them if the competition wasn’t in their own country. And I don’t think I’m being insulting if I say that it showed in terms of technics. That being said, it was still a lot more bearable than I had expected: just like their costumes, they went for the literal but it was cute and kind of charmingly naive rather than irritating and tacky as I feared when I first saw them

(that scream you’ve just heard is the expression of my frustration at the crappy camerawork we’ve been plagued with throughout this Cup of China – you’re likely to hear it many time – which means getting any caps worth posting is a full-time job)

Obviously deep edges were very much out and I think there were issues with the Yankee Polka steps (for which they actually artificially slowed down the tempo of Oh Susanna – my ears are still bleeding). But, it wasn’t all that bad, twizzles were are actually good, in synch, and faster than I’ve seen quite a few other couples who appear at Worlds do them

That was an entertaining routine to watch, so thank you for that!

Marks: 20.58 + 22.39 = 42.97 – currently 1st

Madison Chock (20) and Evan Bates (23), USA

No, he isn’t trying to take off….

There was a lot of positive word of mouth preceding this couple so I was really curious to see since I didn’t get a chance to do just that last year. They are very young, and both of them were junior world champions – except not together, and their partnership started only in the summer last year

I must say had I not known they had only skated together for barely more than a year, I wouldn’t have noticed. They seem to have good chemistry on the ice, and technically well, there’s a lot of good to be said about them, very competently skated

I’m also always very partial to a bit of Cirque du Soleil, and I loved the low lift as well as one of the holds were he appeared to be cushioning her head which was used to good effect a couple of times in the program. And well, they do present the whole package with confidence. But can I say that I enjoyed it more than the program of the Chinese? Not really, no, although I wasn’t bored out of my skull either. But somehow the feeling from the dance for me didn’t match the feeling of the music

And well, that dress needs changing asap, because there’s just way too much going on there: it’s like they’ve tried to symbolise ALL of Quidam in one dress – not a good idea

That being said, there was never any doubt that they would be miles away from the Chinese, but I am not seduced yet. Oh well, there should be a few more years for that

Marks: 30.90 + 28.36 = 59.26, currently 1st

Charlene Guignard (23) and Marco Fabbri (24), ITA

They should have +2 in interpretation just for absolutely nailing their operatic costume – and for once, I am not even being sarcastic

I have the same problem with that couple that I have with someone like Menshov – I tend to forget about them from one performance to the next. Which, just like Menshov two weeks ago, they shamed me for doing

Granted it’s not the kind of program that’s going to rock the (small) world of ice dancing not everyone can interpet dark!Carmen and receive praise ranging from “the greatest Carmen ever” to “OMG! it’s porno on ice“. It’s a short, exhuberant operatic piece. But they really got into the character of it and you can tell they actually have a ball doing it and they know how to sell it to the audience. There are bits here and there to improve technically (they were far apart in the second half of the side by side step, a couple of mistakes in the Yankee Polka that I could spot) but I think it was as enjoyable for the public to watch as it was for them to skate

Certified good quality program with Barbara’s seal of approval, mention “bene”

Marks: 29.17 + 26.40 = 55.57 – currently 2nd

Victoria Sinitsina (17) and Ruslan Zhiganshin (20), RUS

A very literal Yankee Polka. And she’s wearing red

Yep, it’s all very reminiscent of the Chinese earlier, and it’s not the only common points. It’s another program where you begin by thinking it’s gonna be awful because Yankee costumes + Russians yougsters = all kinds of frightening mental images, but actually they got out of it with their dignity intact and we got another two and a half minutes of cute and naive and the interpretation, although we went through quite a few of the inevatible tropes – lasso, cowboys firing their pistols, etc – was tolerable

What wasn’t tolerable in thie program was the music change which made my ears bleed all over again and makes no sense whatsoever

Technically it was fine considering their age, although I noticed that he started to lose it a little in the Yankee Step almost everytime he tried to do a little flourish with one arm

Ah! The enthusiasm of youth!

Considering it’s their very first international senior outing, all in all, it was quite decent

Marks: 28.25 + 26.84 = 55.09 – currently 3rd

THIS CONCLUDES THE FIRST GROUP

(taking time off to stop my ears from bleeding)

SECOND GROUP STARTS

 Xintong Huang (25) and Xun Zheng (25), CHN

Well, we’re halfway through a Yankee Polka short dance and I am not even bored yet, which can only mean one thing…..

