Anne’s Take: 2021 Lake Placid Ice Dance International

by Anne Calder | Photos by Daphne Backman & Anne Calder

Skating Club of Boston - Albright Performance Center

The event took place in the Tenley E. Albright Performance Center.

My second competition of the season was the annual Lake Placid Ice Dance International. Due to renovations at the New York Olympic Village, the event was competed at the new Skating Club of Boston facility in the suburb of Norwood, thus making the event name and its location actually an oxymoron.

The new Cranberry Cup, which included men, women and pairs also made its international debut at the same location at the same time, which made for long hours of skating, but lucky for us many great performances.

My itinerary began in Phoenix, Arizona with a red-eye flight to Boston. At Logan Airport, I took the Silver Line bus to South Station and then a commuter train to Norwood. My final leg was a taxi to the hotel, where I crashed for four hours before joining the rest of the IDC team.  After dinner, we all headed to the Junior Rhythm Dance competition.

We were greeted by SCOB staff and escorted to our on-ice home for the next few days. The brand new facility included three ice sheets – one reserved for hockey along with its own private entrance. The Tenley E. Albright Performance Center hosted the primary figure skating competitions. The 200’ History Wall displayed larger than life images of the SCOB’s most significant historical moments over the past century.

Walking into the Center I had a sudden flash of remorse that all my friends who had skated with me at the old Club in Brighton were not with me to share the moment. Every Sunday evening during high school and college we trekked from Cambridge for three hours of recreational skating. It was my generation’s mall. 

Anne Interviews Joel Dear

At the Performance Center, a scant but very enthusiastic crowd of mostly parents and friends gathered to watch the Junior Rhythm Dance. The competitors represented Canada, Turkey and the United States of America. Three teams from the original roster withdrew. 

The required elements for the Junior Rhythm Dance include two sequences of the Pattern Dance skated to the announced rhythms, one short lift up to seven seconds, one step sequence skated to a different Rhythm than the one chosen for the Pattern Dance Element and one set of sequential twizzles.

The Junior Pattern Dance for the 2021-2022 season is Blues.

Isabella Flores & Dimitry Tsarevski

Isabella Flores & Dimitry Tsarevski skate their rhythm dance.

The ice dancers skated two sequences of the element (1BL) and (2BL) in one of following orders: 1BL + 2BL, 2BL + 1BL or another element placed between the two BLs.

Seven of the couples skated the traditional order of 1BL followed by 2BL. Leah Neset & Artem Markelov opened their dance with BL2 followed by BL1. Jillian Prever & Agahan Dortkol (TUR) and Isabella Flores & Dimitry Tsarevski (USA) slipped their twizzles in between 1BL and 2BL.

To determine the Pattern Dance level, four Key Points were predetermined for the season. The technical panel then scored each as Y, T, or N. 

Yes: All Features were met and all Edges/Steps held for the required number of beats; Timing: All Features were met but one or several Edges/Steps were not held for the required number of beats and No: One or several Features were not met, whether or not the Edges/Steps were held for the correct number of beats or the Key Point was not identified due to a fall or interruption. 

The number of Yes grades given to each Key Point determined the Pattern Dance level and element score. Helena Carhart & Volodymyr Horovyi (USA) earned the only level 4 (YYYY), and it was for their BL1.

In addition to the Pattern Dance, the Ice Dance Technical Committee selects a rhythm and/or theme for the season. For 2021/2022 Street Dance Rhythms were chosen. The teams then pick at least two different Rhythms from the following examples: hip hop, disco, swing, krump, popping, funk, etc., jazz, reggae (reggaeton) and blues. 

Starting in the 2018-2019 season, dancers are judged individually on the execution of their twizzles; their individual points are combined for the team’s final score for the element. The USA teams of Helena Carhart & Volodymyr Horovyi plus Elliana Peal & Ethan Peal earned the only level 4 for both the woman’s and man’s twizzles with the siblings getting the highest twizzle score – an 8.30.

The 2021-2022 Step Sequence Pattern must be Midline or Diagonal. Leah Neset & Artem Markelov (USA) were awarded level 3 for the Midline Step Sequence – the highest level for the element in the junior rhythm dance. Their training mates, Isabella Flores & Dimitry Tsarevski earned a level 2 for their Midline Step Sequence but received a 1.94 GOE and topped the Step Sequence scores.

At days end, the rankings were: (1) Isabella Flores & Dmitry Tsarevski, (2) Angela Ling & Caleb Wein, (3) Helena Carhart & Volodymyr (4) Leah Neset & Artem Markelov and (5) Elliana Peal & Ethan Peal.

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The next afternoon, I returned to the Performance Center for the junior free dance programs. The third and fourth teams on the RD leader board flipped places. Flores & Tsarevski won gold and Neset & Markova were second in the free dance and slipped into third place overall to win the bronze. Ling & Wein were third in the free dance, but held on to second place to win the silver medal.

