The ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final opened Friday in Gdansk, Poland with the Compulsory and Original Dance, the Ladies, Pairs and Men’s Short Programs. The top eight skaters/couples from the eight events of the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating series have qualified for the Final from December 7 to 9. Gdansk hosted the Final once before in 1999.
Ice Dancing, Compulsory & Original Dance
The Compulsory Dance at the Junior Grand Prix Final was the Cha Cha Congelado. This dance was developed by Bernard Ford, Kelly Johnson, Laurie Palmer and Steven Belanger. It was first performed in Richmond Hill (CAN) in 1989.
Maria Monko/Ilia Tkachenko of Russia grabbed the lead in the Compulsory Dance, edging out their teammates Kristina Gorshkova/Vitali Butikov by less than one point. Both couples produced a precise and musical performance of the dance. Monko/Tkachenko picked up a seasons best of 33.66 points (17.87 element score/15.79 program component score) while Gorshkova/Butikov earned 33.35 points (17.72/15.63). Emily Samuelson/Evan Bates (USA) came in third in the Cha Cha Congelado. They skated well, but appeared somewhat stiff. The 2006 Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists earned 31.70 points (16.69/15.01).
The dancers came back later in the evening for the Original Dance. Monko/Tkachenko strengthened their lead with a dynamic and characteristic performance to a Russian Folk song named “I’m going out on the street”. They produced intricate footwork, earning a level four for the side by side midline and the circular step sequence. The couple also produced a straight line lift and a rotational lift. All elements were graded a level four, and the Russians posted a new personal best of 56.57 points (31.58/24.99), which added up to 90.23 points so far. “We skated quite well and did all our elements, but I still feel we skated a bit better in England (at the Junior Grand Prix in Sheffield), it felt somewhat more confident there. But we got a high score and we’re very pleased. Most couples chose a more classical music, and we tried to set ourselves apart and went for a more upbeat dance”, Monko explained.