by Anne Calder | Photos courtesy of Kerry & Dodds

Chantelle Kerry & Andrew Dodds are Australia’s newest ice dance team. Both come from well-known Aussie skating families. Kerry’s mother Monica MacDonald is a 1988 Olympian and her brother Brendan competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Dodds is one of four skating brothers (Matthew, Andrew, Jordan, and Ryan) who compete internationally and are known as the #DoddsSquad.

At their April 2017 tryout, the skaters showed instant chemistry on the ice. Less than two weeks later, the decision was made to create the partnership. Together they set a goal to achieve the technical element scores to compete internationally this season.

Dodds explained their confidence. “With Chantelle having just missed a spot to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and myself having competed four times at the Four Continents ISU Figure Skating Championships, we know that we have the skating skills to help us succeed as a team.”

Since Dodds moved from Brisbane to Sydney, the team has trained with their coaches Monica MacDonald and John Dunn non-stop both on and off the ice. Kerry had passed her senior dance tests in 2016, but Dodds had to start from scratch. He passed them all prior to their team announcement the third week of May.

While the duo has spent hours watching videos of skaters who can help them understand dance and movements as a team, Kerry has one couple she would love to have give them a private lesson if offered the opportunity.

“If we could invite one team to give us a lesson, it would definitely be Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir. They have been a driving force in ice dance for nearly a decade now and have created so many masterpieces. It would be amazing to get tips from the best.”

Even though Kerry & Dodds have trained as ice dancers for only four weeks, they already have their most and least favorite moves.

“I like the step sequences as it pairs the technical side of the edges with artistry through the interpretation,” said Kerry. “My least favorite at the moment would be the rumba because the consistency is hard to get, and I don’t like getting things wrong.”

Dodds added, “My favorite dance element would be the lifts. We’ve been learning a lot of them to find the best for us, and all are challenging yet thrilling.”

The team is still developing its dance skills, so has not yet put the new programs together. However, they are looking at different pieces of music and discussing different concepts to bring to life on the ice this season.

“We definitely would like to do something fun for the Short Dance with the Latin theme this season,” teased Kerry. “Both of us individually have a very soft lyrical style and would want to use that to our advantage for the free skate.”

Australia’s newest ice dance team anticipates many challenges in their first season.

“For us I think the biggest challenge is that we missed out on the years of basic partner skating that other teams have had,” explained Kerry. “While we’re learning elements and putting programs together, we are also trying to figure out how to skate with another person. It’s a challenge, but we are learning each day and improving.”

“Learning dance holds, lifts and patterns from the start is a lot, but we are picking it up very fast,” added Dodds. “We are both learning to trust each other and understand how we both move. It’s a fun and exciting change for both of us.”

Since Dodds has opted to also compete in singles, he anticipates facing at least one additional difficult task.

“One more challenge for me will be going back and forth between skating in singles and dance blades. I haven’t gone into them yet, however, I know the blades will be different to what I am used to, but I am up for the challenge.”

Chantelle Kerry & Andrew Dodds are excited about their new adventure in ice dancing. Although they have competed individually at high levels, they look forward to having a partner by their side as they strive to reach their 2017-18 goals.