Carhart & Horovyi and Peal & Peal were fourth and fifth.

Flores & Tsarevski danced an ethereal performance to “Nuvole Bianche” by Ludovico Einarudi and “Earth Song” by Michael Jackson, which scored 90.81 points. The 151.09 total was their highest score of the season. The team next competes at the Courchevel (FRA)  #2 JGP August 25-28.

Ling & Wein performed a Charlie White choreographed program to “April” by the Lumineers and “Can’t Pretend” by Tom Odell for 83.02 points and a 139.90 total. Neset & Markova danced to “My Immortal” by Evanescence and “In the End” by Lincoln Park, Tommee Profit version. The duo scored 84.46 points and a total 135.30 in their sophomore season international debut. Both teams will compete at the fourth JGP September 15-18 in Krasnoyarsk (RUS) 

Joel Dear traveled to Colorado Springs to choreograph both Flores & Tsarevski and Neset & Markova’s programs. 

Carhart & Horovyi scored 78.87 for “The Cheek of Night” and “Forbidden Love” by Abel Korzeniowki. The fourth place score was 131.57. Peal & Peal danced to “Rise Up” by Andra Day and “Unsteady” by x Ambassadors for 65.67 points and a 115.59 total. It was Team Peal’s fourth competition in six weeks. Elliana also squeezed in a National Dance competition in Orlando, Florida the same week as the Dallas Cannon Classic in mid-July.

I asked Coach Elena Dostatni* after the medal ceremony how she felt having two teams on the podium (Flores & Tsarevski and Neset & Markova). 

[It was] Heaven. I came to the US 19 years ago, and it was just hard work, hard work, and hard work for many years, and now it’s rewarded, so I’m very happy,” she smiled behind her mask.

*Elena Khaliavina Dostatni & Maxim Shalabin (RUS) won gold at the JGP Final, gold at the Russian Junior Championships and silver at the World Junior Championships in the 2001-2002 season. 

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On Saturday and Sunday, I was back at the sport’s complex for a two-day marathon of four daily senior competitions for the Senior LPIDI and Cranberry Cup events.

Seventeen countries representing Armenia (ARM), Australia (AUS), Great Britain (GBR), Germany (GER), Israel (ISR), Poland (POL), Republic of Korea (KOR), Turkey (TUR), and the United States of America (USA) competed in the LPIDI. 

Many senior athletes used the competition as a warm-up for the September 22-25 Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany. The event is the final qualifier to determine the remaining four eligible countries that will compete in ice dance at the OWG in Beijing, China. Nineteen spots were already determined at the 2021 World Championships. 

The competition began with the Rhythm Dance.

The Senior Pattern Dance was one sequence of the Midnight Blues that began on the opposite side of the rink from the judges. 

Eva Pate & Logan Bye (USA) earned the highest level and score – 1MB3 +YYTY, losing one level for a Timing issue for the #3 Key Point. The element scored 7.20.

The Pattern Dance Type Step Sequence (PSt) was skated to the same rhythm and tempo as the Midnight Blues dance element, whether or not the couples chose the same tune or a different one. 

Caroline Green & Michael Parsons (USA) + Molly Cesanek & Yehor Yehorov (USA) earned level 3 for both the Woman and Man’s Pattern Dance Type Step Sequence (PSt). It was the highest level awarded; each couple scored 9.40 points for the element.

The seniors also had to choose one of the street dance categories, which included the same familiar hip-hop, disco, swing, krump, popping and funk etc. already performed by the juniors. The audience applauded loudly, tapped their feet, and even lip-synced to Bruno Mars, Rhianna, Justin Timberlake and Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”.

At the end of the Senior Rhythm Dance, the leaderboard included: (1) Tina Garabedian & Simon Proulx-Senecal (ARM), (2) Caroline Green & Michael Parsons (USA), (3) Eva Pate & Logan Bye (USA), (4) Molly Cesanek & Yehor Yehorov (USA), (5) Holly Harris & Jason Chan (AUS), and (6) Lorraine McNamara & Anton Spiridonov (USA).

Sunday afternoon the free dance scores changed the final placements and the podium. Green & Parsons swapped positions with the Armenian team. Pate & Bye’s fall in their final Choreographic Lift lost them points – [BV (-1.10) points, fall (-2.0) points and no GOEs, which was +1.49 at the Chesapeake Open] and a placement.

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Caroline Green & Michael Parsons skate their free dance.

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Garabedian & Proulx-Senecal (ARM) scored 102.19 points for their Seal medley that included “Autumn Leaves” and “Luck Be a Lady”. The silver medalists scored a total 170.99. The team will compete at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany hoping to qualify Armenia for an ice dance spot at the OWGs in Beijing, China. 

