The 2008 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships opened Wedensday in Goyang, the Republic of Korea with the Compulsory Dance, the Pairs and Men’s Short Programs. 97 skaters/couples from 16 ISU members are competing in the Championships.
Ice Dancing, Compulsory Dance
photo Paul and Michelle Harvath US Figure Skating
The ice dancers started today’s competition with the Compulsory Dance, the Yankee Polka. Although the Polka is a bouncy dance, the basic principle of stroking and effortless flow must be adhered to. The partners must remain close together to minimize the whipping action generated by the short precise steps and rapid turning movements. The Yankee Polka was invented by James Sladky, Judy Schwomeyer and Ron Ludington. It was first performed in 1969.
Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir of Canada danced to the lead followed by two U.S. couples, Meryl Davis/Charlie White and Kimberly Navarro/Brent Bommentre. All three couples achieved a new seasons best in the Polka.
Virtue/Moir edged out their training mates Davis/White by less than one point. The Canadians put out a characteristic and strong Yankee Polka to score a new seasonal best of 38.22 points (20.07 element score/18.15 program component score). “It’s a different feeling. I suppose we had that a little bit at Nationals”, Virtue commented when asked how it felt to enter this event as the favourites. “There is always pressure, the teams are amazing, and we know that we have to skate well and have to lay down three solid performances. It’s certainly not a comfortable position and we are well aware who is coming up behind us. We’re just trying to do our best and skate like we’ve been training.”
Davis/White gave a solid performance of the Yankee Polka as well and also achieved a new seasonal best with 37.36 points (19.48/17.88).
Navarro/Bommentre, who had been working on the Polka with one of its creators, Ron Ludington, earned 34.36 points (18.31/16.05) to finish third.