(Photos to come)
Flash of lightning: that was Emmy Bronsard and Aissa Bouaraguia waking up the sparse crowd in their rhythm dance at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships on Jan. 6, upending Carol Lane proteges Nadiia Bashynska and Peter Beaumont, the elegant red head.
There seems to be a bit of a rivalry emerging here. Bronsard and Bouaraguia won that rhythm dance with 65.93 points (their international best is 59.63) with an energetic routine to Cabaret. And it was very clear that they do “energetic” very well. They won this by 2.20 points over Bashynska and Beaumont.
Bashynska and Beaumont had defeated the Montreal team at the Lake Placid International Classic last fall. Sixth at the junior nationals last year, (Bashynska and Beaumont had been 10th), Bronsard and Bouarguia channelled David Bowie in the free dance. Bashynska and Beaumont countered with Andrea Bocelli Andrea.
What a fight. In a tight contest, Bashynska and Beaumont won the free dance by 1.08 points over Bronsard and Bouarguia. The Scarborough team headed them off by 1.12 technical points, while Bronsard and Bouarguia won the component marks by .04 points.
Still, helped by their lead in the rhythm dance, Bronsard and Bouaraguia won the gold medal by 1.12 points.
Bronsard and Bouarguia had set their sets on earning their way to the Youth Olympics, currently underway in Lausanne, Switzerland, but missed out on the test event, the national Challenge event. “We missed,” Bouaraguia said. “We didn’t do well at this competition, so unfortunately, we didn’t go.”
The miss seemed to spur them on. Bronsard and Bouarguia set a plan with coaches Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon and all the rest at the Gadbois centre. “We have been super organized for the last month,” Bouaraguia said. “We worked hard. Really really hard. We are happy the results paid off for this competition. It was our goal to do run-throughs like we do in practice. It happened that we won.”
Both came to this point from the same points: both were singles skaters who skated dance at the same time at the pre-novice level. Bouaraguia thought his path lay in men’s singles and was the only novice man to attempt a triple Axel at a national novice championships a few years ago. Bronsard dealt with injuries as a single skater.
They teamed up in 2016, drifted apart for a year and came back together in 2018.
“He realized that he found himself watching dance while he was competing singles,” Dubreuil said. “He made his way back and said that the only girl he would skate with was Emily.”
“He would say he would not skate with anyone but me,” Bronsard said. “So we kind of had to get back together.”
“We stopped because I thought freestyle [men’s singles] was a better thing for me,” Bouaraguia said. “I took a year and there was the Olympics and everything and I realized how big the opportunity was, with a good partner.”
When they returned, they skipped the novice division altogether and committed themselves to junior.
Right off the bat, together again, Bronsard and Bouaraguia got an assignment for a Junior Grand Prix. Then they had another one. They were disappointed to finish sixth at junior nationals. They thought they could have been higher.
This season, their second back together, their goal was to win medals on the junior circuit. They were fourth at one event, missing out on a medal by a fraction of a point, then got bronze at the Croatia Cup.
“They have a special quality to them,” said Dubrueil, who knows all about special qualities.
They chose Cabaret for their rhythm dance from an array of choices. “It just matched our personalities,” Bronsard said. “We built a whole history and characters and stuff. We listened to the movie. Actually, it’s dramatic. We like it. It’s fun. It’s energetic. It’s a lot of moves.”
“If you watch the movie, it’s a little bit dark,” Bouaraguia said. “We tried to change the vibe and tried to put it in a more energetic way, which was pretty good with the music that we had. We are an energy couple. We are good at being energetic and getting attention.”
Bronsard actually suggested David Bowie music for the free. “He was eccentric and style and everything,” she said. Bouaraguia didn’t even know who David Bowie was. “The first music she [Bronsard] played, I was shocked. I was like: ‘Hmmmm. Yeah.’
“That’s a pretty good choice. I feel comfortable skating to this. So we make it work.”
Dubrueil thought them too young to do a Bowie free dance. “And then I put the music on and they started moving and I thought: ‘Oh maybe.’”
Bronsard loves the free dance. They found it difficult to put all of the Bowie music together, but their team directed them.
Next? They would like to make it to the junior world championships. They won’t know if they win the assignment until the end of this week. Still, they are most happy with the effort they put in over the past month, especially when they saw the fruit of their labours.
Bouaraguia is 18, so still has three more years of junior eligibility left. Bronsard, a bright penny if there ever was one, is only 15.
Canadian Junior Ice Dance is looking like a strong field! Let’s hope Emmy doesn’t keep growing, though because they’re already the same height.
Natalie and Bruce are my other fav junior ice dancers.