In a sense I feel terrible for them because they’re local and if only for that, you want them to do well. But mistake in the first twizzle + ill-concieved side-by-side step + generic choreography means I just can’t bring myself to care – and apparently, neither do the judges

What didn’t help was that it felt like half of their program was seen from above which is NOT a good view point to understand what’s going on in a program of ice dancing

At least my ears have stopped bleeding, so I guess it’s something

And the costumes look nice for afar, although her top is a bit too busy with all that patterned lace

Poor things, looking everywhere for an explanation for their very low marks…. where shall we start?

Marks: 21.99 + 24.77 = 46.76, currently 4th

Ekaterina Bobrova (22) and Dmitri Soloviev (23), RUS

I’ve already commented on this program for the Skate America so I’ll avoid repeating myself too much. I will however reinstate that this is by far the nicest choerography they’ve skated to in a short program that I can remember. It’s still all very polite and classic but there’s some humor in it

And it’s all very well executed. I can’t say for sure that they performed better than at SA, but I thought that their Yankee Polka step was remarkably smooth, especially the first half of it. On the other hand I am still not sold on the lift but that should be actually pretty easy to tweak, even before their next competition….and that’s really the only negative thing I can say about that program

Damn it!

Is that a half of a heart? Is that the weirdest ever ok sign? Not sure even he knows

Marks: 31.50 + 32.82 = 64.32, currently 1st (higher score than SA 2012)

Kaitlyn Weaver (23) and Andrew Poje (25), CAN

And another program we’ve already seen at Skate America

Again, I don’t want to subject you to the same rambling as last time, but I need to repeat at least this: WHY ALL THE CUTS? It’s not just because it’s making my ears bleed all over again, but so many cuts, especially as unsubtle as those, really jar you out of the program every single time, so when there’s five of them, all in the space of 2’30”, it becomes difficult to become engrossed in the performance

Apart from that it still all very well skated so I have no complains there, apart maybe from that first twizzle that was a bit wobbly there. And they’ve made some small changes to both their costumes which I think worked wonders. But while I thought they and the Russians were pretty much neck and neck at Skate America, I thought the Russians had the edge (haha….oh yeah, I know, bad pun, booh) on this occasion

The judges totally didn’t agree with me though

Yeah, yeah, you can mock me all you want :p

Marks: 32.83 + 32.76 = 65.59 – currently 1st (score lower than at Skate America, but by 0.20)

Nathalie Pechalat (28) and Fabian Bourzat (31), FRA

Well, THAT we haven’t seen yet – it would have been difficult to forget that kind of costume

As nobody would have guessed, they’re skating to a French Cancan (I know, right, you’d never have seen that coming)

And once again, Pechalat and Bourzat demonstrate their ability to adapt to all kinds of muscial genres and their originality by chosing something none of their opponents (in particular none of their direct opponent for a world medal) were likely to go for, setting them apart and making them more memorable for the judges and the public

Of course, for that choice to pay off, you need to deliver both technically and artistically and of course, they do both, and then some. Also the music worked very well – I know some people had trouble with the song part in the middle but it’s actually a coherent choice as that song is an ode to Paris and its everyday life

And I can’t help thinking that with some more mileage, they’ll be able to close this program with even more explosivity, which is maybe the only thing I can possibly pick upon

Well, that and the camerawork

Yep, that’s how you film one of the lead couples of ice dancing in the middle of their side-by-side step apparently. Not

So French <3

Great program and unsurprisingly take the lead after the short dance

Marks: 34.00 + 35.15 = 69.15

THIS CONCLUDES THE SHORT DANCE

1. Nathalie Pechalat/ Fabian Bourzat

2. Kaitlyn Weaver/ Andrew Poje

3. Ekaterina Bobrova/ Dmitri Soloviev

4. Madison Chock/ Evan Bates

5. Charlene Guignard/ Marco Fabbri

6. Victoria Sinitsina/ Ruslan Zhiganshin

7. Xintong Huang/ Xun Zheng

8. Xiaoyang Yu/ Chan Wang

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