Thursday, January 26, 2012

US Nats: Junior Finals - Dance

I'm a bit behind in my blogging as is normal for mid-week in Nationals. Therefore, I won't be talking about every performance, just the ones that stood out in some way or won a medal or were done by my favorites. I may not even do the Seniors at all. After all, there are a ton of people out there that only do Seniors so it's not like there is a need for one more.


Junior Dance

Wednesday was the last day of the Junior events. We started off with Junior Dance, which is my favorite event. Based on the Short Dance, my favorites were Howe & Janke, Pogrebinsky & Gudis, Bonacorsi & Mager (who I wanted to win) and Hertigage & Fast.

Unlike a lot of years, I didn't end up with a lot of favorites in the lower levels. This is true all across the board in every discipline and level. Normally there are at least a couple of skaters who haven't quite got the technical goods to be vying for the podium but are quite entertaining or exciting or otherwise fun to watch. I'm not sure why that is, if it's a side-effect of some rule or the judging system or if it's just a coincidence. But it's actually been a bit disappointing because it's turning me into one of those fans who always skips the first flight of an event because "all the good skaters come later" and part of the fun for me is to watch skaters who aren't in the limelight and bring other things to the table.

In the first group, Howe & Jahke were up first. They were skating to Adams Family, always a crowd favorite, and I liked that they didn't start out with the obvious music cuts and that her costume wasn't trying to make her look exactly like Morticia. It even had a wisp of purple in the skirt and that made it interesting. He was in a vest which is always a good look for a male skater in my opinion. My only complaint is that the dance could have been a bit more slinkier, but that may be my preconceived "this is how an Adams Family dance should be" notions as everything they did went with the music.

In the second group, we had Bertsch & Kaplun. In the Short Dance, I noted that she had the Latin Diva thing down but they didn't really grab me in a fandom way. The Free Dance was another matter. They skated to Howl's Moving Castle and I have to say that during one of the 50 million times Mini-Mac watched this movie at home, not once did I think "ooh, someone should do a free dance to that." After tonight's performance, I am perplexed as to why not though. The music choice was inspired with lots of waltz time music and I just loved, loved, loved the whole dance and think the music choice was inspired. So now I have a new favorite.

Pogrebinsky & Gudis skated to Master and Margarita by Kgor Konrelyuk and had some really nice lifts. Elliana, in particular, just moves like a dancer and has great expression. I really hope this team stays together and keeps progressing.

In the last group, we had the eventual medal winners. Bonacorsi & Mager were first and had a distinct Samuelson & Bates vibe. Oh, so that's why I like them so much! I have to say I hated the music. But the dance was divine, they were powerful and had such deep edges and neat feet and were very flowy. They had a minor stumble on a rotational lift at the end but it wasn't enough to keep them from winning the Gold. Yeah, one of my favorites actually wins!

Now, Alridge & Eaton who were in first coming into the Free Dance were quite good and they have good twizzles which are important to me. In fact, as I noted at some point during the evening: A good twizzle is like a nice butt on a guy. So I enjoyed their dance. But I'm not a big Riverdance fan so I wasn't gutted when they slipped into second.

Next up were Heritage & Fast and they skated to a Big Bad Voodoo Daddy medley. So, yeah, they automatically won my hearts with that. They may not be as crisp or as fast as the top couples, but they were fun and good expression. I did get the impression he was having trouble lifting her though and I worry that this will be one of the inevitable 'break up after Nationals' teams so that they can get a pairing with a bigger height difference. They came in fifth.

McNamara & Carpenter skated last came in third but for some reason I have absolutely no notes on them. They skated to The Four Seasons and had lovely costumes but without notes I can't really report much more than that. Obviously they skated well since they got Bronze.

I will post Junior Ladies and Junior Pairs later as it's time to drive back to the arena for the start of Seniors, aka the Championship events.
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