Alexandra Aldridge and Daniel Eaton Sweep Junior Dance Segments

Alexandra Aldridge & Daniel Eaton took the Junior Dance title with strong performances in both the Short Dance and Free Dance segments.  There Short Dance skated to "I Need to Know" was lively and energetic with quick steps good expression.  Only one judge dares to give a -1 for the first Cha Cha section, and that was it for negative marks.  Their components averaged near 6.75, and one judge went to 8.00 for Interpretation.

In the Free Dance the couple were likewise lively as they stepped though "The Lord of the Dance" and "Riverdance."  The judges were as enthusiastic about the performance as the audience, with GoEs all in the 1s to 3s, and an average component score of near 7.5.  Several of the judges went to 8.00 for the Choreography and Interpretation marks.

The couple sized up their performance with Eaton saying, "We felt that we skated really well. We just went out there and performed our program as good as we could have and enjoyed the opportunity to perform in front of all of our fans in San Jose, family and officials. We just really enjoyed our performance."  While Aldridge said, "This free dance was probably our favorite to compete so far because it had here was so much energy and the crowd was great. They were clapping along the whole time and it was a very special moment for Daniel and me to have skated such a great program."

Their Irish program was not their first choice for the season.  Aldridge explained "Believe it or not, Irish dance was not our first pick for out free dance this year. We had something totally different in mind and at last minute, Daniel and I didnít think it was right. Our bodies didnít move well with the music that we chose. And then, "Lord of the Dance" was coming to Detroit, and I YouTubed "Lord of the Dance" and loved it and then I showed Daniel and he enjoyed it too. Thatís kind of how we picked it."  Eaton said, "I think at the beginning of the season, I was the person who was the most against doing "Lord of the Dance." I donít really know why, I just thought that it was going to be a very challenging program for us to do and Iím glad I took that back because I think it was the best decision that weíve made this season. Alex and I really connect with the music. We enjoy performing it and having the crowd get involved and I think that it was a very strong suit for us."

More than eight points behind the gold medallists, Lauri Bonacorsi & Travis Mager placed second in both the short and long.  The couple skated a very energetic Cha Cha to "Chilly Cha Cha" and "Besame Mucho."  The couple had only one -1 GoE among all their elements, but the couple did not achieve any of the key performance parameters of the second Cha Cha section.  The level 1 for this element compared to the level 3 from Aldridge & Eaton, cost them three points and the lead in the Sort Dance. Their component scores were also distinctly below the leaders, averaging near 6.25. 

Skating to "Close to You" in the Free Dance, Bonacorsi & Mager had a nicely choreographer routine with nice speed and power.  The couple was close to the leaders in elements, but the components again set them apart with the second place team have an average component mark roughly a point lower than the leaders.  Bonacorsi said about their program, "We were really happy with how we skated this week. We thought we got a clean start with the short dance and then the free dance. We put our heart into it and really enjoyed skating."  About skating with his partner, Mager said "One of my favorite things about skating is skating with Lauri and when we get to skate together, especially in front of crowds, it really brings us to our best as people and I really thought that we made a great connection together."

After placing fourth in the Short Program, Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter moved up to third in the Free Dance and finished in third overall.  In the Short Dance the couple skated to an odd cut of music consisting of "Kaboom" a kind of disco Cha Cha, followed by music from "The Mission."  They received only one -2 among the element marks (for their twizzles, but their components were not competitive, averaging less than 5.25.

The couple had a stronger skate in the Free Dance with element levels of 3 and 4, and only two -2s among the GoEs.  Their component scores were distinctly better than in the short, averaging near 6.0.  "It felt great to be able to entertain everybody," said McNamara, " especially for our short dance, to be able to put on an act together. Weíve been skating together for so long that itís just like one of us really."  Said Carpenter, "We like to think of each other as one. Weíre not two separate people doing things, weíre constantly always dancing with each other and San Jose has been a really great experience for us. Itís been really fun."

The pewter medal was won by the brother and sister team of Rachel Parsons & Michael Parsons.  The couple were third in the Short Dance skating to "Psychedelic Sally," an extraordinarily annoying piece of music that was painful to listen to as they skated.

In the Free Dance the Parsons dropped to fourth, due mainly to lower element scores.  Their PCS was about 1/2 point ahead of McNamara & Carpenter, but their TES was five points lower.  Coming out of the combination spin Rachel stumbled briefly, and their two step sequences were each one level lower than McNamara & Carpenter.

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Copyright 2012 by George S. Rossano