Sunday, November 20, 2011

Trophee Eric Bompard Free Dance Review

I still want to call this event "Trophee Lalique," however many years after the sponsorship changed. The results of this year's ice dance event at TEB were pretty easy to predict, save for the battle for bronze. Would Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte build on their strong showing at Skate Canada and take third or would Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov work out their technical issues and win their second straight bronze medal?

After last week's tight race between the top three couples at NHK, this competition was a bit of a letdown. It was no surprise that Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir ran away with the victory and Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat faced no threats in finishing second. The only surprise was the big gap between the Italians in third and the Russians in fourth place. On to my thoughts on the free dances:

Sara Hurtado/Adria Diaz - During the warm-up I like to guess the program from the costumes, and I guessed something with a Jewish theme from what looked like a yarmulke on Sara's head. The program turned out to be Tristan and Isolde. Oops. It was a decorative hair piece. Wish they would've used Wagner's opera instead of the Maxime Rodriguez piece. The part of the program I remember most was a straight-line lift that had a bit of a vulgar-looking entry.

Kristina Gorshkova/Vitali Butikov - Oh joy, it's a tango! I guessed "Rhapsody in Blue" from the costumes. They seem to do a large number of crossovers into the twizzles as opposed to the top teams who can twizzle out of nowhere. This program is one big blue blur of bad tango.

Xintong Huang/Xun Zheng - MORE TANGO! Their costumes are shockingly understated. Zheng looks classy! Their combination lift moves across the ice well, but their straight-line lift features yet another position of questionable taste. I admit my attention was not fully on this program as I had one eye on the IceNetwork live sectionals scores.

Madison Chock/Evan Bates - Jazz is one of my least favorite music genres, but I'm digging this jazzy Chopin. There's a playful and convincing connection between Madison and Evan in the program. I think they got the best package of lifts in Canton this year. A fall in the twizzle section momentarily disrupts the program, but I love the lightness and flow exhibited in the performance. This free dance is one of my top three favorites of the season.

Elena Ilinykh/Nikita Katsalapov - Costumes say Romeo and Juliet rather than "Ave Maria." Their twizzles are spaced quite far apart on the ice. Seems like an easy way to avoid being in sync. Nikita looks like the stronger member of this team. Overall, they need to be more tidy in their technique. The panel must think so, too, as they deliver a very low technical mark.

Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte - Their La Strada program has a cute vibe and good flow. Can't help wondering how much deeper Meryl Davis and Charlie White could've taken this music, though. The Italians bring a whimsical feel to the performance, and I love the ending. Could've done without the crotch-grabbing rotational lift.

Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat - Fabian changed the pants of his costume since Skate America and now they look like blue jeans. Egyptian hand movements always remind me of The Bangles singing "Walk Like an Egyptian." I can't take the program seriously even though I know they're trying to be authentic.

Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir - Wish Scott would ditch the tie, and I'd rather see Tessa in a more casual, cute outfit representative of the period of the movie. The facial mugging is very Broadway-ish, but it's a little too much for my taste. They skate with good speed and are clearly the class of the field technique-wise.

One more event, Rostelecom Cup in Moscow next week, and then the best of the best will gather in Quebec City for the Grand Prix Final. I'm excited to make my first visit to the historic city and see it all decorated for Christmas!


  1. P&B have titled their program "The Pharaoah and his Mummy" which reminds me of the Scooby Doo episode, "Where's my mummy?"

    Then they did George of the Jungle as an exhibition. This is not their year to be serious ;)
    Doris P

  2. Dang, I got so excited when I saw Hurtado/Diaz were skating to Tristan & Isolde. I want someone (especially an ice dance team) to skate to Wagner's opera to it so badly. Especially the Liebestod - it builds to just the most glorious high point.

  3. I know, it's such a beautiful piece of music and I think it would be epic for ice dance. Especially done by a certain team we both love ;-)

  4. Olympic program, perhaps? That may be far enough time-wise from Samson & Delilah to just work. ;)