U.S. Ice Dance 2018-19 season news & updates

Debbie S

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It's always been the case where teams compete in the summer and don't make it to the fall/Sectionals for a variety of reasons: a mismatch, either partner loses interest, they run out of money, etc. This year, it happened that every Junior team competing at Sectionals made it to Nats, which isn't such a bad thing - the skaters and families put so much time and money into it, so if they can get to the big show, good for them. This off-season seems particularly bad since teams at the top have split/no longer competing, but it happens. And there is plenty of good talent still around - N/K, the Browns, the top Novice teams. And at the Senior level, there are multiple teams contending for GPF and World medals with teams behind them who medaled on the GP.

Elite skating is expensive and requires a lot of sacrifice, both time and money. Juniors are usually in the 14-18 range, so it's understandable that some might lose interest and decide to go to college full-time, or longtime partnerships that worked at a younger age might not work anymore, for multiple reasons. In the case of G/S, it sounds like Eliana was totally blindsided and given the length of her partnership with Ian and the sacrifices she and and her family made over the years, she deserved better. But Junior team splits happen. I hope Eliana can find a good partner worthy of her, if she decides to continue.
 

Moustaffask8r

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I will miss Gropman & Somerville together as a team as they have quite wonderful expression. G&S have been together longer than almost everyone in the current U.S. dance field. Maybe longer than everyone who competed this season except McNamara & Carpenter?



Eliana Gropman is age appropriate for Michael and close to aging up. She is also short enough for him. (Basically Eliana & Shpilevaya are the two ladies coming up over the past several years that have always appeared unlikely to outgrow the shorter guys in the field, and he's one of the stronger shorter guys in the field). I've always thought Eliana & Michael would be a very logical team if he elected to repartner. I wouldn't have advocated for it because the Parsons had strong speed and unison that I think you can't just replicate with a new partner; but with Rachel pulling out, I would go for it if he doesn't already have a partner. Eliana is very expressive. She has a lot of experience in dance. And they would have a different dynamic and the ability to tackle some elements together that were not possible with their previous partners. Different strengths, essentially. I think they would go quite well together.
 
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Moustaffask8r

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:confused: Because the teams and coaches involved are in a different program/rink hundreds of miles from Igor? It seems pretty clear that Ian and new partner are still in the Wheaton program.

Chloe posted on her IG recently that she will be attending USC next year.
Looking at how they threat the girls, I would not send my dog to train in that camp!! seriously, after 10 years, splitting up through email..... pretty awful. Wishing the best to Eliana!
 

chameleonster

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Apparently Caroline Green is skating with Michael Parson! and Del Kamp is with Sommerville
Whoa. Really? DelCamp/Somerville I can see, I suppose-- she's expressive and flexible and they'd have a couple more years as juniors-- but I'm really shocked at the idea of Caroline and Michael. She's so young for seniors, and is likely to keep growing. Are you speculating or did you hear this somewhere?
 

Moustaffask8r

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Apparently Caroline Green is skating with Michael Parson! and Del Kamp is with Sommerville
Whoa. Really? DelCamp/Somerville I can see, I suppose-- she's expressive and flexible and they'd have a couple more years as juniors-- but I'm really shocked at the idea of Caroline and Michael. She's so young for seniors, and is likely to keep growing. Are you speculating or did you hear this somewhere?
only rumors I heard going around nothing for sure I was surprised too and have a hard time believing....
 

Colonel Green

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Even granting that it would take any new team a while to gel, pairing Michael with a 15-year-old girl seems like a dubious prospect to me.
 

Tinami Amori

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Of all the dance pairs that have split i am very sorry it's Green/Green. Watched them for several seasons, really liked them, specially her. given they are siblings, quite sure they discussed it at home. my guess? maybe he wanted to go to college or do something else? that's possible. glad she is still skating.

Ian Somerville ... oy! what an as...ole way of ending a long partnership. there are basic standards and decency one must follow. If he was afraid that she hears about his decision before returning home and was worried about rumors, he could have just sent a message "we need to meet and talk about our future", and then do it in person, take her to dinner, give her a special gift thanking for years of partnership, some decent gesture out of respect for all the years.

That said, i though he is a better ice dancer than she, and that she was not that graceful and a bit clumsy at times, certainly not a "ice dance star" material. But still... he has a right to seek better partner, but do it decently..

Greens....:wuzrobbed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6LotlYidIU
 
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Debbie S

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only rumors I heard going around nothing for sure I was surprised too and have a hard time believing....
If it's only a rumor, then why are you posting it as fact? And then deleting it when someone responds to your post (which is against board rules, by the way)? Maybe you shouldn't post unconfirmed rumors, or at least identify them as such.
 

Lara111

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If it's only a rumor, then why are you posting it as fact? And then deleting it when someone responds to your post (which is against board rules, by the way)? Maybe you shouldn't post unconfirmed rumors, or at least identify them as such.
If it's only a rumor, then why are you posting it as fact? And then deleting it when someone responds to your post (which is against board rules, by the way)? Maybe you shouldn't post unconfirmed rumors, or at least identify them as such.
It has not been confirmed officially but why not share what the person heard.
 

Debbie S

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It has not been confirmed officially but why not share what the person heard.
I don't think this thread or board needs to be used to spread gossip - there's social media for that. As I said, the poster should have at least noted it's an unconfirmed rumor rather than asserting it as something that is happening.
 

Lacey

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Looking at the top of US ice dance, how many teams have retired recently? The Shibs may or may not be still hanging on, Hubbell/Donohue and Chock/Bates are definitely still in. And I am a fan of them all. However, there isn't much wiggle room at the very top to permit "newcomers." One could spend years and years and still never make it for the chance to compete at the very top, much less to succeed there because it may still take more of those years to succeed once one gets up there.

My oldest competed in Novice Dance over 30 years ago, and one of the main reasons we stopped was money. (She went on to be All American in the sport of lacrosse at high school and college, a sport which was free in school.) I cannot imagine skating costs now. Coaches, choreographers, off ice training, costumes, skates, food and room and board away from the childhood home all add up.

The pressure to change one's school goals in order to compete in higher and higher levels of ice dance is immense. More and more skaters who are also students can perhaps see the light of preparing in hs for college and careers, and not being able to even attempt to also $kate or to only skate, while chosing and focusing instead on the need to get out in the real world at the end, which should be every skater's ultimate goal. How many can do both, study for a degree and skate? I smile every time I think of Nathan Chen, bless him, but how many can do what he has done? He is a very unusually gifted man to do both so excellently.

Just as at US Nats with dance teams this year, I think we are going to see fewer and fewer competitive dance teams, as well as all skaters--individual and pairs--in the future.

Inside all of this, however, I do wonder about the commitment of US Skating to help young skaters with costs. Perhaps there is a wide gap before senior level skating that needs to be addressed if the organization can be really serious about helping skaters for the duration, not just at the top.
 
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Debbie S

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My oldest competed in Novice Dance over 30 years ago, and one of the main reasons we stopped was money. (She went on to be All American in the sport of lacrosse at high school and college, a sport which was free in school.)
Your daughter sounds about my age. Back then, girls looking to get college scholarships for lacrosse would get together with girls from their school and neighboring schools and play a few hours on the weekends in the winter to be at their best for tryouts and the season. Now kids start playing on rec and travel leagues in elementary school (and that's true of most school sports) and I hear about high school kids working with personal trainers and private instructors in addition to their school team, plus developmental leagues and camps. My guess is the cost is not too far off what a moderately (not quite elite) competitive skater would spend. ;)

I smile every time I think of Nathan Chen, bless him, but how many can do what he has done? He is a very unusually gifted man to do both so excellently.
D/W both attended college while training - I think they stopped after Vancouver b/c they had so many additional obligations and opportunities as OSM - and I think have each gone back and are (I think?) close to finishing. Evan Bates and Max Aaron are two skaters who got degrees while competing at the top level, and I think Mirai Nagasu also? Or she is close to finishing.

Inside all of this, however, I do wonder about the commitment of US Skating to help young skaters with costs. Perhaps there is a wide gap before senior level skating that needs to be addressed if the organization can be really serious about helping skaters for the duration, not just at the top.
I think financial assistance is available to skaters starting at the Juv level, but I believe they have to qualify for Nats, or at least Sectionals, to be eligible. And of course, it costs a huge amount of money (and talent) to even make it to that point. I'm sure many skaters drop out due to finances before then. I wouldn't object to expanding assistance for developing skaters, but how do you identify 'promising' skaters at Pre-Juv or lower?
 

Dobre

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Whoa. Really? DelCamp/Somerville I can see, I suppose-- she's expressive and flexible and they'd have a couple more years as juniors
The coaches will have their work cut out for them if he is with DelCamp. I'd guess that for him the lifts are the issue in question and probably they could come up with some more spectacular ones; but her footwork levels have been really low. So you're looking at a lot of work on the basics. It would probably be good for her to work at Wheaton. Gropman & Somerville, themselves, had level 1s on the JGP when they started out in 2015-16 and have been bringing in a lot of 3s this season, but I'm not sure the extra GOE on the lifts is likely to outweigh the dropped levels & GOE on the footwork. Especially when that includes starting over again. So a lot of work.
 

Lara111

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The coaches will have their work cut out for them if he is with DelCamp. I'd guess that for him the lifts are the issue in question and probably they could come up with some more spectacular ones; but her footwork levels have been really low. So you're looking at a lot of work on the basics. It would probably be good for her to work at Wheaton. Gropman & Somerville, themselves, had level 1s on the JGP when they started out in 2015-16 and have been bringing in a lot of 3s this season, but I'm not sure the extra GOE on the lifts is likely to outweigh the dropped levels & GOE on the footwork. Especially when that includes starting over again. So a lot of work.
Which might lead to Ian retiring if they drop in standings.
 

Dobre

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Looking at the top of US ice dance, how many teams have retired recently?
Who retires;)?

Over the past quadrennium, the following dance teams capable of earning their own spots onto the GP for the United States have essentially removed themselves from it:
The Shibs
The Parsons
Pogrebinsky & Benoit (he retired)
Aldridge & Eaton
Cannuscio & McMannus (they retired)

I didn't start following the Challenger events until 2015-16. Off the top of my head, the following other teams capable of earning an ISP qualifying score and their own spot on the CS series have essentially removed themselves from it:
Thomas & Eaton
Biechler & Dodge
Maxwell & Devereaux (I believe there was an official retirement here)
(Manta & Johnson will do so if they elect to take this season off).

The Challenger Series has only existed since 2014-15. It seems quite likely that the following teams could have ultimately qualified for it if they had not removed themselves from national competition:
Olson & Lorello
Gamelin & Gamelin

This list does not include Junior dance teams like Lewis & Bye that demonstrated the scoring potential to earn their way onto the senior ISP and CS series had they elected to move up into seniors together.

I'm going to go ahead and say here that people do not qualify for the World team because of retirements. You earn your way onto the team by becoming one of the best in the World. And I totally agree that when it comes to the fight to make a World Championships team, you are looking at a very select number of athletes and at usually a very low turnover rate in ice dance. If you aren't one of the very best in the World, then you can't count on having three dance spots at Worlds anyway. Basically, you probably have to demonstrate that you could help earn the third berth before you can even get on the team. (And, IMO, if you can do that internationally, then you put yourself in the game to earn it nationally based on your performances in competition). So, yes, it's very, very tough. Your post and Debbie's earlier are quite true.

Though I don't know why this has to be the only reason for skating? I mean, realistically speaking the money is a huge and valid issue; but there are a lot of goals a team can reach at the international level. Even a team like Manta & Johnson that isn't close to reaching a GP podium. I mean, I think that for them they had a very successful season. They skated on the GP. They developed a fan base. They shared their message. And they even defeated a contending team in the FD on a bad day at U.S. Nationals. Surely, I would say, M&J had the best crowd reaction of their lives there. As individuals, that's quite an accomplishment. I think it's a valid one. I also think Cannuscio & McManus had a very worthwhile career. If you have a passion for something and love what you are doing . . . well that is a valid reason for pursuing many goals and developing many skills in life.
 
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Yazmeen

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@Dobre - that was an excellent post. That said, I think along with the expenses comes a certain point where the teams who are in the lower half of the top ten look inwardly and ask if all the hard work, money, time and all around effort is worth it to continually place 5th to 10th at Nationals and miss out on plum international assignments.

Let’s face it; barring injury or other unforeseen circumstances, we pretty much know 2 of the 3 teams (maintaining 3 spots, course) who are likely to go to the 2022 Games. And barring the same for P/C, the chances of any country but France taking the OGM are not likely. Passion and love for your sport is one thing. Skating in circles, so to speak, with little chance of moving up is another. These splits really don’t surprise me. No matter how much passion for the sport there is, sometimes you have to realize the brass ring is out of your reach and determine how much passion vs reality weighs for your personal decisions.
 

layman

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@Dobre - that was an excellent post. That said, I think along with the expenses comes a certain point where the teams who are in the lower half of the top ten look inwardly and ask if all the hard work, money, time and all around effort is worth it to continually place 5th to 10th at Nationals and miss out on plum international assignments.

Let’s face it; barring injury or other unforeseen circumstances, we pretty much know 2 of the 3 teams (maintaining 3 spots, course) who are likely to go to the 2022 Games. And barring the same for P/C, the chances of any country but France taking the OGM are not likely. Passion and love for your sport is one thing. Skating in circles, so to speak, with little chance of moving up is another. These splits really don’t surprise me. No matter how much passion for the sport there is, sometimes you have to realize the brass ring is out of your reach and determine how much passion vs reality weighs for your personal decisions.
I disagree with this sentiment. Ice is slippery. Anything can happen. The unexpected often does happen in Ice Dance. Papadakis/Cizeron went from out of the top ten one year to winners the next. The Shibutanis debuted as Senior World Bronze Medalists. We have seen dramatic shifts all the time in COP Ice Dance. I say expect the unexpected.

I don't think teams have to wait their turn anymore. Talent will rise no matter what (sometimes dramatically so), but it does take many years for teams to gel/mature as Seniors in Ice Dance. For teams that break-up and re-form with different pairings, they are essentially starting from scratch and are sacrificing all the years of building that went into their previous partnerships. That's why I think it's such a bad thing when teams who have come up the Junior Ranks break-up before or shortly after they make their Senior Debuts.

We have seen some wonderful Ice Dance Couples who were on the verge of making it big, go nowhere after splits. I am thinking Silverstein/Pekarek (a wonderful team who were poised to take over Ice Dance until their untimely split...tried new partnerships without the same success...quit again) and Matthews/Zavozin (who were once neck and neck with Virtue and Moir in the standings...just imagine what they could have achieved had they stuck together).
 
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Yazmeen

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We have seen some wonderful Ice Dance Couples who were on the verge of making it big, go nowhere after splits. I am thinking Silverstein/Pekarek (a wonderful team who were poised to take over Ice Dance until their untimely split...tried new partnerships without the same success...quit again) and Matthews/Zavozin (who were once neck and neck with Virtue and Moir in the standings...just imagine what they could have achieved had the stuck together).
I see your points, but that's more than a little unfair to Jamie Silverstein who split with Pekarek for serious health reasons and then did come back and make an Olympic team. She didn't just "quit," so to speak.
 

Sylvia

Not yet ready for club comp. season to be underway
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...just imagine what they could have achieved had the stuck together).
Generally speaking, if both partners are not on the same page re. their goals and/or have other issues that prevent them from achieving their highest potential as a team (personal, financial, coaching, etc.), there's no point in forcing any team to stay together.
 

layman

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I see your points, but that's more than a little unfair to Jamie Silverstein who split with Pekarek for serious health reasons and then did come back and make an Olympic team. She didn't just "quit," so to speak.
Yes...both Jamie Silverstein and Morgan Matthews struggled with Eating Disorders.
 

layman

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Generally speaking, if both partners are not on the same page re. their goals and/or have other issues that prevent them from achieving their highest potential as a team (personal, financial, coaching, etc.), there's no point in forcing any team to stay together.
I am not an advocate for forcing anyone to stay together...just pointing out that when forming a new team with a different partner, it can be tough to replicate the success of the previous pairing...because it takes so much time to gel in Ice Dance.
 

