There are 24 skaters/couples from 11 ISU members competing in Torino.
Ice Dancing, Original Dance
The competition started with the Original Dance. The Original Dance this year is the Folk/Country Dance. Tanith Belbin/Benjamin Agosto (USA) took the lead, just edging out Isabelle Delobel/ Olivier Schoenfelder of France by less than one point. Russia’s Oksana Domnina/Maxim Shabalin came in third.
Belbin/Agosto put out an entertaining American country dance to “Cotton Eyed Joe”, “Country Waltz” and “Appallachean Hoedown” that was highlighted by a curve lift, a rotational lift with changes of position for her and a dance combination spin. Their footwork was smooth and they effectively used a hat during their performance. The reigning World bronze medalists were awarded a level four for all elements and earned 63.64 points (33.50 element score/30.14 program component score), setting a new seasons best for themselves. “This evening we didn’t yet give our maximum, and so we’re even more happy to be in first tonight”, Belbin commented. “We had mixed feeling about our OD. We felt the energy wasn’t high enough, so we switched out the first piece, lengthened the Cotton Eyed Joe part a bit which we felt connected better with the audience and gives the audience more energy”, she explained, referring to changing part of their music.
Delobel/Schoenfelder delivered a playful Gavotte – French Country Dance named “Replique”. The European Champions produced a well synchronized side by side step sequence (level four), a difficult spin and a rotational lift. Their circular step sequence was graded a level three, and they collected 63.29 points (32.80/30.49), which was a new personal best for them.
Skating to a powerful “Cossack Dance”, Domina/Shabalin completed a dance spin, a straight line lift with changes of positions, a one-armed rotational lift and an intricate circular step sequence. However, Domnina was off balance on a step in the midline step sequence, but recovered instantly. The European silver medalists scored 62.31 points (32.20/30.11).
photos Janos Schmidt