The Rostelecom Cup opened Friday with the Compulsory and Original Dance, the Ladies, and Pairs Short Programs. The Rostelecom Cup is the second of six events in the 2009/2010 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series. 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 in each discipline advance to the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Tokyo, Japan, in December.
Ice Dance, Compulsory & Original Dance
The Compulsory Dance at the Rostelecom Cup was the Tango Romantica. The Tango Romantica is a romantic sinuous dance which expresses the soft, lyrical interpretive characteristics of the Tango. It must be skated with deep edges. The judges are looking for very erect carriage, precise timing and continuous flow. The difficulty of the steps should not be revealed in awkward or stressed upper body positions. The dance was created by 1976 Olympic Ice Dance Champions Ludmilla Pakhomova/Alexander Gorshkov and their coach Elena Tchaikovskaya. It was first performed in Moscow in 1974.
The Original Dance of the 2009/10 season is the Folk/Country Dance. The couples chose folk/country dances for example from Russia, Italy, Lithuania and even India.
Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA) captured the lead in the Compulsory Dance and defended it in the Original Dance ahead of Italy’s Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte and Ekaterina Rubleva/Ivan Shefer of Russia.
Davis/White gave a smooth performance of the Tango Romantica and received 37.87 points (19.00 element score/18.37 program component score). The Four Continents Champions presented an exotic Indian dance in the Original Dance that was highlighted by a curve lift with her changing positions – first she was behind his back, then in front – and fast twizzles. The lift and the twizzles were graded a level four while the circular steps and the side by side step sequence were awarded a level three by the Technical Panel. Davis/White got 62.21 points (30.70/31.51) and accumulated a total of 100.08 points so far. “We had a really nice original dance out there today. I feel like we had a very good connection and we were able to do our elements pretty well. (There were) Some level threes, we still like to get level fours, but overall we are very happy and ready to move on to the free dance”, White told the post event press conference.
Cappellini/Lanotte finished second in the Tango Romantica and scored 32.73 points (16.32/16.41). They chose Italian carnival as their theme, performing to “La Danza” by Giacomo Rossini and a Tarantella. Lanotte even wore a typical Italian carnival mask. The couple completed a level-four straight line lift and received a level three for the footwork section, but the twizzles were somewhat shaky and got only a level two. Cappellini/Lanotte earned 52.58 points (26.40/26.18) for the Original Dance and remained in second place at 85.31 points overall.
Rubleva/Shefer delivered a solid Compulsory Dance and were ranked third in this segment with a seasons best score of 30.33 points (15.64/14.69). The National silver medalists built on this performance with an entertaining Russian dance, “Valenki”, wearing elaborate costumes. They produced synchronized twizzles and a straight line lift that were graded a level four and had a level three for the midline side by side footwork and the diagonal step sequence to pick up another seasons best of 50.92 points (27.00/23.92). Their score added up to 81.25 points.
Ladies, Short Program
Julia Sebestyen of Hungary upset the favourites to take the Ladies’ Short Program. Alissa Czisny (USA) and Japan’s Miki Ando came in second and third.
Skating to “Song from a Secret Garden”, Sebestyen nailed a high triple Lutz-double toeloop combination followed by a triple flip and a double Axel. The 2004 European Champion also produced a level-four combination spin and spiral sequence while the layback was graded a level one. The Hungarian earned 57.94 points (32.90 element score/26.04 program component score). “I am very happy to have skated a clean short program”, said Sebestyen. “My goal was to skate clean, but I didn’t expect to be in first place. After my injuries, my goal for this season was to qualify for the Olympic Games, and I did that. Now I just want to enjoy skating and to compete and I want to skate better and better with each competition.”
Czisny landed a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination and a triple flip in her “Zorro” routine, but she had to fight for the landing of the double Axel. The U.S. Champion drew extra applause for her difficult and beautiful spins that all were a level four and got 57.64 points (32.44/25.20).
Ando went for a triple Lutz-triple loop combination in her program to “Requiem” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but she underrotated and stumbled on the loop. She also cheated the triple flip that was downgraded as well, but came back to hit a double Axel. The current World bronze medalist picked up a level four for the flying sit and the combination spin and a level three for the layback spin and the footwork to score 57.18 points (28.98/28.20).
For full results please refer to www.isu.org. An extended version of this report will be available later on the website. The Rostelecom Cup continues Saturday with the Free Dance, the Men’s, Ladies and Pairs Free Skating.
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS