Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin RUS
2018 European Championships short dance
It’s been five years since Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin won the Junior World title. And in the past few years, they have somewhat stalled in their progression as the ice dance field continues to be incredibly deep.
But last season saw noticeable improvements from them - in their power, their musicality, and subsequently, their international standing. For me, their biggest highlight was this short dance at Europeans, which put them ahead of teammates Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev for the first time in their careers. Bobrova/Soloviev would overcome them in the free dance, but that doesn’t diminish Stepanova/Bukin’s rise this season.
It was too bad that they didn’t get to compete at the Olympics - Bukin was not on the list of invites for reasons that we still don’t know - but they are well on their way to leading Russian ice dance for the next four years.