Written By: 2017-18 DREAM & Crystallettes Senior Team Member, Emily Fitzgerald
This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the National Synchronized Skating Summit in Geneva Illinois! Along with other DREAM skaters, I was apart of the “Team Elan” group and was able to work with coaches from across the country on various skating skills, performance techniques, power and unison.
The really cool part about the Summit was how involved the coaches who were not instructing were; they were right in our classes listening to the same instruction we were. I think that interaction really helps bridge the gap between how differently skaters and coaches interpret information given to them; it felt like we were actually helping each other learn the various rules and techniques at hand.
Hands down one of the coolest aspects of the Summit was the unbelievable opportunity to work with Tanith and Charlie White, who instructed skating skill classes to all levels. Seeing two incredibly talented and successful ice skaters from another discipline, encouraging and supporting Synchro was awesome. Not to mention how inspiring it is to watch Charlie White literally float down the ice demonstrating drills… it is one of those moments that grounds you, and you realize how much you really just love to skate.
I hope this camp continues to grow next year; it was very beneficial and motivational as we start this new season. I hope everyone is having an awesome summer!
Written By: 2017-18 DREAM Program & Starlights Junior Team Member, Brittney Rivelli
This past weekend, the first National Synchronized Skating Summit was held in Geneva, Illinois. In previous years, skaters and coaches have had the opportunity to attend the annual Training Festival and Coaches College respectively. As I have experienced both the Training Festival in the past and now the Summit, I was able to discover similarities as well as some differences when comparing the two events. For me, the biggest difference was that at the Summit, coaches were able to be on the ice during classes in order to learn alongside the participating athletes.
The Summit started on Friday afternoon, as the rink quickly became flooded with many athletes and coaches. It was great to have time to reunite with friends from all over the country and get settled in before splitting up into our assigned groups. Prior to Saga Krantz’s class that focused on unison and the ways athletes can obtain that quality of synchronized skating, Sarah Arnold led my group through a few team building exercises to get everyone familiar with one another. Our final off-ice class of the day, Artistry in Motion, with Paula Wagener-Blonder, targeted spiral positions and musicality. By this point, we were all eager to put our skates on for our first on-ice class, Rotating and Traveling Elements, instructed by Shannon Peterson. Within the session, we had the opportunity learn helpful tips for successfully traveling both a circle and wheel while incorporating features, like disconnecting. After a jam-packed afternoon, it was time to head back to the hotel to rest up before the upcoming full-day of classes!
For my group, Saturday started at 8:30 a.m. with an acting class led by Stephanie Svarz, a Chicago-based director. Personally, I had no experience when it came to acting, so participating in exercises within this class gave me a new perspective on portraying emotion and conveying expression to an audience. Our next on-ice class was instructed by Erin Donovan, who focused on the key points necessary to complete pivoting blocks correctly. We were all looking forward to our second Artistry in Motion class of the weekend with Paula, where we finished choreographing an energetic dance routine. From there, we moved to our Calling/Judging class with National technical specialist and judge, Lisa Insley, and National technical specialist, Audrey Kamm. This class was particularly interesting as we had the opportunity to witness the process of calling a senior free skate. As athletes, we’re used to going over our protocol after a competition, but observing how quickly those calls are made was really exciting! After a lunch break, we made our way to the ice to work on creative transitions with Heather Paige.
Immediately following our Creative Transitions class, we worked with Josh Babb and Saga Krantz on body movement. During this session, skaters were able to express themselves within a series of choreographed steps and body movements. Our last off-ice class of the day was a Pairs Class led by Rockne Brubaker. The main focus of Rockne’s class was how to properly warm up before attempting death spirals in order to prevent injuries. Throughout the day, we had seen many other groups on the ice with Tanith and Charlie White, so we were ready for our turn to learn from them during our last class of the day. Watching both of them skate with such effortlessness motivated us to work even harder as we performed multiple edge drills. With one more day of the Summit left, stretching out back at the hotel was extremely important, as all of our muscles were sore from a long day of work.
The final day of the Summit began with three on-ice classes in a row. Carla DeGirolamo reminded us of how to utilize our blades in order to maximize our power while skating during her Speed and Power Class. Next was our On-Ice Pairs Class with Rockne Brubaker. After warming up our shoulders, we worked on exercises for both right backward outside and left forward outside death spirals. Most of us are used to working on the right forward inside death spiral, but everyone was up for the challenge of trying something new! Before getting off the ice for an energetic and extremely fun Cardio Drumming class with fitness instructor, Kara Torres, we were fortunate enough to have one more class with Tanith and Charlie White. During this class, we tuned into the entry and exit edges of turns, and worked on maintaining speed and flow throughout a drill or series of turns. Following a lunch break, four groups made their way to the ice for the last class of the Summit, Stroking and Unison, where Lisa Darken reminded us of the basics of line-up and matching while stroking.
The first National Synchronized Skating Summit was an incredible experience that provided many new drills and exercises to take home and work on. It was great to see so many hardworking athletes all together in one place!
I hope everyone has a great rest of their summer, and continues to work hard!