Matthews and Zavozin Win 2nd Junior Dance Title

by Sal Zanca, Special to U.S. Figure Skating Online
Morgan Matthews and Max Zavozin
File photo by Michelle Harvath

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(1/9/04) — Some might say it's dangerous using the music of "Bolero" in a free dance, but Morgan Matthews and Maxim Zavozin (SC of New York) took that chance and it paid off as they successfully defended their U.S. junior dance title Friday afternoon.

In 1984 a certain British dance couple made "Bolero" famous. Matthews and Zavozin weren't even born yet, therefore, they said they didn't know too much about it and weren't worried about being compared to previous versions.

"At first that is the first thing you think," said Matthews about Torvill and Dean's version. "But at the same time we do our own interpretation of it. It is a totally different 'Bolero.'"

Zavozin had a revelation that makes it easy not to compare the older version to the newer version.

"Honestly, I haven't even seen their 'Bolero,'" Zavozin said. "We have just brought our own interpretation and style into it."

"I have not seen the famous Bolero (in the 1984 Olympics), only the exhibition," Matthews said.

But times have changed and so have ice dancing elements. Now the ice dancers are required to do certain elements on the ice; previously it was more like free movement on ice wrapped loosely around a piece of music.

But "Bolero" is still a winner.

The couple scored 5.3 to 5.5 in both marks, an average of more than two-tenths over the second-place team.

It's the first time Matthews and Zavozin have competed in the United States since last year's U.S. Championships. They were on the Junior Grand Prix circuit in the fall, finishing third at the Junior Grand Prix Final.

"We planning on doing the junior internationals again next year," Matthews said.

However, Zavozin said the two will move up to the senior ranks nationally, despite continuing to compete on the junior circuit internationally.

"We still have two seasons left that we are age-eligible," Matthews said.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White (Detroit SC) were second. They had highly expressive movements and lifts to a Latin medley that included the tango and cha-cha. They had marks in the 5.0 to 5.3 range.

They have been together seven years - an eternity for dance couples. White thinks it is easy to stay together.

"I don't think there is any active work involved," he said. "We get along and go with the flow. We don't get into arguments; we don't need counseling. It seems to work out really nicely."

"There is nothing special we do that other couples don't," Davis added. "Our personalities match."

They made a big jump from seventh last year to win the silver. It was the second medal for White at this year's U.S. Championships; he won the bronze in novice men. Davis said she doesn't mind that he also skates singles.

"We deal with it together," she said. "We talk about what we are going to do. We have a very understanding relationship."

Trina Pratt and Todd Gilles (Broadmoor SC) were third with a new-age routine to music from a 1960s movie with avant garde moves. The had straight third-place ordinals in the free dance with marks mostly ranging from 4.9 to 5.2. They were surprised to win a medal in their first time in juniors.

"It's amazing," Pratt said.

"We were just looking for a place in the top six," Gilles said.