by Anne Calder
Partnered competition began Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. in the 1980 rink with the JINs (Juvenile, Intermediate and Novice) Pattern Dances. Solo Dance was competed at the same time in the 1932 rink.
What better place to compete Rhythm Dance programs that highlight 1980’s music than the home of the Miracle on Ice in the Herb Brooks Arena at the Lake Placid Olympic Center. Forty three years ago a bunch of college kids made America proud by defeating the Soviet Union and Finland hockey teams and winning Olympic gold for Team USA.
In 1981, when MTV burst on the scene, the industry changed forever. Music artists performed all day long and the public couldn’t get enough. Madonna’s arrival with her blue eye shadow and plastic black pants, Kenny Loggins’ iconic theme from the Footloose film and Michael Jackson’s release of the album, “Thriller” all contributed to the excitement of the decade.
At the same time, Walkmans, cassette tapes, compact discs (CD’s) etc. made listening to music easier and more portable.
The Junior and Seniors – International and Championships – began their 6-hour Rhythm Dance marathon of interpretation of the 1980’s music on Tuesday afternoon at 2:40 pm and continued until the final skater left the ice at 10:00 pm.
The 2023-2024 Rhythm Dance programs include the following additions:
- The senior’s Silver Samba is evaluated as a Choreographic element NOT as a pattern dance with levels.
- The juniors skate two sections of the Rocker Foxtrot.
- The theme for the seniors and juniors is the music and feelings of the 1980’s decade.
Senior International Rhythm Dance:
1. (75.26) Oona Brown & Gage Brown (USA) “Satellite” and “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John
2. (74.36) Diana Davis & Gleb Smolkin (GEO) Michael Jackson selections
3. (72.78) Eva Pate & Logan Bye (USA) “My Prerogative” by Bobby Brown and “Walk This Way” by Run D.M.C. feat. Aerosmith
4. (68.11) Lorraine McNamara & Anton Spiridonov (USA) “Let’s Go Crazy”, “Kiss” and “Slow Love” by Prince
Junior International Rhythm Dance:
1. (63.99) Leah Neset & Artem Markelov (USA) “Still Loving You” by Scorpions and “I Hate Myself for Loving You” by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
2. (59.88) Elliana Peal & Ethan Peal (USA) “What Have You Done for Me Lately?” and “Rhythm Nation” by Janet Jackson
3. (57.27) Helena Carhart & Volodymyr Horovyi “I Want to Break Free” and “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen
4. (56.97) Caroline Mullen & Brendan Mullen (USA) “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” by WHAM and “Father Figure” by George Michael
Senior Championship Rhythm Dance:
1. (70.04) Katarina Wolfkostin & Dimitry Tsarevski (USA) “Love is a Battlefield” by Pat Benatar and “Call Me” by Blondie
2. (68.71) Isabella Flores & Ivan Desyatov (USA) “Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard and “When Doves Cry” by Prince
3. (59.85) Raffaella Koncius & Alexey Shchepetov (USA) “Sweet Dreams” and “Here Comes the Rain Again” by Eurythmics
4. (47.67) Klara Kowar & Thomas Schwappach (USA) “Never Tear Us Apart” and “Need You Tonight” by INXS
Junior Championship Rhythm Dance:
1. (55.87) Yahli Pederson & Jeffrey Chen (USA) “Kind of Magic” and “Under Pressure” by Queen
2. (52.42) Amy Ciu & Kenny Eckert (USA) “I Want to Break Free” and “Under Pressure” by Queen
3. (51.21) Olivia Ilin & Dylan Cain (USA)“Neutron Dance”, “I Need You” and “I’m So Excited” by the Pointer Sisters
4. (49.05) Annalise Stapert & Maxim Korotcov (USA) “Straight Up” and “Opposites Attract” by Paula Abdul
The 2023-24 Free Dance additions:
The Choreographic Hydroblading Movement: It may be performed anywhere in the program, during which both partners perform hydroblading movements. The following requirements apply:
- A low movement with the upper body almost parallel to the ice. The core of the body must be clearly positioned away from the vertical axis. No other part of the body other than the boot of the free leg is allowed to touch the ice. If any other part of the body, (other than the allowable boot/foot drag of the free leg) touches the ice it maybe considered a Choreographic Sliding Movement
- Hydroblading movement by both partners at the same time for at least 2 seconds. The start and end of the Choreographic Hydroblading Movement does not have to be performed simultaneously.
- May be in hold or not touching
Choreographic Character Step Sequence: Skaters may now perform this sequence in various patterns instead of only along the short axis of the rink
Senior International Free Dance:
The four top placement senior International Free Dance teams made their season competitive debut.
1. Diana Davis & Gleb Smolkin (GEO) scored 117.47 for their Swan Lake, Ballet Suite Op.20: Scene dance that blended contemporary choreography with classical elements created by their coaches. The team skated for Russia at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, but currently represent Georgia internationally. Davis & Smolkin train at the ION Center in Leesburg, Virginia, USA with coaches Elena Novak and Alexei Kiliakov.
2. Oona Brown & Gage Brown (USA) danced to Eric Carmen’s “All By Myself” with emotion and passion and scored 105.40. The team trains in Huntington, NY with coaches Inese Bucevica and Joel Dear. Oona plays the bagpipes.
