The NHK Trophy in Sendai, Japan continued Friday with the Original Dance, the Ladies Short Program and the Pairs Free Skating. The NHK Trophy is the sixth and last event of the 2007/2008 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating and held for the first time in Sendai. The skaters compete for a global prize money of US $ 180, 000 per individual event of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating and receive points according to their placements. The top six skaters/couples then qualify for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Torino, Italy (December 13-16). Skaters are vying for the last open spots for the Final at NHK Trophy.
Ice Dancing, Original Dance
The Original Dance of the 2007/2008 seasons is the “Folk/Country Dance”. The couples at NHK Trophy presented dances from Russia, Greece, South Africa, Scotland, France and Gypsy Dances.
Isabelle Delobel/Olivier Schoenfelder of France defended their lead, although Canadians Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir won the Original Dance. Russia’s Jana Khokhlova/Sergei Novitski finished third.
Delobel/Schoenfelder had chosen a Gavotte, a French Country Dance, whose music “Replique” had been especially arranged for them. The European Champions effectively used two purple cloths in the dance, for example when he held her in the straight line lift. The French produced a difficult side by side midline step sequence (level four) and a circular step sequence (level three). However, their spin appeared short in revolutions and was graded only a level two by the Technical Panel. On Schoenfelder’s 30th birthday, the couple earned 61.67 points (31.10 element score/30.57 program component score) for the OD and was ranked second in this segment. Overall they remained in first place at 100.63 points. “We felt very confident today in our performance. I think we were able to show the character of the dance. This music is from the French west coast, the Bretagne (Brittany). The man I play wants to marry Isabelle, but she doesn’t agree right away. She first wants to test the man and we dance together. At the end of the dance, she agrees to marry him”, Schoenfelder explained. “I know we still have to work on our technical elements and to receive a higher level for the spin and the circular step sequence, we have to skate cleaner and show deeper edges”, he added.
Virtue/Moir performed a characteristic Russian dance to “Kalinka”, executing intricate yet smooth footwork, a curve and a one armed rotational lift as well as a dance combination spin. All their elements received a level four and the 2006 World Junior Champions scored a new personal best of 62.04 points (33.60/28.44) and now have accumulated 96.71 points so far.
Khokhlova/Novitski’s passionate Gypsy Dance “Two Guitars” featured precise steps, a dance combination spin, a one-armed rotational lift and a straight line lift. They were awarded a level four for all elements as well, but got a one-point deduction for an extended lift. The Russians received 57.84 points (31.80/27.04) and got 92.07 so far.