Dobre

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@Dobre - that was an excellent post. That said, I think along with the expenses comes a certain point where the teams who are in the lower half of the top ten look inwardly and ask if all the hard work, money, time and all around effort is worth it to continually place 5th to 10th at Nationals and miss out on plum international assignments.
I understand what you are trying to say. To me it's all about whether you have done what you are capable of and reached the goals you have set for yourself. If teams have done that, I don't feel bad when they elect to step aside. They've given it a fair shake, done their best, and seen where they can go. Cannuscio & McManus did this, IMO. They earned a 4th place at U.S. Nationals. They earned their way onto more than one GP circuit. They medaled on the CS circuit. But they didn't earn their TES minimums their last season. It pretty much tells me they had given it their best shot. They probably had a very fair assessment of the field with the teams that were about to move up to seniors. (Teams that all earned their TES minimums right off the bat during the following two years, albeit with the help of extra choreographic elements but also, really, these teams have strong technical basics). And having assessed that upcoming field as well as the goals already accomplished, C&M made the call to move on. I really think they'd done everything they could do. They could have fought to make the GP again (and more than likely would have made it this season if they had been at the level they were when they left), but they'd reached that goal and decided to move on in their lives. More power to them.

For the record, the team that finished sixth at last year's U.S. Nationals finished 4th at Four Continents last season, moved up two spots at Nationals this season--technically finishing on the U.S. podium, medaled on the GP, earned two level 4 footwork sequences in international competition, three level 4s on the Tango Romantica pattern in international competition, defeated two teams that defeated them at Nationals over the past couple seasons. And defeated the teams that finished 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th at this years Worlds in head-to-head competition this year. Also defeated the team that finished 10th at this year's Worlds in head-to-head competition last year. So they did OK for themselves, I think:).


Side Note:

Since I know we are both fans, I also wanted to say that I don't feel bad about Biechler & Dodge. I think they could have reached a higher level if they had been able to pour 100% of their time and energy into skating; but it seemed clear their second senior season that they could not. That probably their time had to be divided at that stage of their lives, and their skating seemed to suffer relative to earlier seasons. They gave it a shot. And I can understand being done if you can't be out there at your highest level. (Though I sure would have loved to see them fight for that SA spot this past summer).
 
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twizzletoes76

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Yes...both Jamie Silverstein and Morgan Matthews struggled with Eating Disorders.
I believe Morgan Matthews also struggled with a serious orthopedic issue: avascular necrosis (a disorder where blood cannot adequately reach the bone)—so staying in skating was not an option for her. I think I read an article where she spoke about this somewhere.
 

Sylvia

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Karina's blog post has more info: https://circusrunaway.blog/2019/04/19/saying-goodbye/
It’s hard for me to say “retiring” because who knows if this is goodbye forever? We sure don’t. We do know that we feel like we need a change of scenery, and we were recently offered a really incredible opportunity to work with Cirque Du Soleil, so, in June, we’re packing our bags and heading to Montreal to begin working on an exciting project with them—I guess all ice dancers really do end up in Montreal one way or another.
Great professional opportunity for them! :)

ETA - here's Joe's message (same one he tweeted): https://www.instagram.com/p/Bwav4hGFstA/
From the end:
In June, we will be moving to Montreal to start working with @cirquedusoleil on a project. To hear our names after “representing the United States” was a deep honor, and it’s something we’ll always carry with us. Our hearts are full, and we firmly look at this not as the end, but as a continuation of something that we’re blessed every single day to be able to do. We’ll still be out there performing, and we hope to see you from the stage 🎪
 
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Debbie S

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I'm sad I won't get to see them compete anymore (I was hoping to see them at SA) but I'm glad they are getting this opportunity. Looking forward to Karina's blog posts about their new adventures.
 

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