Dance duos get a lift

Pairs teams from CBN club sup­port each other; hav­ing fun

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

The ice at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts is full of ac­tiv­ity on Jan. 18. About a dozen skaters with the Con­cep­tion Bay North Skat­ing Club are work­ing through their rou­tines.

How­ever, there are two groups that are sure to catch the eyes of on­look­ers. At ei­ther end of the ice, the dance teams of Brianna Rus­sell and An­drew Lit­tle­john, as well as the team of Ju­lia Keefe and Ethan Par­sons, are learn­ing parts of their new free skate.

It in­volves tire­less rep­e­ti­tion and ded­i­ca­tion to per­fect.

Hav­ing just over a minute of their rou­tines fig­ured out, the teams work through what they have in an ef­fort to make it sec­ond na­ture.

Start­ing their mu­sic, both groups run through what they have un­der the watch­ful eyes of coaches Lori Brett and Neil Thorne. When the mu­sic stops, their coaches give them point­ers and then the mu­sic is started again.

“It’s go­ing pretty good,” said 10year-old Ju­lia.

Tim­ing is key

Noth­ing new is with­out chal­lenges, and th­ese four young skaters are in the midst of ad­just­ing to the new el­e­ments re­quired of the free skate.

Whether it’s get­ting used to swiz­zles, or us­ing a lift, some ad­just­ments are needed. Any lit­tle de­vi­a­tion from the rou­tine can set the rest of the group’s tim­ing off.

“I’ve prob­a­bly found the lift the most chal­leng­ing,” said Ethan, age 12.

De­spite th­ese mo­men­tary set­backs, look­ing at both teams skate you can see them mak­ing the needed ad­just­ments in their heads and ev­ery skate is bet­ter than the one be­fore.

“We’re build­ing up to it,” added 12year-old An­drew.

They are learn­ing the free skate with hopes of pre­mier­ing it at the pro­vin­cial com­pe­ti­tion be­ing held in Cor­ner Brook Feb. 21-23, pos­si­bly in an ex­hi­bi­tion for­mat. Then skate the pro­gram again at Skate At­lantica in Halifax March 28-30.

Friendly com­pe­ti­tion

Look at any dance re­sults from skat­ing com­pe­ti­tions this year and you’ll dis­cover a trend. The two teams are usu­ally the only ones listed.

Whether it was the Re­becca Pack Friend­ship Skate in Gan­der or the Skate NL Sec­tion­als, the two teams are com­pet­ing against each other.

How­ever, that’s not a word the four ta­lented skaters use.

“It’s pretty fun,” said 10-year-old Brianna.

There are times the four skaters will of­fer tid­bits of in­for­ma­tion that comes with com­pet­ing in the dance com­pe­ti­tion.

The two teams have been danc­ing to­gether for three years.

“We started at the same time,” said An­drew.

“It’s been in­ter­est­ing,” added Brianna with a laugh.

The four ac­cli­mated them­selves quickly to the new sit­u­a­tion, and have ex­celled in a short pe­riod. One thing has been a con­stant in this three-year ad­ven­ture — the two teams help each other out. “We want the best for each other,” said Ethan. There is no an­i­mos­ity be­tween them. Sure, all want to have a good show­ing and fin­ish as high as they can, but the skaters are there to sup­port each other ev­ery step of the way.

“It’s cool where we’re from the same club and it’s only us there,” said Ju­lia.

The four were sched­uled to hit the ice this past weekend at the East­ern Divi­sion­als be­ing held at the Bay Arena, but re­sults were not known at press time.

Pho­tos by Ni­cholas Mercer/The Com­pass

Con­cep­tion Bay North Skat­ing Club skaters (from left) Ethan Par­sons, Ju­lia Keefe, Brianna Rus­sell and An­drew Lit­tle­john are usu­ally the only four en­trants in the dance di­vi­sion at skate com­pe­ti­tions. Par­sons and Keefe make up a team, while Rus­sell and Lit­tle­john make up the other.

Brianna Rus­sell (left) and An­drew Par­sons prac­tice a part in their rou­tine.

Ju­lia Keefe (left) and Ethan Par­sons work through a piece of their free skate rou­tine on Jan. 18.

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