Wednesday, March 28, 2012

2012 Worlds Short Dance: The Last Rhumba

It seemed like the 2012 World Figure Skating Championships would never get here, but finally the biggest event of the year is upon us. Oh, how I wish I was in Nice watching the competition live and enjoying the south of France in spring. Already have my tickets for 2013 Worlds in London, Ontario!

After a full season of Latin for the short dance, I never want to hear "Mas Que Nada," "Magalenha," and "Historia de un Amor" ever again. May those pieces of music rest in peace along with day-glo orange and tiger print. I'm sure I'll be saying the same about perky polka music and ruffles next year.

I was able to see most of the short dance, so here are my thoughts on the couples I saw . . .

Isabella Tobias/Deividas Stagniunas - I like Isabella's new dress a lot - the color and design are much sleeker. Their rotational lift (Isabella upside down in a split on Deividas's shoulder) is one of my favorite from any couple this season. The performance is good but doesn't appear to be their best of the season. Coach Marina Zoueva is rocking the indoor sunglasses look that she had at 2007 Worlds. Igor Shpilband is rocking a serious five o'clock shadow.

Kharis Ralph/Asher Hill - Loving the Michael Jackson music to start the program. Pretty lift. I have a new appreciation for their skating this year. They have noticeable presence on the ice.

Madison Hubbell/Zach Donohue - New dress for Madi. The back has the same strappy design as her old one but is very different in color (all black) and skirt design. Great power in their circular footwork sequence. Random crowd shot during their twizzles - WTH? Awesome skate for their Worlds debut!

Anna Nagornyuk/Viktor Kovalenko - Latin version of the score from Love Story - eek! Anna is very gangly. They look quite young.

Lorenza Alessandrini/Simone Vaturi - Nice twizzles. Have they been with Team DSC all season? Oh no, "Mas Que Nada!" Straight-line lift not so aesthetically pleasing. They're very perky!

Sara Hurtado/Adria Diaz - I've never been a fan of the "peek-a-boo bra" look on a costume. Noooo - more "Mas Que Nada" followed by "Magalenha." They do a move after their twizzles that resembles Meryl Davis and Charlie White's "sit spin" move in their SD circular footwork.

Danielle O'Brien/Gregory Merriman - Great twizzles. Very nice and smooth quality to their skating. They have a charming quality about them! Booooo to the score.

Cathy Reed/Chris Reed - Disaster on the twizzles when Chris goes down and Cathy bumps into him. I like the song used in the middle section of their program - sounds R&B? Tough season for them.

Xintong Huang/Xun Zheng - Nice twizzles. Everything else not bad. Think I spaced out a little on this one.

Nelli Zhiganshina/Alexander Gazsi - Gypsy Latin! Lots of speed compared to some of the previous teams. Twizzle problems on Alexander's part.

Penny Coomes/Nicholas Buckland - They've improved so much in the past year. Penny misses her blade on the twizzles. I like the mirror footwork in their circular sequence. They look so elegant.

Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev - Herky-jerky twizzles as usual. My Icenetwork feed freezes and I miss a stumble and my favorite part of the program where Dmitri grabs his leg and spazzes out. Whoa! They've been dumped score-wise. Looks like Mother Russia will be pushing someone else as Russia #1.

Pernelle Carron/Lloyd Jones - I took this opportunity to clear my browser cache so I hopefully wouldn't have any feed freezes during the final group.

Ekaterina Riazanova/Ilia Tkachenko - Still think Ekaterina's dress would be better suited for a tango. Gah, feed freezes again! So much for clearing the cache . . .

Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje - They are spot-on with everything. Mistakes have been few and far between for them this season. It's amazing how much more secure they are in their skating now.

Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte - Pretty people! Pretty twizzles! They skate very close together in the circular footwork. Love their spirit - one of the most "Latin" dances I've seen.

Elena Ilinykh/Nikita Katsalapov - Their circular footwork has interesting mirror movements and turns. Sigh, more "Mas Que Nada." Not feeling any Latin spirit here, but their score clearly indicates Mother Russia has found her new favorites.

Meryl Davis/Charlie White - Meryl's back in the orange dress from GPF and 4CC after teasing us with a new costume in practice. They come out blazing and throw themselves into every movement. Twizzles are "bang on" as Tracy Wilson would say. Everything looks clean and quick. They look extremely happy after the performance until the score comes up. Turns out they lost a few levels on the rhumba patterns and the footwork.

Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir - Still not sure who thought this purple dress would be a good fit for Tessa. Very strong performance with equal the energy of Meryl and Charlie. Once again, everything is crisp and in the flow of the program. They don't look ecstatic about their score either. They also lost levels on the patterns and the footwork. Hmmmm . . .

Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani - Great commitment throughout the program to every nuance of the music. Thought it looked on par with their performances at Nationals and 4CC. The panel doesn't agree with me as their score is much lower than expected. Lost levels on their patterns and footwork are also their issue.

Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat - Great job by Nathalie, who is skating with a broken nose. The home crowd cheers them on and they give one of their best performances. Score is closer to the top two teams than it's ever been.

Meryl and Charlie will need level fours on every element tomorrow in order to repeat as world champions. With a point and a half lead, Tessa and Scott have a little breathing room and have been skating their free dance very well. It's all going to come down to the technical mark. I think Nathalie and Fabian will hold on for the bronze unless they implode like last year. Kaitlyn and Andrew have a better free dance, in my opinion, but I expect Nathalie and Fabian to get the sentimental vote on the PCS. It will be interesting!


  1. You were very kind in describing Tessa's dress. It was unfortunate--reiminiscent of a bad quinceanera dress. Didn't flatter her figure at all.

  2. About the Australian team. They've competed at senior worlds since 2008 and this year was the first year they broke into the Free Dance section