Archive | March, 2013

Dancing with the Stars – Week Two Recap

25 Mar

By Mimi Whetstone

The dances are done, the scores have been given and Dorothy Hamill and Tristan MacManus’ fate lies in the hands of their fans after the second night of competition on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. After a week of training plagued by a cyst in her lumbar spine, Hamill’s Jive fell short of her dancing debut, earning 15 out of a possible 30 points.

“Tristan has been the best, so patient through everything,” Hamill said after their performance. “Everyone has been so supportive. I just feel bad that I didn’t live up to his (MacManus’) standards.”

Dressed in black lace, Hamill took the floor to the Big Bopper’s “Chantilly Lace,” and while her overall quality of movement was praised, judge Carrie Anne Inaba said the performance was “rough.”

In the weeks leading up to this evening’s performance, Hamill was admittedly nervous about taking on the Jive, claiming that her feet “don’t move that quickly.” After the injury forced her to sit out most of the week’s practice time, judge Bruno Tonioli described the performance as “a brave attempt” that simply “lost the footing.”

Topping the judges’ leaderboard for the night are country star Kellie Pickler and Disney Channel star Zendaya, who earned 26 points, followed by gymnast Aly Raisman with 24 points, Baltimore Raven Jacoby Jones with 23 points, reality star Sean Lowe, comedian Andy Dick and actor Ingo Rademacher with 20 points, boxer Victor Ortiz, singer Wynonna Judd and reality star Lisa Vanderpump with 18 points and comedian D.L. Hughley with 16 points.

Added to the 21 points they earned for their contemporary routine last week, Hamill and MacManus head into the show’s first elimination with 36 points, however; the judges’ scores only count for half of each contestant’s total score.

To keep Hamill and MacManus in the competition, call 1-800-868-3409, text “VOTE” to 3409 (AT&T customers only) or vote online at ABC.com andfacebook.com/dancingwiththestars. Viewers can vote up to 12 times on each method and voting is open during each performance. Phone lines and text voting will stay open until 60 minutes after the end of the show in your local time zone. Facebook and online voting at ABC.com will remain open until 11 a.m. ET the following day.

The judges’ leaderboard after both dances:

  1. Zendaya and Val Chmerkovskiy – 50 points
  2. Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough – 47 points
  3. Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas – 45 points
  4. Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff – 43 points
  5. Ingo Rademacher and Kym Johnson – 40 points
  6. Sean Lowe and Peta Murgatroyd – 39 points
  7. Andy Dick and Sharna Burgess – 37 points
  8. Dorothy Hamill and Tristan MacManus – 36 points
  9. Wynonna Judd and Tony Dovolani – 36 points
  10. Lisa Vanderpump and Gleb Savchenko – 36 points
  11. D.L. Hughley and Cheryl Burke – 28 points
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2013 Hilton HHonors Skate America Fact Sheet

25 Mar

2013 Skate America fact sheet.indd

Dancing with the Stars – Week Two Preview

25 Mar

Hamill’s up for the challenge as elimination rounds begin

By Mimi Whetstone

Last week, the judges and TV audience were introduced to a new cast of celebrities as the 16th season of Dancing with the Stars premiered on ABC. Now the stage has been set for an exciting night of competition as Olympic gold medalist Dorothy Hamill and partner Tristan MacManus take the dance floor tonight for their second performance with the hopes of gaining enough judges’ points and viewer votes to escape the show’s first elimination round.

Heading into tonight’s competition (8 p.m. ET on ABC), Hamill and MacManus are part of a three-way tie for second place on the judges’ leaderboard after earning 21 points for their contemporary dance debut.

“It feels good to have the first one over and done so I kind of know what to expect,” Hamill said Friday. “It went OK. It wasn’t perfect, but it was one of the better run-throughs I had done in a while.”

While her graceful and elegant performance received positive comments from the judges last week, tonight’s jive won’t come as easily for Hamill after back pain temporarily sidelined her training.

“It’s something new that’s sort of crept up,” Hamill said. “Hopefully the doctor can get me all taken care of or at least help. It’s very disappointing and not helpful. The good news is that Tristan and I had started our routine already. It wasn’t entirely finished, there were still a couple of little holes, but it was done for the most part.

“I haven’t really been able to be on my feet practicing, so I’ve been watching the choreography and listening to the music over and over again. I’m hoping that after I see the doctor, I’ll be able to get out there and actually do it. I’m saying my prayers and crossing my fingers!”

Hamill is no stranger to tough training, but an injury that interferes with her practice time is new territory in her career.

