The Stuff Dreams are Made of…   By Andrea Gropman 

On Sunday, June 26, 2011, ice dance couples from juvenile level to senior level, and representing clubs from Laurel to Los Angeles, got a taste of what it takes to be an Olympic ice dancer. That is, they participated in an ice dance seminar sponsored by U.S. Figure Skating, with special guest instruction from Tanith Belbin, 2006 Olympic silver medalist in ice dance (with partner Ben Agosto), and Charlie White, 2010 Olympic silver medalist in ice dance (with partner Meryl Davis) and current reigning world champion in ice dance. The ice dance seminar came on the heels of the Chesapeake Open competition on June 24-25, and many of the same seminar couples participated in the competition as well.

Most couples had group as well as one-on-one instruction with Belbin and/or White, and the Olympians were very gracious in allowing numerous autograph sessions and photo opportunities with the younger skaters (and parents, too).

The ice dance seminar started a few hours after the competition ended with skater-only sessions on music selection Saturday night, and resumed on Sunday at 7 a.m. sharp and finished at 4 p.m., and focused on all the elements critical to ice dancing. There were sessions on edges and power stroking, elements and levels of execution, off-ice training and instruction in expression and interpretation. Junior and senior level skaters also had an opportunity for one-on-one critiques with Olympic level judges and officials, while the parents met with ice dance officials for informal sessions, from discussing general questions about ice dance, to the more complicated issues of scoring.

Overall, it was a great experience for everyone, with many skaters expressing enthusiasm for any future camps of this nature. We are lucky to have such great coaching and skating opportunities in the Washington area. Thanks to the U.S. Figure Skating ice dance program for putting together such a terrific program and to Tanith and Charlie for inspiring so many young ice dancers.

– Special thanks to Andrea & Barry Gropman / View a gallery of photos from the ice dance seminar