In a great showcase of choreographic creativity, two-time British ice dance bronze medalist Mark Hanretty won the third season of the Young Artists Showcase after the Finals were contested in Lake Placid, New York. Hanretty won the event over Garrett Kling, who also qualified to the Finals after five creative challenges that saw the contestants take on a variety of tasks ranging from concept to inspiration.
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The third season of the Young Artists Showcase began at the beginning of May, with each of the eight choreographers battling for two spots in the Finals. The competition was the creation of Audrey Weisiger, former coach of U.S. champions Michael Weiss and Timothy Goebel.
“That was a powerful thing,” Weisiger said about the Finals. Hanretty and Kling took on two challenges in a live show that was streamed online. They choreographed one program for the Choreographer’s Choice challenge, which they skated themselves. And for the second challenge, they created one program for a trio to the same music, Seal’s If I Could.
Choreographing the trio was challenging enough, but Hanretty and Garrett only had two days to work with the guest skaters on the program. Former U.S. champion Ryan Bradley and U.S. bronze medalists Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue were on hand to convey the choreographers’ visions. And even during the final rehearsals prior to the live show, there were doubts that the programs would come together.
After the competition, Weisiger and former U.S. junior champion Doug Mattis marveled at the two programs. “Both choreographers had major problems [during the rehearsals],” Mattis said. “There was a period of time when we didn’t know if [the programs] would happen.”
But Bradley, Hubbell, and Donohue rose to the occasion and brought the choreographers’ visions for the program to life superbly. Both programs dazzled with their innovation and construction, with great musicality and moves that most have never seen before. In a twist to the usual format of the competition, neither the judges nor the audience knew who the choreographer of each of the two programs was. And in the end, it was Hanretty’s trio that was deemed the strongest of the two, receiving the highest score and the only five-star rating for any of the programs in the Finals.
WATCH: Hanretty Trio Challenge – If I Could
WATCH: Kling Trio Challenge – If I Could
But in the Choreographer’s Choice challenge, it was Kling who came out on top over Hanretty with a program that was rich in character and was praised by the judges for its storytelling. But he was unable to catch Hanretty overall and finished as the runner-up by just half a star.
WATCH: Kling Choreographer’s Choice Challenge
WATCH: Hanretty Choreographer’s Choice Challenge
The four programs choreographed by Hanretty and Kling were part the a two-hour Young Artists Showcase Finals show that featured an array of skaters, including Wesley Campbell, who skated a program choreographed by Season 3 third-place finisher and Season 2 runner-up Robert Mauti.
Examiner Figure Skating’s coverage of the Young Artists Showcase will conclude with the Day in the YAS3 Finals recap later this week.
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