It feels like I was just in Boston watching Ashley Wagner bring the house down with her free skate at Worlds, but here we are starting a new skating season! This is the fifth edition of the U.S. International Classic in Salt Lake City, and I've been able to attend the event every year. This year's roster wasn't as strong as it has been in the past, but there were still some noteworthy performances. Here are a few thoughts on the competition:
- I really enjoyed the short dance event. I wasn't sure about the rhythms before the season, but the entertainment value was high with the programs we saw in SLC. I think the mostly upbeat music will be a nice change from the snoozy themes we had last year. Karina Manta and Joe Johnson's program especially stood out for me.
- I wasn't a fan of Adam's short program when I watched in on YouTube earlier in the summer, but I thought it was very dynamic in person. He really sold every step of the choreography.
- I also wasn't a fan of Jason's short program music, but he made me love the program with his smooth interpretation. I thought his quad in SP looked fully rotated, but what do I know.
- I can't remember a dance team using "Liebestraum" in the past 15 years, and now we have two teams using it this year? (Paul/Islam and Hawayek/Baker) Strange coincidence? Hmm. I thought Paul/Islam did a wonderful job with the piece. It's right in their lyrical wheelhouse but not as sappy as some of their past programs.
- Soooo happy for Alex Shaughnessy and Jimmy Morgan winning bronze at their first international event. After sticking together for so many years and weathering major setbacks, this was such a sweet reward for them.
- Min/Gamelin have my favorite hip hop section so far this season.
- Satoko hasn't missed a beat from last year, and I hope her consistency and graceful movement are rewarded this year over other less aesthetically pleasing competitors (*coughs* Medvedeva)
- I haven't looked at the protocols, but I'm still scratching my head over how Mura didn't win.
You can find all my photos from the event here!!