Recap: 2024 U.S. Championships – Senior
by Anne Calder
The Senior Rhythm Dance was performed on Thursday with two different required elements from the Juniors. The Pattern Dance Type Step Sequence and Choreographic Rhythm Sequence were skated instead of the Rocker Foxtrot patterns.
A Pattern Dance Type Step Sequence had the Senior dancers perform two different difficult turns per partner from the following: Back Entry Rocker, Counter, Bracket or Forward Outside Mohawk.
A Choreographic Rhythm Sequence in which the Silver Samba steps #9, 9a, 9b to #47 was skated and evaluated as a choreographic element, not a pattern dance with levels.
Senior Rhythm DanceThe theme selected for both was music and feeling of the Eighties. Any music was possible provided it was originally released in the decade of the 1980’s. The short lift and set of Sequential twizzles were also the same.
Thirteen couples competed. The order at the end of the first evening was: Madison Chock & Evan Bates, Christina Carreira & Anthony Ponomarenko, Caroline Green & Michael Parsons and Emily Bratti and Ian Somerville. The top two teams train in Canada at I.AM; the third and fourth are at MIDA in Canton, Michigan.
Madison Chock & Evan Bates performed to selections by Queen, which included “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Who Wants to Live Forever” from Bohemian Rhapsody and “I Want it All” from The Miracle. The reigning Champions earned level 4 for all their elements and scored 92.17.
Christina Carreira & Anthony Ponomarenko scored 83.19 points for their performance to “Whole Lotta Trouble” and “Edge of Seventeen” by Stevie Nicks. The team earned level 4 for the pattern sequence, twizzles and curve lift.
Caroline Green & Michael Parsons partnered five years ago after previously skating with a sibling. The team danced to “Still Loving You” and “Rock You Like a Hurricane” by The Scorpions. The twizzles and straight line lift earned level 4.
Emily Bratti & Ian Somerville, who train at the Michigan Ice Dance Academy (MIDA) danced to “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince. The program scored 78.14 and earned level 4 for the twizzles and rotational lift.
Senior Free Dance
The weekend attendance size for the Senior Free programs in all four disciplines was huge. The audience cheered, clapped and gave numerous standing ovations for all the athletes who were very appreciative.
During the ice resurfacing, Nationwide Arena was all abuzz with a fast circulating rumor that Evan Bates had the flu and would test his endurance during the final group warm-up. Chock & Bates skated and won their third consecutive National Championship.
“Evan and I have always had a lot of determination and will power,” Chock said. “We thought we would regret not going for it and just trying our best. We [decided] to step out there, give it our all and just make it happen. If this was our last U.S. Championships, we wanted to go out knowing we did our best, and we fought for it.”
The 2024 U.S. National Champion Ice Dance podium was Chock & Bates, Carreira & Ponomarenko, Bratti & Somerville and Green & Parsons. All the medalist teams had season best performances.
Chock & Bates battled the flu and came out the gold medal victors. The team danced to “Time”, “Breathe” and “Eclipse” from The Dark Side of the Moon album by Pink Floyd. They took control and sailed through the program with only one roadblock – a twizzle stumble by Bates. The second place segment scored 123.75. The programs totaled 215.92.
At the Press Conference, Bates spoke highly about the large crowd, “I don’t think we’ve seen such a big crowd in quite some time, especially in a non-Olympic year. To see the turn-out all week and last night at the women’s event and again today at the dance is pretty phenomenal. They were so supportive.”
Carreira & Ponomarenko, the silver medalists, won the Free Dance with a 126.85 score. Their music included “The Girl With the Plumb” from Perfume – The Story of a Murderer, “Strictly Taboo” and “Deceit and Betrayal” by Audiomachine, La Belle Epoque, “Meeting Laura” from Perfume – The Story of a Murderer. Both twizzles, three lifts, and the dance spin earned level 4. The total for both programs was 210.04.
The 2023 National bronze medalists knew Chock and Bates were ill when they missed practice and later kept their distance during the day of the competition.
“That didn’t change the job we had to do,” Carreira said. “We knew what we had to do when we went on the ice. I’m really happy we stayed focused. We’ve been working a lot on both programs to make changes to really maximize the scores.”
Ponomarenko continued, “We had a lot of time after our Grand Prix events to focus in and change what we wanted to change in the programs. There was a lot of time, and we’re thankful for that. We pushed it to our limits, and we try to perform every day like we performed today.”
Emily Bratti & Ian Somerville received a standing ovation and 118.80 points for their free skate to ”Ne Me Quitte Pas” by Celine Dione, Jacques Brei and composition by Karl Hugo. The selection, roughly translated means “Don’t Leave Me.” Somerville also is fluent in the French language. The bronze medalists earned level 4 for the three lifts and Bratti’s twizzle. The total for both programs was 196.94.
Bratti spoke about their approach to the National Championships.
“Coming into this competition, we didn’t know how it was going to play out because it was such a competitive field. We knew that we were capable of being on the podium. It was really a big goal for us. After the Rhythm Dance, we got a lot of motivation and confidence that we were capable of doing it. It was definitely a surprise for us, which you could see by our reaction.”
Somerville continued, “We love our programs this year, and we’ve put so much effort into all the details and musicality. We knew if we just went out there and did what we do every day, we’d have a good chance of coming out successfully,”
“We were able to focus and keep ourselves locked into each other and not too much on the other teams.”
Green & Parsons danced to “Denmark” by Gideon Freudmann and the Portland Cello Project, “Wind and Snow” by Annalise Tornfelt, Gideon Freudmann and the Portland Cello Project and “Denmark” by Gideon Freudmann and the Portland Cello Project. The segment scored 112.92; the total 193.83 earned them the pewter medal.
Parsons commented on their performance. “It was a disappointing skate today. We know we can do better than that. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t our day.”
Eva Pate & Logan Bye earned 110.29 points and fifth place for their interpretation of “Pololvtsian Dances” from the opera Prince Igor. The team that trains in Novi, Michigan also finished fifth overall with 184.75, a total season best score.
Isabella Flores & Ivan Desyatov danced to a Kaitlyn Weaver choreographed West Side Story medley, which included “I Feel Pretty”, “Maria” and “Tonight”. The sixth place program received 110.29 points and a large standing ovation. The Colorado Springs based team finished seventh overall with a total 179.67 points.