3. Eva Pate & Logan Bye (USA) scored 105.17 for their commanding performance to the Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor, the opera. Igor Shpilband coaches the team in Novi, Michigan.
4. Nadiia Bashynska & Peter Beaumont (CAN) executed an emotional dance to Romeo & Juliet Op. 64 No13 – “Dance of the Knights” and earned a 104.84 score. The reigning Junior Grand Prix Final gold medalists train in Toronto, ON Canada with Carol & Jon Lane.
Junior International Free Dance:
1.Leah Neset & Artem Markelov (USA) scored 97.28 for their interpretive dance to “Anytime, Anywhere” by Sara Brightman and “Cry” by Thomas Bergersen. The two-time U.S. National Junior Champions teamed up in 2020 and train with Elena Dotstatni in Colorado Springs, CO. Markelov studies data analytics and system engineering at the University of Colorado, COS.
2. Elliana Peal & Ethan Peal (USA) chose selections from Lord of the Rings for their dramatically intense dance that scored 92.33 points. Elena is also a competitive dancer and Ethan studies aerospace engineering at the University of Alabama. The team is coached by their father, Rob Peal, in Nashville, TN.
3. Caroline Mullen & Brendan Mullen (USA) used their personal struggle with an injury and return to skating to identify with and interpret the lyrics of “Survivor” by 2WEI and Edda Hayes. The siblings scored 89.89.
4. Helena Carhart & Volodymyr Horovyi (USA) scored 86.66 for their intricately fast-paced “Malagueña” dance. The team has trained in Estero, Florida with Marina Zoueva and Ilya Tkachenko since 2019. Helena’s younger sister, Marian and partner Denis Bledsoe won the Intermediate gold medal.
Senior Championship Free Dance:
1. Katarina Wolfkostin & Dimitry Tsarevski danced an intense program to “Tanquera” by Diego Schissa Quinteto and “Invierno Porteno” by Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica and scored 108.89. The new team formed its partnership three months ago and trains at the Michigan Ice Dance Academy (MIDA).
2. Isabella Flores & Ivan Desyatov wove Kaitlyn Weaver’s choreography through the West Side Story selections of “I Feel Pretty”, “Maria” and “Tonight’ to score 107.62 points. Desyatov has recently been released from his former training country to compete internationally for the USA.
3. Raffaella Koncius & Alexey Shchepetov scored 90.73 for their dance to “On Reflection (Black Mirror TV series) by Max Richter and “Song for the Little Sparrow” (Ouverture) by Patricia Kaas – Abel Korzeniowski. The team recently relocated to the Michigan Ice Dance Academy (MIDA) .
4. Cara Murphy & Joshua Levitt made their season debut with “To Build a Home” (feat. Patrick Watson) and scored 83.14.
Junior Championship Free Dance:
1. Yahli Pederson & Jeffrey Chen earned 87.16 for their interpretive dance to Phantom of the Opera. Chen competed internationally in 2022-2023 on the senior level with his previous partner, Katarina Wolfkostin.
2. Amy Cui & Kenny Eckert danced to selections from Ghost the Musical: “Unchained Melody”, “Suspend my Disbelief”, “I Had a Life” and scored 74.43 – four points higher than the Dallas Classic where the new team recently made its debut.
3. Olivia Ilin & Dylan Cain scored 74.42 for “ Fire on Fire” (Watership Down), by Sam Smith. The 2022 Lake Placid Junior Championship gold medalists partnered in 2015 and train in Rockville, MD with Dmytri Ilin.
4. Julia Epps & Blake Gilman danced to “Segundo” by Pink Martini, “Besame Mucho” by Edna Vasquez, and “Que Rico El Mambo” by Perez Prado and earned 72.83 points. Epps & Gilman, have been partners since 2015 and train with Slava Uchitel at the Philadelphia Skating Club & Humane Society in Aston, PA.
Coaches from two training sites in the Toronto area brought several teams to compete: Carol & Jon Lane with Ice Dance Elite and Madison Hubbell & Adrian Diaz with I.AM. The retired competitive ice dancers (with different partners) made their coaching debut at Lake Placid last season. Congratulations to the duo who recently married in Barcelona, Spain.
“We have junior teams at I.AM, and we wanted to see the Rocker Foxtrot performed here,” said Hubbell.
During Angela Ling & Caleb Wein’s Free Dance the Referee stopped the music due to Wein’s costume malfunction. The program resumed after an adjustment. It was not a music issue as many in the audience initially thought. The team received a 5.0 deduction as per Rule 515. (Interruption in the program with allowance to resume from point of interruption)
The Lake Placid competitions included all levels plus International and Championship (NQS). During the Junior and Senior Rhythm Dance segment there were 43 straight performances to1980’s musical selections with two Zamboni ice makes. Fans of the genre enjoyed the trip down memory lane. Many in the audience sang along to their favorite tunes.
In Solo Combined Dance, the starting line-up draws for both the Rhythm and Free Dance are done prior to both segments resulting in a random rather than placement Free Dance order. In the Senior Solo Combined the skaters who finished first, second and third in the Rhythm Dance, competed 20th, 6th and 1st in Free Dance.