“I’ve had a few injuries here and there, but nothing that’s been chronic or that’s kept me from competing,” Hamill said. “I’ve been very lucky. I’ve had arthritis in my neck and a pinched nerve in my shoulder that took a long time to heal, but it was after I was off the [Stars on Ice] tour, so I could deal with it. I’m aware of the process of healing nerves, but this is deep in my hip and the pain goes all the way down into my foot, which isn’t the best thing, especially when the judges are looking at your feet.”

“The interesting thing is that the Jive is probably easier than contemporary was on me because of all the lifts and the backbends. I think that’s probably what irritated the nerve. Now the hard part is getting everything to calm down. It’s hard to do that without just taking the time to rest everything. My goal now is to use the muscles without irritating the nerves.”

On the Jive

Similar in pattern and style to the East Coast Swing, the Jive originated in the U.S. and is highlighted by quickness, sharp, bouncy movements and intricate dance holds. Integrated into European dancing in the 1940s, the Jive features aspects of Boogie Woogie, Lindy Hop and Jitterbug.

“Our Jive is to a ’50s song that I’m sure most people will recognize and want to dance to,” Hamill said. “The quickness, the tempo and just having fun with it make it so enjoyable, and if I can remember the steps, that would be great, too! You really can’t pretend that you know the Jive if you don’t because it’s so quick. You don’t miss one step, you miss four or five.”

An upbeat and challenging dance to perform, Hamill has done her research for tonight’s performance.

“It’s very scary because my feet just don’t move that fast,” Hamill said. “I’ve been watching some of the Jives that Derek and Julianne Hough have done in exhibitions on the show and they make it look so easy and like so much fun. It’s wonderful and inspiring to see.”

On working with Tristan

As Dancing with the Stars moves through its 16th season, the professional dancers are becoming as familiar as the celebrity partners they teach. Competing in his fourth season, MacManus’ popularity has quickly grown, thanks in part to his Irish brogue, endearing charm and raves from his celebrity partners.

“He’s adorable, just as cute as can be,” Hamill said. “He’s very patient. We have to do some things over and over, and, when I mess them up, I’ll just freeze and start over. He’s just such a patient soul because I get so frustrated with myself and I feel so stupid for not being able to do it, but he’s never once shown any kind of frustration toward me. I’m certainly testing him on that, though!

“He’s so smart and so funny. I’m having such a nice time working with him. I couldn’t think of a nicer personality to have been matched with. He’s one of the newer pros and they keep changing the show on him, but it’s been great. All of the pros are so nice and so helpful.”

What’s up next?

“Our next dance is called ‘Prom Night,’” Hamill said. “Right now we don’t know what that is. We don’t even have the song yet. My prom was in the mid-’70s, so I don’t know if that will play into our dance or not. It might be a theme. I remember more people swaying side to side than actually dancing at the prom, so maybe I’ll be able to master it.”

Following tonight’s competition, the viewer votes will be added to the judges’ scores and the contestant with the lowest combined score will be eliminated from the competition during Tuesday night’s Dancing with the Stars Results Show.

How to vote

During live shows, judges and fans will determine who advances. Judges will score each couple based on several factors, including technical execution.  Fans then vote as well, using one of these four methods:

Voting is open during each performance. Phone lines and text voting will stay open until 60 minutes after the end of the show in your local time zone. Facebook and online voting at ABC.com will remain open until 11 a.m. ET the following day.

In the Dancing with the Stars Results Show, the couple with the lowest combined score from judges and viewer votes will be eliminated. The scoring is divided evenly between the judges and viewer votes.

 Courtesy of ABC.com/shows/dancing-with-the-stars/about-voting

Dancing with the Stars – Week One Recap

18 Mar

By Mimi Whetstone

After the first round of competition, Dorothy Hamill finds herself in a three-way tie for second place after an exciting night of cha-chas, foxtrots and contemporary dances on the season premiere of Dancing with the Stars.

Hamill, who performed a contemporary dance to Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer,” captivated the audience with her signature smile, grace and the poised personality of a true champion.

“It’s a dream come true,” an emotional Hamill said after her performance. “I just want to do the best that I can.”

Setting the scene from the very beginning, Hamill wore a flowing, icy blue dress while she and partner Tristan MacManus took the stage under flurries of snow. Hamill showcased her signature style, a beautiful combination of joy and sophistication, as her performance unfolded with movements polished from extended finger tips to pointed toes.

“It’s a moment that will be known as an era of outstanding beauty,” judge Len Goodman said of the performance.

