Saturday, September 19, 2015

U.S. International Figure Skating Classic-Friday Events

Saturday's action started with the short dance early this morning, and there were a few stumbles that marred the otherwise lovely waltzes. I first noticed the Danish team of Laurence Fournier Beaudry/Nikolaj Sorensen a few years ago, and it's been wonderful to see how much they've improved under the coaching of Deubreil/Lauzon. They are so striking together, and they were flying through the first pattern of the Ravensburger Waltz. Another team that keeps improving under D/L are the Canadians Elisabeth Paradis/Francois-Xavier Ouellette. They have that smooth, romantic style that the D/L camp fosters so well.

The American teams looked solid. Madison Hubbell/Zach Donohue took first as expected, and I think there's good potential for the new team of Danielle Thomas/Daniel Eaton. I believe they look much more well-matched than Daniel and Alexandra did.

After the short dance it was time to hop over to the pairs free skate warm-up. It's great to see how supportive all the pairs are of each other with training mates applauding each other's completed elements. I'd like to thank the American teams for wearing their costumes so we could get a sneak peek at them!

I took a lunch break and made it back to the arena for the latter part of the ladies' short program. It was so great to see Angela Wang have a clean performance. She's such a stylish skater, and it would be awesome if she could put together more performances like this.

The pairs free skate followed, and I love, love, love both Marissa/Mervin's and Tarah/Danny's programs. They're so different, but they are both fantastic. There are so many little choreographic gems in Marissa and Mervin's Journey program. Once they can get more mileage on it and can solidify the jumps, I think it will be a roof-raiser. Tarah and Danny's "Music of the Night" program is much softer and more lyrical, but it is equally a crowd pleaser. I love all the dance lifts sprinkled throughout the program and how it builds to the trademark Team Florida final-twenty-seconds lift.

The men closed out the evening, and the highlight for me was Shoma Uno. He reminds me of a little Daisuke Takahashi, and I am so excited to see what his future holds. He struggled a little with the jumps, but his basic skating is so gorgeous, and he was fully committed to the emotion of the program despite the jump issues. After Ross's awesome short program last night, I had high hopes for the long, but I have to say I'd like to see him go back to last year's long program. I felt like this new Queen program was kinda empty, and the loud vocals were very jarring.

For my full set of photos from today's events, click HERE.

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