Meet Club Ice Dancer, Teresa Garofalow!

Fifteen year old Teresa has worked hard and earned an invitation to the 2013 Solo Ice Dancing Nationals! Congratulations!  We are all so very excited for you. 

Teresa, you are familiar to many of the Club skaters as a Freestyle skater.  When did you become more interested in Ice Dancing? My very first coach, Danielle, taught me how to express myself on the ice while learning basic skills and I became hooked on the beauty of the sport. I did not realize then, but she taught me to appreciate the artistry and poise of ice dancing.  During the years I spent as a competitive free skater, I always thought about ice dancing, but having invested so many years in free style it was a hard crossover to make.  At one point, I took a few months away from the sport, came back and quickly decided I needed to give ice dancing a shot.  My freestyle coach supported me and offered me the perfect ice dance coach. My ice dance coach understood my love for skating, my love of music and dancing, and my issues as a freestyle skater. We started slow, learning patterns and stroking, but the strong foundation of skating skills and a work ethic that my freestyle coach gave me allowed me to excel quickly as a dancer.

 What is the difference between solo Ice Dancing and standard Ice Dancing? A partner! In solo dance we skate our level of patterns that we qualify for and/or a free dance event. It gives ice dancers a chance to still be able to compete competitively and qualify for a national event even though they have yet to find a partner.  There are ice dancers who love ice dancing solo and choose to make this their primary focus and never seek a partner.

What does training for Ice Dancing look like? The test requirements for dance begin with passing pattern tests starting with preliminary patterns moving up 7 levels to the gold patterns.  Each level has 3 dance patterns .Partnered ice dancers need to pass free dance tests in order to compete similar to the testing system in place for freestyle skating tests, using the corresponding moves test as the prerequisite.  In solo free dancing, your level is based on your moves in field level and your last pattern test level.

What are some of the unique aspects of competing? In the pattern events, you compete two of the three patterns you have been working on. At Nationals, if you make the final rounds it is the third pattern. The total of the two dances determine your final score.  You cannot pick your music patterns, you hear it at the event, and so timing and knowing the beat counts are super important. In the solo free dances, we have required footwork, edgework, long edge holds, short edge holds, spins and twizzles! Posture, timing, change of tempo and interpretation of the music are all necessary for a successful skate. The most unique aspect of the solo dance series, which does not happen in any other discipline of figure skating including partnered ice dancing,  is that our qualifying season starts from our first to last competition. It is not set up with regionals, sectionals, or nationals qualifying season. It is more like a baseball or football season.  Your season’s “points” or “record” gets you your invitation to Nationals.  In addition, you can qualify for both pattern and free dance events or just one of them. I have been invited to compete at both the Pre Silver Pattern Dance event and the Novice Free Dance this year. Boys and girls, ladies and men, are all in the events together.

We are all so proud of your achievements this past year.  What advice might you give to other skaters interested in ice dancing? Thank you! Skaters interested in Ice Dance should definitely give it a try. While the physical challenges are different, the same amount of dedication and hard work is necessary for success.  Free skaters spend countless hours perfecting their jumping skills while on a different rink at the same time ice dancers are working their edges and perfecting the art of the dance. Musicality is the ice dancer’s double axel. While I enjoy both disciplines, ice dance has given me a chance to take all the skills taught me by both my free skate coach of 7 years, Craig Maurizi, and my new coach Galit Chait-Moracci and put it to free dance!



An Interview With Edward van Campen

Edward is likely one of the more familiar faces around the Ice House.  He coaches Learn-to-Skate students, all levels of freestyle Moves-In-The Field, and adult skaters.  Edward is the competition chair for the annual Ice House Basic Skills competition, and the liaison between the Ice House skating school and our Club for competitions including the Moran Memorial Championships and North Atlantic Regionals.

As a competitive skater, Edward is a three time Dutch Men’s Champion.  He also competed in European and World Championships!

Edward, you have many accomplishments in figure skating, when did it all begin?

When I was 16, I was watching the 1976 Winter Olympics fromInnsbruck.  Dorothy Hamill was up against Diane De Leauw, a girl from my home country.  I thought it would be so great to be able to skate.  I remember looking at my mom and saying “I can do that.”  I had really never skated before.

So, I started skating when I was 16, and 6 years later, I was the 1982 Dutch Men’s National Champion and that year placed 18th at Europeans and 29th at Worlds. I then went on to win two more national titles and competed at Europeans two more times.

Who were, or are, your skating role models?

At that time, it would have to be Brian Orser, and a skater named Robert Wagonhoffer.

As far as skaters today it would be, Matt Savoy, Jeremy Abbott, Kurt Browning, and Yuka Sato (when she skates her knees at fantastic, so smooth, you can’t hear a thing)

What are you most proud of in your skating career?

When I started, people told me that I will never be anything in skating.  I passed my senior figures first try and my senior free skate test.  I was the Senior Champion of a country, and represented them on a World stage.  That’s what I’m most proud of.

How has the sport changed over the years?

With the introduction of the IJS, skating has evolved.  It’s all so mathematical.  You have so much to put in the program so many positions to hold in spins, no one has the time to just skate and hold an edge or a spin in one beautiful position.  Everyone is trying to out add each other.

What is the best advice you can give to skaters?

Work hard, don’t just go over stuff, work on it.  Everything you learn on the ice will teach you valuable life lessons.  Also remember to be kind and courteous to your family and to others. 

What are some of your interests outside of skating?

Teaching, my own skating and organizing competitions is very time consuming. But in the summer I go camping almost every weekend.  I love spending time doing work at home, my cats, and going to the movies.

Celebrating Geena Cockroft

Join us as we celebrate with Geena, who recently passed her Senior Ladies Freestyle test!  Geena, a Club member for over ten years  is a great example to young skaters.  She has created a balance between advancing her skating, and pursuing higher education.  A student at Ramapo College, Geena is majoring in mathematics and working toward her NJ teacher certification.  At Ramapo, she is a Student Ambassador and also a Peer Facilitator for a class of freshmen students.  Geena has had the opportunity to study abroad twice, to Venice, Italy in the summer of 2010 and London, England in the summer of 2011.  Both experiences were incredible and allowed her to see the world from different perspectives. Geena coaches Basic Skills skaters as part of the Ice House Skating School under the direction of Craig Maurizi.  We are proud to feature Geena in our Member Spotlight.

Member’s Spotlight – Jeilynn

Join us as we welcome JEILYNN to the Club!

Jeilynn is a recent graduate of the Ice House Basic Skills program. She is currently competing at the Freestyle 3 level. At only 7 years old, Jeilynn has already won 7 gold and 6 silver medals! Her hip hop program to Dynamite, choreographed by her coach Julia Lautowa, is a real crowd pleaser. Jeilynn, who travels with her favorite doll Sandy, is looking forward to her next competitions.

Have a Great Skate Jeilynn!