Pham siblings lead novice dance

Dancers change moods quickly for two contrasting CDs

Danvi Pham and Vu Pham lead after the novice compulsory dances.
Danvi Pham and Vu Pham lead after the novice compulsory dances. (Michelle Harvath )


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By Lynn Rutherford, special to
(01/19/2010) - In this corner, we have stately and elegant; in the opposite corner, there's light and peppy.

Two very different compulsory dances, both dating from the first half of the 20th century, were on display in novice dance in Spokane this morning.

"In the Killian, you have to attack the edge and be almost in a March," Alexei Killiakov, who coaches of leaders Danvi Pham and Vu Pham at the Wheaton Ice Skating Academy in Maryland, said.

"The Starlight Waltz is a completely different character. It's elegant and classical. The dancers here had to switch characters fast."

The diminutive Pham siblings, aged 11 and 12, won the Killian and placed second in the Starlight Waltz. They earned 49.60 points overall.

"The dances felt pretty good," Danvi Pham said. "Maybe we were a little better on the Killian. I enjoy practicing compulsories, but I like doing free dance better."

Speaking of the free dance, the two are planning quite a dramatic show.

"She's a ghost, and I'm a guy on the verge of death," Vu Pham said. "She helps me and tries to rally me to live and in the end we fight and die."

"It's a very old South American ballad, about ghosts," Killiakov added with a laugh.

Joylyn Yang and Jean-Luc Baker were third in the Starlight Waltz and second in the Killian to place second overall with 48.22. "We were a bit conservative with both of them because we wanted to skate clean," Baker said.

The team, who are coached in Seattle by Baker's parents, Sharon Jones Baker and Stephen Baker, are working to improve their power and speed.

"They didn't get as much ice coverage as some of the other teams," Jones Baker, a four-time British ice dance champion, said. Yang and Baker's free dance, choreographed by Jones Baker, is set to music from the Titanic soundtrack.

"It's very emotional and passionate," Yang said.

Alexandra Aldridge and Alexander Eaton, who won the Starlight Waltz and placed sixth in the Killian, are third despite a few slips. They have 47.75 points.

"Our Starlight felt great, very consistent," Aldridge said. "The Killian, not so much today. Trouble started on the second pattern and then it went downward. We'll come back strong in the free dance."

Aldridge and Eaton will perform their free to music from The Man in the Iron Mask.

"It's a story of forbidden love," Eaton said.

Kristina Rexford and Michael Parsons are fourth with 46.34 points. The couple was fourth in the Starlight Waltz and third in the Killian.