Echoing Goodman’s sentiments were fellow judges Carrie Ann Inaba, who described Hamill’s performance as “truly connected and heartfelt,” and Bruno Tonioli, who proclaimed that “the ice queen has melted my heart.”

Heading into next week’s competition, Hamill and MacManus have 21 points, tied with country music star Kellie Pickler and Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman on the judges’ leaderboard. At the top of the standings is the show’s youngest-ever competitor, 16-year-old Zendaya, star of the Disney Channel’s hit show “Shake It Up,” with 24 points.

Tied for fourth place are Baltimore Raven Jacoby Jones and actor Ingo Redemacher with 20 points, followed by “Bachelor” star Sean Lowe with 19 points, country singer Wynonna Judd and “Real Housewife” Lisa Vanderpump with 18 points and actor/comedian Andy Dick with 17 points. At the bottom of the leaderboard is actor/comedian/political commentator D.L. Hughley, who earned 12 points.

Next week, Hamill will take on the jive for more viewer votes and judges scores. Following the second round of competition, the judges’ scores and the number of votes will be divided evenly and the star with the lowest combined total will be eliminated from the competition on the Dancing with the Stars Results Show, Tuesday, March 26.

To vote for Team Hamill, call 1-800-868-3409, text “VOTE” to 3409 (AT&T customers only) or vote online at ABC.com and facebook.com/dancingwiththestars. Viewers can vote up to 12 times on each method and voting is open during each performance. Phone lines and text voting will stay open until 60 minutes after the end of the show in your local time zone. Facebook and online voting at ABC.com will remain open until 11 a.m. ET the following day.

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Dancing with the Stars – Week One Preview

18 Mar

Editor’s note: Dorothy Hamill will share her experiences on the SKATING magazine blog each week before the show. Come back for detailed recaps, the current leaderboard and all the latest Dancing with the Stars news.

By Mimi Whetstone

Dorothy Hamill’s name evokes a myriad of memories: Olympic champion. The Hamill camel. Enduring style trends, such as her wedge hairstyle and oversized glasses.

Dubbed “America’s Sweetheart” after winning the gold medal in 1976, Hamill still has a legion of fans — and she wants every one of them to be active voters tonight (March 18) as she makes her debut on Dancing with the Stars, which kicks off Season 16 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

“For a long time I’ve been a fan of the show and went to see Evan (Lysacek) dance,” Hamill said. “I always thought it would be fun to do but never thought I’d be invited. This time around, my agent called with the opportunity. It was very last minute, but I was thrilled.”

Hamill’s decision to compete wasn’t an easy one.

“I was still skating with Stars on Ice at the time, so it was kind of a tough decision because I had made that commitment,” Hamill said of the tour that just ended March 10. “I thought I would just kick myself if I didn’t have a chance to do it, so I said OK. Now it’s better because I’m not trying to do both anymore. I have a little more time to focus on what I’m learning. So far it’s been fun. The cast is such a nice group of people.”

Joining Hamill in the competition are Olympic gymnastics champion Aly Raisman, Super Bowl champion Jacoby Jones of the Baltimore Ravens and boxer Victor Ortiz. Also competing are actors Andy Dick and Ingo Rademacher, Disney star Zendaya Coleman, comedian D.L. Hughley, singers Wynonna Judd and Kellie Pickler and reality stars Sean Lowe and Lisa Vanderpump.

In the first 15 seasons, seven athletes have won the show’s coveted Mirror Ball Trophy.

Hamill will be the third figure skater to compete: 1992 Olympic champion Kristi Yamaguchi won Season 6 and 2010 Olympic champion Lysacek finished second in Season 10.

Based on that success rate, viewers might wonder if grace on the ice easily transfers to grace on the floor. Some viewers could even argue that an athlete with artistry may have an unfair advantage. Hamill disagrees.

“I don’t think it’s an advantage at all,” Hamill said. “Kristi can do anything. I think she’s most certainly had a lot more experience with quick, intricate choreography than I ever learned. In my era, we held long positions to slow music and didn’t really showcase a lot of steps.

“Evan did unbelievably well, too, but I think they both just worked hard and are athletic, talented and musical. I don’t think it’s only because they’re skaters; they’re just extraordinarily talented people.”

Partnered with popular ballroom champion Tristan MacManus, Hamill has been training up to four hours a day to prepare for tonight’s live competition.

“For a while, we knew what our dance was going to be but we didn’t know the music,” Hamill said. “It was so hard because we knew we were supposed to be training. It’s like in skating if you know you have to compete, but you don’t know how to skate and you don’t have your music. Especially preparing for this first show, between wrapping up Stars on Ice and all of the Dancing press, it’s been physically taxing.”

