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Delobel & Schoenfelder Lead Skate America after Ice Dance Compulsories

Reigning Ice Dancing World Champions Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder of France are in first place with a 38.49 after the Skate America compulsory round at Comcast Arena in Everett, Washington. American Champs Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto are in second place with a 37.63. In third place are the pair from Great Britain, brother and sister team Sinead Kerr and John Kerr, with 34.37.

The top two teams were on a bit of a different level from the other pairs while performing their requisite Viennese Waltzes, but I could tell why Delobel and Schoenfelder were rewarded with slightly higher scores that the American champs. Their steps were more impressive, and I really enjoyed the flirty flavor of the program. Belbin and Agosto avoided error and had a nice program and a great lift (which the French team lacked) but probably deserved to be ranked behind the world champs. Regardless, they were quite happy about their performance.

From the Canadian Press:

"It was the first time we've done a compulsory dance at any event where we weren't shaking the entire time," Belbin said. "We're always nervous that something's going to go wrong in the compulsory. When you expect a fall, it happens. So this time I'm glad to get it out of the way without any falls."

Americans Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates showed very nice form, but are (deservedly, I thought) in fifth place with a 31.81.

I'm not the most adept at judging ice dancing, so I'm not sure how much of a change I saw in Belbin and Agosto, but please feel free to comment and let me know what you thought!

No major errors that I caught in the final group of five that I watched, so that's great also. Stay tuned for the original dance portion tomorrow...