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2017 Worlds Predictions: Ice Dance

It’s almost time for the 2017 World Figure Skating Championships, and I’m going to make some guesses on how the standings will shake out.

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Image Source: helsinki2017.com

I’ve been shying away from doing predictions posts this year, because there are plenty of them out there, and because I sometimes find that my personal biases battle against my analytical knowledge. Which actually makes this a great time to bring back a post format I did prior to the 2016 U.S. Figure Skating Championships: sentimental vs. rational results predictions.

I have so much respect for all the skaters, both in terms of their talent and the rigorous training they put in. But that said, I also have my favorites, and these sentimental picks reflect that. Whereas the rational picks, on the other hand, are based more on how this season has gone so far.

Let’s say, sentimental picks by superfan Maura, rational picks by wannabe journalist Maura. I’ll start with the ice dance event:

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Image Source: justjaredjr.com

Sentimental:
Gold – Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani, USA
Silver – Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir, Canada
Bronze – Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron, France

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Image Source: lfpress.com

Rational:
Gold – Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir, Canada
Silver – Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani, USA
Bronze – Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron, France

Virtue and Moir have been on a roll in their comeback season, not losing a single event. It’s almost been too easy. I think all reason and logic points to them on the top step of the podium, based on the point margins they have been winning with all season (5 points ahead of the Shibutanis at Four Continents, 11 ahead of Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates at the same event, 5 points ahead of the French at the Grand Prix Final).

It has been several months since all of those competitions, offering plenty of time for the other teams to improve, and we all know ice is slippery and anything can happen on a given day. I think a little adversity will make Virtue and Moir hungrier and even more motivated, hence my sentimental pick of the Shib Sibs in first.

I just LOVE their short dance (To me, it is the most cohesive, in terms of theme and hip hop movement, of all the teams). On the rational side, I think that will land them in second overall, because their programs are stronger than the French team’s this season. Papadakis and Cizeron are fighters, who stormed back from third place in the short dance to win Europeans, so I think they will still land on the podium this year.

Bonus non-podium prediction that has both some sentimentality and logic in it: American Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue jump to fourth place. They have made such great strides in the past two years, and their free dance is so beautiful. That moment in the dance spin when the grasp hands? I legitimately said “AWWW” aloud when I saw it live at Skate America this fall.

I’ll be back with ladies, men, and pairs predictions before the competition gets going on Wednesday!


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Best Costumes of the Season So Far: Ice Dance

I took a look at the best ladies’ costumes first, but now it’s on to ice dance. This discipline naturally lends itself to more theatrical outfits, with thematic short dances informed by the required rhythm of a given year, and free dances that usually tell a story, whether it’s borrowed from a movie or musical, or it’s one that the couple created to go with their music.

I find that there are lots of fashion extremes in ice dance: the skaters either look fabulous or crazy. So here are a few who I think have looked fabulous this season:

Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron – free dance

The French team, now two-time World Champions, haven’t beaten the Canadian Olympic Champions on the comeback trail, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, in two head-to-head meetings this season. But I say they are winning the fashion contest, especially with these beautiful blue creations:

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Image Source: icenetwork.com

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Image Source: dailyherald.com

I had to include this second shot, so you can appreciate the beautiful ombre fade in her skirt. I love that both her dress and his top have nontraditional cuts in the bodice—his especially so, with the sleeveless! He is one of a few men taking advantage of a rule change that allows for sleeveless shirts this year, and I think it works well here. The theme of their program is a bit abstract this year, I think something about working through challenges, so it’s fitting that the costumes have this artsy, ombre vibe. Coolest part of these costumes? Cizeron designs them, according to their interview on the Ice Talk podcast.

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje – short dance

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Image Source: insideskating.net

I love how unexpected, original, and fashion-y (that’s a technical term, right?) this look is on Weaver: menswear-inspired shorts, complete with a faux-necklace made of sequins. This works because of the impeccable fit—nothing is ever out of place, at any point in the program. She looks like she is about to hit a red carpet for a music awards show, and the leather accents on Poje’s pants and vest are an excellent complement to her look.

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier – free dance

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Image Source: Getty Images

Piper’s dress is my favorite here. I love that she went with blue for a tango (we usually see red or black), and this particular icy blue is gorgeous. As is the detail on the dress, with the sequined bodice and the gathered, lace skirt. The flower in her hair is a teeeeny bit big, but it keeps the tango character. Paul’s look is only ok here (though I appreciate the commitment with the mustache!)—if the accents in his tie matched the color of her dress, I think I’d be sold.

When watching dance or pairs, I tend to gravitate towards what the girl is wearing first, maybe because I wear/have worn skating dresses myself. I also think the guys usually have simpler looks overall, so your eye can be drawn to the ladies’ beautiful outfits. I tried not to only pay attention to the girls here, and give the guys their due as well. Who is wearing your favorite ice dance costumes this season?