Ice Network

Weaver, Poje open comfortable lead at NHK Trophy

Coomes, Buckland in second place; Hawayek, Baker in contention
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Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje seem all but assured of their second gold medal in this season's Grand Prix Series. The Canadian world silver medalists skated a fiery rendition of their "La virgen de la Macarena" short dance, and with a score of 67.51, they will take a seven-point lead into the free dance. -Getty Images

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Canada danced to a comfortable lead in the short dance at the 2014 NHK Trophy. Great Britain's Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland are in second, followed closely by Russians Ksenia Monko and Kirill Khaliavin.

Weaver and Poje's Paso Doble to "La Virgen de Macarena" featured Level 4 twizzles and a Level 4 rotational lift. The Paso Doble pattern merited a Level 3 while the side-by-side footwork was a Level 2. The world silver medalists earned 67.51 points.

"It is true the paso doble is a more classical dance. Our approach was just to juvenilize the classical nature of the dance, but try to bring the authenticity to it and try to bring a little bit of new flair to it ensuring that the audience finds it exciting and finds the passion within the dance", Poje explained.

Dancing to paso doble and flamenco from "El poeta en el mar," Coomes and Buckland picked up a Level 4 for the second paso doble part and the twizzles, while the other three elements garnered a Level 2. The European bronze medalists scored 60.49 points.

"Nick and I spent a lot of time working with a flamenco specialist," Coomes said. "The dance is something we didn't expect. It wasn't what we thought it is going to be. This style is something very different for us. We really enjoy finding that passion, finding that fire and projecting it to the crowd.

Monko and Khaliavin put out a solid short dance to flamenco and paso doble that included two Level 4 and three Level 3 elements. The 2011 world junior champions collected a season's best short with 59.70 points.

"We are glad to skate here, and tomorrow we want to show our free dance as good as we can skate," Khaliavin said. "We did a lot of work after Skate Canada on our steps and some elements, so we want to show good skating and a good performance tomorrow."

World junior champions Kaitlyn Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker of Team USA are in fourth with 58.50 points and Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia are currently ranked fifth with 54.94 points.