Sapporo, Japan

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Four-time World Champions Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) danced to a confident lead in the Rhythm Dance at NHK Trophy in Sapporo (JPN) Friday, setting a new highest score en route. Russia’s Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin are currently ranked second followed by Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri of Italy.

Papadakis Cizeron Sapporo Rhythm Dance

Papadakis and Cizeron have reinvented their Fame Pattern Dance to become the first Ice Dance couple to break 90 points © International Skating Union

Papadakis/Cizeron’s upbeat interpretation of 'Fame' in bold pink and mint candy colored outfits featured intricate footwork and a stationary lift. The Olympic silver medalists earned a level four for the Finnstep Pattern Dance, the Pattern Dance type step sequence, the twizzles and the lift while the midline step sequence merited a level three. The French Champions posted a new personal best of 90.03 points, becoming the first Ice Dance couple to break 90 points.

“Every year the Pattern Dance is quite challenging. Last year the Tango was really, really hard, and it was long, too. This year the Finnstep is much shorter, but it's hard, too. Actually this year it's the first time that we're doing a Pattern Dance that we have done in the past, we did it I think five or six years ago in our first senior year. So it's fun to reinvent it and see how to make it different and better,” Papadakis said.

“It was a challenge for us to work on that Rhythm Dance, because it is completely out of of our comfort zone and it's really different from what we've been doing before,” Cizeron added.

Dancing to 'Sparkling Diamonds' and 'Your Song' from 'Moulin Rouge', Stepanova/Bukin produced a level-four Finnstep Pattern, curve lift and level-four twizzles to pick up 84.07 points, which is a personal best score.

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Stepanova and Bukin posted a personal best with their Rhythm Dance © International Skating Union

“Overall the performance was good, we're very happy that we showed a better version of our RD than at our first Grand Prix,” Stepanova told the post-event press conference.

“We lost some time at the beginning of the season and our first Grand Prix was a bit tense and we were able to work more globally on the Rhythm Dance in between the first and the second Grand Prix. It is a quite tough dance with many small steps and you have to hold each edge and there is still something left to work on,” she continued.

Guignard/Fabbri delivered a lively and brand-new dance to 'Grease', completing a level-four stationary lift, Finnstep Pattern and twizzles. The 2019 European bronze medalists achieved a new personal best with 82.13 points as well. The ISU Grand Prix Final bronze medalists had dumped their previous Rhythm Dance to music from 'Cirque du Soleil' and came with a new one to Japan.

“We're satisfied with our performance today considering that it was a new Rhythm Dance for us. We decided to change it after the first Grand Prix. So we didn't have a lot of time to do run-throughs. We skated quite clean program. Many things have to be improved, of course,” Fabbri shared.

Charlene Guignard Marco Fabbri ITA GPFS JPN 2019 International Skating Union ISU 1189271120

Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri (ITA) delivered a brand-new Rhythm Dance to 'Grease' at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating - NHK Trophy 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)

Skate Canada bronze medalists Lilah Fear/Lewis Gibson (GBR) came fourth on 76.09 points. Christina Carreira/ Anthony Ponomarenko (RUS) are currently sitting in fifth place (75.25 points) and Shiyue Wang/Xinyu Liu (CHN) placed sixth (74.73 points).

ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Standings Ice Dance.

Overall, 58 skaters/couples representing 11 ISU members compete at NHK Trophy November 22-24. The top six qualifiers of the Grand Prix series in each discipline will proceed to the Final in Turin (ITA), December 5 to 8, 2019. Full entry lists, results, the General Announcement of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series are available on

Where to watch and follow the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2019?

Viewers will be able to watch the Series either via their national broadcaster / channel and for countries where there are no broadcasters, the ISU will offer a live stream on the Skating ISU YouTube Channel as of season 2019/20. You will find the full list in the Where to watch news here.

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ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2019/20

Skate America - Las Vegas (USA) – October 18 – 20

Skate Canada International – Kelowna (CAN) – October 25 – 27

Internationaux de France – Grenoble (FRA) – Novembre 1 – 3

SHISEIDO cup of China – Chongqing (CHN) – November 8 – 10

Rostelecom Cup – Moscow (RUS) – November 15 – 17

NHK Trophy – Sapporo (JPN) – November 22 – 24

ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final (Senior & Junior) – Torino (ITA) – December 5 – 8