February 2002
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Canadian Junior National Figure Skating Championships: Novice Dance Critique
By: Katie Norman, SNN Editor, Bishops College, St. John's, NF

Alice Graham/Eric Neumann-Aubichon – Northern Ontario
This duo were proud to walk home with first place in the event. Their routine was both upbeat and expressive in nature. Teamwork was evident as their lifts were fabulous and obviously well rehearsed. The music choice also worked well and was smooth and romantic in all the right places. You could sense the flight in their steps as they made it look so easy. Their jazzy attitudes and constant energy certainly won the judges over and earned them first place.

Myeléne Théroux and Jonathan Pelletier – Quebec
If there were an award for originality I would be sure to award it to these two Quebec skaters. Their skate was different from all the rest and definitely set them apart and made them stand out. It was a quite mystical dance, which almost seemed to belong to the realm of fantasy. Watching the dance you couldn't help but think of fairies and enchantment. They certainly had an excellent use of theme through music, choreography and costumes.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir – Western Ontario
If any team exhibited raw, young talent, it was these two. Both from Ontario and two of the youngest competitors, they came in third. There is no doubt that we will see these two at the Olympics someday. Their movements were perfectly in sync with each other. Dedication and a love for the sport came through clearly in their performance. It was dramatic and defiantly was a crowd pleaser.

Danielle Steeves and Michael Coreno – Western Ontario
This pair from Ontario executed a beautiful performance that was equally dramatic and technical. The music suited the choreography as well which always helps to enhance the performance. Overall it was a good effort, and I certainly see these skaters continuing to develop together.

Ariane Morin and Yannick Long Dupont – Quebec
These two were another of Quebec's many skating pairs. Their music seemed to be a combination of ‘under the sea' and Celtic. It was definitely fluid in execution and style. There was an exciting skip in their step that was refreshing to watch. Grace, charm and constancy were the three elements that these skaters used to build their skate.

Samantha Morris and Christopher Saikali – Eastern Ontario
The best element of their performance for me was the opening lift. The overall theme was a shout out to the swing era in music and costume. Again their flow was constant and there were no major flaws in the skate. Another interesting part was the dramatic dips that they performed.

Shannon Morrison and Adam Morrison – Western Ontario
This team caught my attention right away because this brother-sister team was born in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Overall I felt that they were taking a walk through a secret garden and there was a strong sense of whimsy. Their lifts and spins were strong. Another nice part was that they used all the ice space and made great sweeps across the ice.

Amy Pennoyer and Dean Jeffery – Alberta
This team was from Alberta and they caught the audience right away with their strong connection on the ice. There was chemistry and it was obvious that they worked well together. During this skate there was one of the best uses of climax in music. It began as graceful and then turned more upbeat and almost Celtic. Truly a good show by these two.

Amy Saucke-Lacelle and Marc-André Isabelle – Quebec
This team was also from Quebec, which showed that they have a strong skating program from that province. I felt this was one of the more jazzy skates of the evening. It was a clean program with good expression by both. Another great part was that they used the perfect arm gestures in all the right places to highlight and add interest to the performance.

Katie Zegers and Matthew Smith – Central Ontario
This skate made use of music from "The Mask of Zorro" which helped build the western tone. This combined with the flare of drama helped to accent the skate. Their expressions came through in their skate and that was great to see. The choreography was stamped out perfectly as well since the movements mimicked the music.

Lianna Joseph and Curtis Bagan – British Columbia
If any team exhibited poise in such a way it was these two. They were dramatic and seemed to give an air of experience in their skate. There were big arm sweeps as they glided across the ice, it was dramatic and powerful. You could feel the connection and drama in the skate, which was breathtaking. The music was almost an anthology of tones that complemented the program nicely. Overall it was a moving skate.

Laura Keating and John Simpson – Alberta
This skate by the Albertans was upbeat and warm. The grace executed made it a clean program. The balance of originality and flow helped make the transitions in the program. Despite a fall I think it was otherwise a clean skate. It was musically wonderful and the skate complemented that.

Stephanie Arsenijevic and René Michel Savard – Quebec
This was another of the more jazzy programs in the event. Their tricks were cute and definitely entertaining. It was lighthearted in spirit and they worked well together. The only flaw was that their speed was a little inconsistent at times but that wasn't major at all. I especially liked their ending and the crowd did too.

Colleen Drybrough and Adam Drybrough – Alberta
As the first pair of the night they made a nice entry. The overall theme seemed to be a call back to the 1930's, which was interesting. There were a few mistakes but they more than made up for it with their expression and lifts. There was definitely a great sense of teamwork between the two Albertan skaters.

Marie-Joelle Fournier and Christopher Lee – Quebec
This pair were definitely natural born entertainers. As soon as they stepped on the ice you could feel the excitement in the crowd. They had all sorts of great elements; they were perky and upbeat with a definite pep in their step. There seemed to be a real Latin accent whether intended or not. I think they would make excellent salsa dancers as well.

Jennyfer Montbleau and Kevin Bisson – Quebec
This was another of the Quebec skating pairs. As they skated it felt like poetry on ice. There was something grand and experienced about their program that was interesting to see unfold. They broke things up a bit with an interesting form. They made beautiful shapes in their dance, as if it was an art form. Like many of the other pairs their music helped to enhance their choreography.