Skating Highlights of the Week: GTSA Summer Skate and Moskvina’s Master Class
Nguyen and Daleman top small fields in Toronto while debuting new longs; a number of Russian pairs show their programs under Moskvina’s guidance.
The official start of the skating season is now less than a week away with the first Junior Grand Prix event in Slovakia. In the U.S., it was also the weekend of the federation’s annual Champs Camp in Colorado Springs, where pratically all of the top American skaters came to show their programs to officials in closed sessions, as well as attend training sessions and do media work. It was quite a busy week for those of them who attended the wedding of the recently retired Grant Hochstein and Caroline Zhang! Obviously, there was not much skating to watch from the Americans this week. Instead there’s mostly been photos, including the dismaying news that Jason Brown has cut his famous ponytail off.
It was a busy week in Canada, however, where more than one kind of summer skate was going on, and one of them attracted the most top names so far, and included a couple of thrilling program debuts. And over in Russia, one of the best pairs coaches of all time held a training camp of her own, and she ended it with a “master class” that included the presentation of what her skaters are doing on ice this year.
GTSA Summer Skate
In Ontario, the qualification process for the bigger competitions is well underway. This week was the second of their Sectional Series events, which their skaters not pre-qualified for Nationals must skate in to qualify for the Sectional Championships in October. At the upper levels, most of those trying to qualify will do so, and often skaters who don’t need to skate in Sectionals will show up anyway. Multiple top skaters skated this week at the series’ second event, the GTSA Summer Skate in Toronto, and it was out first look at least a couple of them.
If Nam Nguyen tripped over his combination, leaving him way behind in second initially, it at least kind of went with the mood of his new short program anyway. In any case, this one’s way better than the scary thing he skated to last season.
While other skaters were trying to figure out La La Land last season, Nguyen, it seems, wisely bided his time, waited for the field to clear, and has now shown up with this skate that lives on the same free charm that the movie wields. If he skates it like this later in the season, it may become the most successful La La Land program yet. As it is, it made up the large gap and more; he won by twenty points.
Keegan Messing is sticking to the cheery big band programs, because they work so well for him, and this new short program absolutely does. Too many mistakes in the long dropped him to second, though.
Much of the women’s event wasn’t pretty, with even Gabrielle Daleman struggling in both programs. She’s going full-out femme fatale this year, keeping her Carmen short while adding on a Samson and Delilah free. In theory, the music is a good match for her, but one must question if the whole tone of this program is the right one, especially for her.
With three of Canada’s four top pairs from last season gone, Evelyn Walsh & Trennt Michaud have the opportunity to fill the gap as they come up from juniors. With two contrasting solid programs, they’re showing they can definitely do that. With only one other weaker senior pair here, they didn’t need the throws this weekend.
Conrad Orzel won the junior men on the strength of his Shawn Mendes short, and his romanticism in both programs, though the Romeo and Juliet free was messier.
View full results here.
Master Class by Moskvina
At 77 years of age, coaching legend Tamara Moskvina no longer dominates the pairs scene the way she once did. But she’s still kicking, taking her current pair of Aleksandra Boikova & Dmitrii Kozlovskii up to the senior level this year. Plus she’s been holding a coaching camp, and this Saturday, she brought the pairs she’s been working with, plus a handful of singles skaters, to a public master class, where they skated their programs to her commentary.
Boikova & Kozlovskii skated last year’s free program, and it’s looking like they might keep it. It’s certainly not a bad one, and they don’t even need to alter it’s length, since senior level programs have gone down to the four minute length junior programs were.
Anastasia Poluianova & Dmitri Sopot gave one of the better performances of the class. They are not expected to have the better of the two Russian programs using Ezio Bosso’s “Rain, in Your Black Eyes” this season, but they’ve thrown the gauntlet down there. Much of this passes without Moskvina saying anything; she’s wise enough to know when skating speaks for itself.
Right before coming going to work with her, Apollinariia Panfilova & Dmitry Rylov did an interview where among other things they discussed their music choices, including their decision to skate their short mostly to “I Put a Spell on You.” They describe this program as emphasizing dance, although the transition at the end is still a bit odd.
Anastasiia Melnikova & Maksim Selkin are a newly formed pair, and seem to still be getting used to both each other and their clown-themed short. Still, this shows potential.
Petr Gummenik is a common sight at Moskvina’s shows. This weekend he showed audiences his new Czardas SP, which he seems to like, but is definitely a little disorienting to watch.
Anastasia Khalina & Grigoriy Zabello are also new, and young, with her only just old enough for junior international competition. Still they have already been introduced to remixed Carmen, though we don’t have video of their entire program.
We do, however, have video of a little partner switch, with Zabello getting the honor of taking Moskvina herself out onto the ice!