Cesanek & Yehorov (USA) moved up a spot from the rhythm dance to take home the bronze medal. The music included a contemporary medley of various artists: “The Wisp Sings” by Winter Aid,  “You Are a Memory” by Message to Bears, “The Passionate Love I Can’t Live Without” by Karl Hugo; beginning/end voices recorded by Hugo Chouinard. The team scored 102.02 for the free dance and a total score of 166.12. The Virginia based team will next compete at the Lombardia Trophy September 10-12.

Holly Harris & Jason Chan danced into fourth place with “Aint Nobody (Loves Me Better; Acoustic) by Jasmine Thompson, “I Feel For You” by Chaka Khan and “Aint Nobody (Loves Me Better) by Felix Jaehn Feat. Jasmine Thompson. The free dance scored 95.12 with a 159.87 total. The team trains at the Ice Dance Academy of Montreal (Canada) and will compete at the Nebelhorn Trophy to try and secure an OWG spot for Australia.

Eva Pate & Logan Bye (USA) slipped to fifth place with a Hunger Games medley that scored 94.63. The total was also 159.87- the same as Harris & Chan. The Australian’s higher free dance score broke the tie, 

The Awards Ceremony scheduled to be held with the Cranberry Cup medalists at the end of evening was moved up to accommodate one of the team’s travel needs. It was held in the West Rink with only family and officials in attendance.

The evening ended with the final award ceremonies followed by lots of wishes for safe travels home or to new training destinations. The 2021 LPIDI and Cranberry Cup were already in the ISU history books.

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ICE CHIPS

During the four days I spent at the Skating Club of Boston I spoke with several skaters and coaches. I have taken the liberty to paraphrase our conversations with news about their training, programs, etc.

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Chantelle Kerry & Andrew Dodds

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Chantelle Kerry & Andrew Dodds

Chantelle Kerry & Andrew Dodds (AUS) were in lockdown in Australia for three and a half weeks before travelling to Novi, Michigan to train with Igor Shpilband. During the two weeks they’ve been there, he choreographed their Rhythm Dance. After the LPIDI, the team heads back to Novi for more training before competing at the US Classic and the Finlandia Trophy. Dodds loves the camaraderie shared with several dance teams at Novi. At home they train on ice with 6 year olds.

Jennifer Janse van Rensburg & Benjamin Steffan (GER) have been doing a summer camp with Igor Shpilband in Novi, Michigan for six weeks. They have one more week before heading back to Oberstdorf, which is their home training location. It will then be a National decision, which team – Katharina Mueller & Tim Dieck or them who will go to the OWG. They loved the great energy and pushing of one another at Novi. The training is not different from what they do in Germany, but a different point of view. As far as their program at the event, it was very early for them to skate in August, but it helped them evaluate their needs. 

Yuri Min & Daniel Eaton (KOR) skated their first competition since the 2019 Four Continents in Korea because of Eaton’s back injury which occurred duing the 2019 pre-season. The team has only been back on the ice for seven months, so they didn’t even attempt to do Worlds in Sweden. That’s why Oberstdorf and qualifying for the OWGs for Korea is their main goal. Their next event is the Lombardia Trophy in Bergamo, ITA September 10-12. Afterwards they’ll stay and train in Europe for two weeks, while also getting used to the time change before the Nebelhorn Trophy two weeks later. 

Caroline Green & Michael Parsons (USA) shared their thoughts on the free dance selection. The team wanted to dance a completely different style than they had ever done before. Since they took on the more responsibility for their own choreography, they had more freedom to create a program that was a piece of them and something no other team could do. They were pleased with how they created movement and style that hadn’t been done before. They took a lot of inspiration from off the ice, especially Martha Graham’s modern dance choreography. One of their coaches, Jimmie Manners, is a classically trained dancer and knew where to plug in those moves. The result is a much more artistic program than what they’re used to doing.

Klara Kowar & TJ Carey (USA) train at the Skating Club of Boston. The team was excited to make their international debut on home ice and in front of so many friends. Carey thought the first time out in a senior competition could have been stressful, but being able to have it where they train was very special to them. In addition to attending Boston University, Carey is also coaching at the facility. Kowar moved from Aspen, Colorado a year ago to partner with Carey. The team also skated a week ago at the Chesapeake Open and knew back-to-back competitions would be difficult. However, the experiences gained will help them in the long run. Carey has also written for ice-dance.com.

Molly Cesanek & Yehor Yehorov (USA) added an actual breakdancing “Worm” to their Rhythm Dance. Yehorov wiggled across the ice as the audience cheered him on. His father taught him the move when he was ten-years old back in the Ukraine. He claimed it was his “go to move” at school parties and dances. The coaches enthusiastically encouraged the addition since no one had probably done it before in a competition.

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