Hamill said she feels prepared for her first dance, a contemporary piece.

“It’s new to the show this year and I think it’s a new thing for both of us as well,” Hamill said. “I don’t think Tristan really has a contemporary dance background and I’m not really sure what some of the differences are to make something contemporary. The technique is very precise in ballroom, but this style has fewer restrictions. I guess it’s better for me for the very first week, so I can ease myself into dancing. … I’m just going to do the best job that I can with what they give us to work with and the rest is out of my hands.”

Dancing vs. skating

Oddly, this is familiar ground for Hamill, who as a champion figure skater performed her best only to have her fate decided by judges. But, she says, skating and dancing are two very different sports.

“It’s been really difficult unlearning what I know and how I move on the ice,” she said. “That movement doesn’t really translate to the floor. It’s been frustrating because Tristan keeps telling me to relax and just shift my weight from side to side and I keep trying to push side to side like I’m skating. He says ‘You’re down in your knees too much’ and I say ‘No, I’m not!’”

In skating, deep knee bend means more powerful pushes, which translate to faster movement across the ice. On the floor, however, deeper knee bends only move you closer to the floor, giving the dance a feeling of heaviness, as opposed to using the knees to dance the steps forward.

“The thing about skating is you always have to be in your knees,” Hamill said. “When you’re dancing, it’s not that you don’t have a flexed knee, but you don’t have to push forward or push off of anything. The turning is also very different. It’s been very fascinating to learn. I’m not sure I have it just yet, but I’m working on it.”

To relieve some of the pressure, none of the couples will be voted off after the first dance. Each performance will be scored by the judges, which will contribute to their overall score heading into the first elimination round after next week’s second dance.

“Unfortunately,” Hamill laughed, “our second dance is the jive. It’s terrifying. I remember watching Kristi’s jive with Mark Ballas and thinking ‘Oh, my gosh, that’s unbelievable. I could never do that.’ Now here we are, Week 2, and I guess I’ll have to see if I can!”

Supporting Hamill from the audience tonight will be her husband, John MacColl. Hamill’s daughter Alexandra Forsythe, 24, plans to cheer on her famous mom live in Week 2.

And like a true competitor, Hamill wants to do well. Her one plea?

“Help! Please vote for us!” she said with a laugh. “If you don’t want to vote for me, vote for Tristan! He’s so cute. Don’t put him out of a job!”

How to vote

During live shows, judges and fans will determine who advances. Judges will score each couple based on several factors, including technical execution.  Fans then vote as well, using one of these four methods:

Voting is open during each performance. Phone lines and text voting will stay open until 60 minutes after the end of the show in your local time zone. Facebook and online voting at ABC.com will remain open until 11 a.m. ET the following day.

In the Dancing with the Stars Results Show, the couple with the lowest combined score from judges and viewer votes will be eliminated. The scoring is divided evenly between the judges and view votes.

Courtesy of ABC.com/shows/dancing-with-the-stars/about-voting

dorothy

That’s a Wrap from 2013 World Championships!

16 Mar

Useful Links

Twitter  #FSWorlds13| icenetwork.com Photos

icenetwork.com Event Page   |  Schedule   |   Results

Competition Notes

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Congratulations to Meryl Davis and Charlie White on their second World ice dancing title! The free dance was full of great skating, and the pressure was certainly on the five-time reigning U.S. champs as Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who hail from the host city of London, Ontario, put out their best free dance of the season to the bliss of a packed house at Budweiser Gardens. Davis and White would skate a beautiful Notre Dame de Paris free dance to easily win World gold by over four points. They totaled 189.56 points for the week. Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev won their first World medal and took home bronze.

Of all the accomplishments in their 15-year career, White said this one is near the top for them.

“This has to be close to the top,” he said. “Obviously, the first time we won worlds (2011), being the first ever American world championship, that has a special place. We’ve talked about this a lot, but our growth this season and how far we’ve come to win this gold medal, that’s what makes this one really special.”

The rest of Team USA was also extremely happy with how their weeks played out. Madison Chock and Evan Bates, competing at their first Worlds together (they each previously came to this event with former partners), set personal best scores throughout the week and accomplished all of their goals for the season. Their grand total of 163.93 points was good enough for seventh place.

Of their goals, Bates said, “We wanted to be here first of all. We made worlds. We said we wanted to have personal and season’s bests at worlds, we did that. Whatever place we finished is fine. We did what we came here to do.”

Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani also enjoyed a strong free dance and maintained eighth place with a total score of 157.71 points. The three-time World competitors feel they are in great position going into the Olympic season.

“The plan going forward, our goal is to make the Olympic Team,” Alex said. “The Olympics is a dream for every skater and for us especially. We’re excited about the coming year, it should bring a lot of fun experiences and opportunities. We’re going to attack our programs, find music we love and enjoy, then work our butts off.”

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! A lot has been made in the media and among U.S. ladies competitors about the inability to send three competitors to the Olympics or World Championships since the 2008 season. Ashley Wagner was a member of the 2008 World Team that was unable to maintain three spots for the following Worlds (two skaters have to record a combined finish of 13 or less to secure three spots at the ensuing Worlds/Olympics in pre-Olympic years, like this one is).

She came here with a chip on her shoulder and with the mission of helping the U.S. earn a third spot for the 2014 Olympic Games and World Championships.Wagner was directly affected going into the 2010 Olympic Games as she finished third at the 2010 U.S. Championships, the final qualifier for the Olympics. Mirai Nagasu and Rachael Flatt made up Team USA’s 2010 Olympic ladies delegation.

Today, Wagner finished fifth and Gold sixth for a combined total of 11. Their performance ensures that Team USA will send three ladies to Sochi, Russia, next February

Following a strong free skate, for which she earned 123.36 points, Wagner was very clear about her goals at this Worlds.

“I always said my main goal coming into this worlds was getting the three spots back. That was my goal,” she said. “Getting on top of the podium or on the podium would be icing on the cake. For us, what we accomplished, with this strong international field, is more than standing on top of that podium. It’s something we haven’t been able to do for, what, five seasons now? That goes to show how difficult it is to get those 13 points. The fact that Gracie did it with me her first time out, it’s huge.”

Wagner, who won her second straight U.S. title in January, totaled 187.34 points for the event.

Gold enjoyed a great overall experience in her World Championships debut. She had two slight bobbles in her “Life is Beautiful” free skate, but otherwise turned in a beautiful and strong performance for her best showing of the season. Her free skate total of 125.40 bettered her season’s best score by over 10 points and she totaled 184.25 points for the week. As she continues to work on trusting herself and her confidence, Gold feels her performances in London helped her on that road.

“I had a really good practice this morning and my warm up was really good,” she said. “I’m trying to learn to trust myself. On the warm up, I felt I did that. I was pretty confident going into the skate; more confident than I was at Four Continents or some of my other programs this year. I was nervous, of course, but I knew I had to keep my nerves in check, and I did.”

Reigning Olympic champion Yu-na Kim, in her first major championship event since finishing second at the 2011 World Championships, took home her second World title (2009) with a grand total of 218.31 points. Her score was over 20 points higher than that of silver medalist and 2012 World champ Carolina Kostner of Italy. Japan’s Mao Asada rebounded from a sixth-place showing after the short program to win the bronze medal with 196.47 points.

Russia’s Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov won their first pairs title by a landslide on Friday, beating 2012 champs and eventual silver medalists Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy by 20 points. The Russians earned 225.71 points and they set world records for both free skate (149.87) and total scores. Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won bronze.

Both American pairs teams put out solid free skates to have an enjoyable conclusion to their first Worlds experience.

Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim easily set new season’s best scores and achieved all of their levels as they recorded 117.78 points for the “Life is Beautiful” skate. The total score of 173.51 points put them in ninth.

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir  were also “thrilled” with their outing. Despite not matching their best score of the season, the duo were satisfied with the energetic and clean skate. Their free skate earned 108.32 points en route to 164.00 total. They finished 13th.

Once again, Canada’s Patrick Chan reigned supreme, winning his third straight World title with 267.68 total points. His flawless short program propelled him to a slim victory over unlikely hero and silver medalist Denis Ten of Kazakhstan. Ten bested his previous free skating personal best by 20 points to win the free skate with 174.92 points. His grand total equaled 266.48 points. Bronze went home with Spain’s Javier Fernandez. He had not finished above ninth in six previous Worlds.

Max Aaron once again brought the crowd to its feet after his West Side Story free skate. Aaron started strong with a quad Salchow-double Salchow combination. He made a few little mistakes, but was happy overall with his top 10 showing in his first Worlds. Aaron netted 238.36 points overall, including 160.16 for the free skate, to place seventh overall. Ross Miner finished 14th with 211.90 points. His free skate totaled 141.66.

2013 World Figure Skating Championships Photos – Day 3

16 Mar

Photos from the men’s and pairs free skates courtesy of Peter Zapalo.

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