2023 U.S. Solo Dance Finals by Miya Zamcho

Hi! My name is Miya Zamcho and this is my third year qualified for national solo dance. I skate in the Junior Solo Combined event. I am 16 years old and I train with Max Katchanov and Katrina Shalin. I have been skating since I was 5 years old and now I am a senior in high school. I am so excited to take you with me during the Solo dance finals in Chicago, Illinois! 

Thursday, September 14, 2023

My morning started with me skating at my home rink, Ashburn Ice House, in Ashburn, Virginia. My friends already left for Nationals earlier this week but my event doesn’t start until tomorrow. After practice, we took an Uber to the Dulles International airport and flew to the O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois. The flight was 2 hours long. It was a bit of a struggle navigating our way through the airport because of how large it was. We finally made it out and got our rental car to head to the hotel.

It took us 30 minutes longer than we were supposed to because of traffic. After the hotel, we decided to sightsee in downtown Chicago. This trip normally is 30 minutes but because of traffic it was 1 hour and 10 minutes. When we arrived, we walked around the city for a while until we decided to eat dinner at the House of Blues. I got a fried chicken sandwich and my mom and sister got a cheeseburger. It was so one of the best chicken sandwiches I’ve had in a while.

After dinner, we took a 90 minute river cruise through the canals. It was really fun and we learned about the architecture of the tall skyscrapers around us. We took lots of photos and had such a blast. Despite the fun we had today, I am exhausted and ready to get back on the ice tomorrow and compete!

~ Miya

Friday, September 15, 2023

Today is day 2 of being in Chicago and the first day of competition. It is 7:30 AM and I skate my rhythm dance later today at 9. I am kind of nervous because I know that this program is very technical. I have practice ice in 30 minutes. It is official so they play our program music one by one. I’m excited because I’ve never had an official practice ice for dance before. 

I just finished practice and it went well. I’m feeling more confident now. I have about an hour to get my hair + makeup done and put on my dress. I’m in the first warm up group but I skate last. After my warm up, I have to go away from all the other competitions into a locker room to calm my nerves down and to get in the zone. I mark my program and saw a quick prayer before its my turn to go on. I skated a clean program which I am very happy about. I don’t like looking at the scores after I compete so I take off my skates. I ask my mom to check the scores for me and I am currently in first place. I was so happy. Even though my score was not as high as I wanted I was happy I did my best. When the event ended I was in 7th place. I was not happy about my place but I know my free dance is my strong suit. Since my event was so early in the morning, I had the whole day to explore more of Chicago. We went to the Willis tower and went up to the Skydeck on the 103rd floor. It was so beautiful up there to see all the buildings. We also went on the ledge which is made of only glass. I made the mistake of looking down and my stomach dropped. After the ledge we went to get lunch at Giordano’s Pizza. This was the first time that I’ve had a Chicago deep dish pizza. It was really good but too cheesy for me. After lunch, we went to millennium park to see the bean. We didn’t realize the bean was under construction until we got there. We still got to see it from a distance but that was kind of a let down. Today was also Mexican Independence Day so there were lots of cars honking their horns and flying Mexican flags. It was really cool to experience. We accidentally forgot where we parked so we had to look 30 minutes for our parking garage. We headed back to the hotel to get a good nights rest for tomorrows free dance! 

~ Miya

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Today is free dance day! I don’t have my practice ice until 10:40 so I slept in today until 8. The hotel we stayed at had complimentary breakfast for the skaters which was really nice. For breakfast, I had waffles, fruit, and a blueberry muffin. After breakfast, we headed to the rink for practice ice.

Today was unofficial, but it was still 30 minutes. I wasn’t as nervous as I was yesterday because I know free dance is all about performance. I love my free dance and I’m so excited to perform it for the last time this season.

My event doesn’t start till 4:40 today so we went to the largest Lululemon in the US to get my mind off of the competition, so I don’t start stressing. In the Lululemon, it was so gorgeous. It had two levels and the best interior designs. I was in awe by the amount of stock they had and all the different colors. We also went to the Lululemon cafe on the second floor and I ordered the CocoBlue. At first I didn’t like the taste, but it grew on me the more I drank it. After we looked around, it was time to head back to the rink to get ready.

I put on my “get hyped” playlist while I was doing my makeup. After makeup, I did my hair and put on my dress. I was in the second warm up group today so I had more time to warm up. It was finally time for my warm up and I was ready. I was also fortunate enough to be in the same warm up groups as my friends. We laughed together and helped each other to stay calm. I was last in this warm up group again so after I got off the ice I went to the locker room to get in the zone. It was my time to skate and I was excited to show off my program.

Once it was done, I was so happy that I not only skated clean but I also had fun. My coaches were so happy as well that one of my coaches, Katrina, even had tears in her eyes. Even though my season didn’t start off great I was so happy that I ended it on a much better note. This competition brought many tears and much joy. I am so happy that I was able to finish 4th in the free dance and 6th in the nation. Even though it was not my best finish I was still happy that I was able to skate my best. So thankful for my coaches, family and friends who cheered me on and helped motivate me this entire season. 

~ Miya