By Katie Fiore
Hi everyone! As summer is officially coming to a close, and school is in full swing, I’m taking a moment to reflect on some of the amazing experiences I’ve had this summer at different skating camps!
Skyliners Summer Splice
This was a short and fun filled weekend with an absolutely AMAZING faculty. Summer Splice was held June 27-28 at Chelsea Piers Stamford, in Stamford, CT. The camp was 6 hours per day, each day split between both on ice and off ice classes, making for a long but rewarding weekend! The first class of each day was Skating Skills/Edges with Miru Penttinen, Coach of the 2013 World Champions, Team Unique(FIN). Working with Miru was one of the coolest experiences, she is such a knowledgeable and fun coach! Later throughout the day we had Theater with Kim Navarro, Two-Time United States Bronze Medalist in Ice Dance, Two-Time World Team member, 2008 Four Continents Championship Bronze Medalist, and 2010 Olympic Games First Alternate.
Theater was such a fun class to work on the performance aspect of skating! We started with a nice warmup to get into our edges, and finished with a fun on-ice dance combo/routine. Next, we had a very informative Pairs class with John Coughlin, 2012 US National Champion, and 2012 Four Continents silver medalist. With our sport advancing quickly, having pairs knowledge is very important! We learned about death spiral techniques, how to do partner camels and lifts, and practiced synchronized spins.
Then, we had an off-ice dance class with Paula Wagener, PSA Master Rated Choreography and Style coach, and has worked with all levels of skaters from beginners to World Championships. In Paula’s class, we focused on posture and technique, as well as performance and style. It was a high energy and fun class that included exercises and learning/making up a dance! Interp with Team USA coaches, Josh Babb and Pam May was the perfect way to end each day. We explored all styles of musical interp, from fun and sassy music to more complex pieces. We strutted across the ice, learned combinations, and did many other interpretation exercises. Summer Splice was such an awesome weekend, I definitely recommend to all levels of Synchronized Skaters looking to advance their skills!
Miami University Synchronized Skating Elite Camp
For a long, and more camp-like experience, I highly recommend attending Miami’s Elite Synchro Camp! This camp is held at Miami University July 5-10 for skaters passed their novice Moves in the Field. You as a skater have the opportunity to experience what it’s like to be a varsity athlete at Miami University, while also learning new skating skills and making new friends from different teams. Each day was 3 hours on ice and 3 hours off ice, with a dorm activity every evening. The on ice classes were primarily run by Carla DeGirolamo, head of Varsity Synchronized Skating and skating school director, and Lee Ann Shoker and Katie Bowling, assistant coaches of Miami Varsity Synchronized Skating and Miami Skating Alumni.
Katie, Lee Ann, and Carla led skating/individual skills, synchro element workshops, and agility/on-ice cardio which we did every day. We also had the opportunity to work with Sarah Kawahara, a 2-Time Emmy Award Winning Choreographer, and former member of the Ice Capades. Sarah brought her class ‘Palette of Choreography’ to camp where we learned to listen to music and bring out a story. We learned a new routine and were able to use our creativity to work together and make up parts of the routine.
Kelley Morris Adair, an accomplished Ice Dance coach and skater, brought ‘Kelley’s College’ to camp. This class was mainly focused on skating skills, but still very challenging! We did so many cool edge exercises and I learned so much about proper basic skating and it’s importance in this class. As for off ice, we had two strength and conditioning sessions with the team’s’ strength and conditioning coach, Mackenzie Cutter, in this class we did a body weight circuit and also talked about putting your body in the best possible condition to skate. Each day we had dance with Lana Kay Rosenberg, the teams’ off ice dance instructor. In this class we learned a lot about body carriage and posture, as well as a dance we put on ice for the exhibition on Friday.
We also had other off ice classes such as Nutrition, Mental Training, IJS judging, Zumba, Yoga, Spinning, and had a meeting with a college admissions worker. Learning about college admissions is extremely valuable for all high school students, and it’s very cool to learn about it through the perspective of a student athlete. At the end of each day, we would always have a fun activity in the dorm. The fabulous camp counselors/dorm supervisor always make sure every skater is having fun and enjoying camp. The camp dance off is always a favorite!
The final day of camp is dedicated to a campus tour and the exhibition. Parents have the opportunity to tag along for the campus tour and see what miami is all about, and then can come watch the performance to see what has been learned throughout week.
Sadly, the week quickly ends and saying goodbye to all the new friends you’ve met is the hardest part! Luckily, you’ll see them next season, which is one of my favorite parts of synchro! Miami Elite Camp is a great experience, and if you’re looking to attend a longer skating camp, they also offer Synchro Camp, and two weeks of Freestyle Camp.
