IDC is highlighting some of the new partnerships that are debuting in the 2017-18 competitive season.  Up first – Avonley Nguyen & Vadym Kolesnik – who are coached by Igor Spilband and train in Novi, Michigan.

IDC: Can you share with us your individual skating journeys: 

Nguyen: I started ice dancing when I was 12 and was drawn in by the lifts. At the time, I thought that one of the best things about skating with a partner was getting to do fun lifts – kind of like having my one personal roller coaster. As time went on, being able to dance with a partner meant more to me. I think that one is the best things is that I would have a good friend to improve with and learn from, and that as we grow as a team, we will be able to tell more stories about who we are as people through our performances. I think right now, I have been really interested in how to express an emotion through movement.

Kolesnik: My grandmother took me to the ice rink when I was four years old. I was really fat and the coaches in Kharkiv did not want to take me. But I kept coming and one coach finally said yes. Even at four years old, I really liked to skate and I like it even more today.

How did your partnership get started?

Nguyen: We were both already skating in Novi and we tried skating together for 3 weeks last Fall. Vadym then returned to Ukraine and we began training again this Spring.

What do you like most about skating with each other?

Nguyen: Vadym is a really strong person and I really admire his bravery. He came to the US from Ukraine when he was 14 and he left his friends, family, and home behind to train in Novi. We are each other’s family now, as we share an apartment with my mom who takes care of us. Vadym has a great sense of humor and we watch lots of funny videos together.

Kolesnik: Avonley is really gentle person and partner. But in competition, she is really strong. I don’t think she gets very nervous and if she does, she does not show. This makes it a lot easier for me to have a partner like this.

Nguyen: Actually, one of the great things about having Vadym as a partner is that he also loves sushi and we can probably have Japanese food together everyday.

If you could have a lesson from any ice dancer past/present, who would it be?

Nguyen: There are so many dancers I look up to, and I learn so much from our training mates in Novi. I am always blown away by Madi (Chock) and Evan (Bates) and I am constantly learning from all of the talented people that I get to share the ice with.

Kolesnik: I think it would be cool to have lessons with Charlie White and Scott Moir.

Can you give us some background on your programs this season?

Nguyen: For our free dance, we are skating to music from “West Side Story”. Our coach Igor chose the pieces and was very enthusiastic about this theme. Truthfully, Vadym and I had other music that wanted to try, but after watching the movie together, we began to really relate to the story. “West Side Story” is about two young people from different cultures who are united by their love for one another. Similarly, we are two kids from different parts of the world brought together by our common passion for music and skating. Our short dance is comprised of cha cha, rhumba, and mambo rhythms. We’ve had a lot of fun learning the dances and performing them, and we are really excited to grow and improve with our programs!

Is there anything you would like our readers to know about you as a team?

Nguyen: Since Vadym lives with my family, we spend a lot of non-skating time together. One of the silly, but fun things we do together is spend time at the pool where we try to come up with synchronized swimming moves.

Kolesnik: Yes, it is fun to try new lifts in the pool and I think it helps us with being more synchronized. Check out our videos on Instagram 🙂