U.S. Figure Skating DREAM/Rising Stars Camp (Midwest)
Rising Stars was held at the Glacier Ice Arena in Vernon hills IL, on July 18th, and was a new addition to US Figure Skating’s synchro camps this year. Modeled after the Training Festival, Rising Stars was designed for skaters who compete open juvenile, juvenile, intermediate and novice skaters.
DREAM Camp, was held at the Glacier Ice Arena in Vernon Hills IL, on July 19th. DREAM Camp is a half-day skating camp for beginner-pre-juvenile skaters. The camp was modeled after the Training Festival and designed for younger skaters competing in developmental levels.
Both days in summary:
The camp’s faculty included Team USA coaches such as Holly Malewski (Crystallettes), Erin Donovan (Hockettes), Josh Babb (Skyliners), Heather Paige (Starlights) and 2012 National Champion, John Coughlin. The staff also included DREAM skaters, Sharon Neff (Haydenettes), Lindsey Maynard (Miami), Mary Carnal (Miami), and Devin Wang (Haydenettes). I volunteered as a Team Leader and was a fun day for the kids! They took part in many on ice classes such as skating skills with Holly, and interp with Josh. As for off-ice, the campers enjoyed conditioning with Devin and Sharon, and performance class with Loni Bertone (Starlights), and Hip Hop!
DREAM Camp is definitely for younger and developmental skaters looking for a one day experience, but Rising Stars also welcomes skaters through the novice level. For local skaters, make sure you take part in your local DREAM/Rising Stars Camp next year! They are held both in the Midwest and the East Coast. It is definitely worth the experience to meet friends and have the chance to train with Team USA, for some at such a young age!
See you next year!
2015 U.S. Figure Skating Synchronized Skating Training Festival/College Prep Track:
The U.S. Synchronized Skating Training Festival is by far my FAVORITE weekend of the summer, and I have attended it for the past 6 years. This year, it was held at the University Of Delaware in Newark, Delaware. The camp featured an all-star on-ice staff including Saga Krantz (Hayden Synchro), Erin Donovan (Hockettes), Carla DeGirolamo (Miami University), Josh Babb (Skyliners), Adam Blake and Instagram sensation, “Ice Cold Combos”, Tanith White, Douglas Razzano, and Greg Zuerlein. The staff also included DREAM skaters Devin Wang (Haydenettes), Lindsay Grajek (Haydenettes), Eliana Marostica (Haydenettes), Molly Farber (Lexettes), Victoria Clarke (Skyliners), Lindsey Maynard (Hockettes/Miami), Mary Carnal (Saint Louis Synergy/Miami), and Marie Yamada (Miami).
The College Prep Track was a new addition to the Training Festival this year. The course was led by Miami University Varsity Synchronized Skating Assistant Coach, Lee Ann Shoker. The College Prep Track was designed for skaters who are rising Juniors or Seniors in high school, looking to expand their knowledge about skating in college. We had many panel discussions with collegiate skating coaches, and collegiate skaters as well, some who skate for their school and some who skate through a club while being a full time college student. Learning about the different ways to skate in college, meeting coaches, and even talking to an admissions worker from the University Of Delaware was an extremely helpful experience that every skater who is interested in skating in college should take advantage of.
All of the on-ice classes were the same as the regular Training Festival classes, which included Choreography with Erin Donovan (Hockettes), Skills with Greg Zuerlein (accomplished Ice Dancer) and Saga Krantz (Haydenettes), Power with Suzy Schurman (PSA ranked instructor), Interp with Josh Babb (Skyliners), Synchro Elements with Carla DeGirolamo (Miami University), and an awesome drill/interpretive based class with Tanith White and Douglas Razzano!
Adam Blake and Ice Cold Combos taught us an amazing hip-hop combination, and we also had a fabulous class with Paula Wagener. The camp always finishes with an exhibition where each group performs a routine they learned from their assigned coach/choreographer. It’s so fun to have a ‘team’ for a short weekend and accomplish so much together in such little time! The Training Festival is an incredibly rewarding experience I recommend to all levels of synchro skaters, and I especially recommend the College Track to anyone interested in learning more about skating in college!
Other skating camps not mentioned to check out:
- Haydenettes Elite Camp
- Hayden Junior Elite Camp
- Lake Placid Synchro Camp
- Lake Placid Elite Synchro Camp
- East Coast DREAM/Rising Stars Camp
- Nexxice International Skills Camp
Can’t wait for next summer, and to see what this upcoming season brings!