int-graham-pojeAlice Graham and Andrew Poje teamed up in late Spring 2004. They are coached by Paul Macintosh, Rebecca Babb, and Susie MacGregor and are currently training at RIM park in Kitchner-Waterloo.

When did you start skating, and how long have you been ice dancing?
Alice:
I started skating relatively late around 8 or 9. Although I competed singles my coach at the time Susan Dell, a really wonderful coach, thought I might like to try Dance. I was never a real serious skater but I liked to compete and had a lot of fun in singles and synchro I was asked to tryout with a boy in Montreal. My parents and I never imagined I would be picked for the partnership but to our surprise I was. That was around four years ago when I was 13 years old.

Andrew: I started when I was 5 and have been ice dancing since I was about 7.

In your own words, tell us how you started skating together?
Alice: I had skated previously with two talented guys but for my own personal reasons those partnerships didn’t work out. I thought it may be the end of dance for me and thought I would head back home to North Bay. However it just happened that some other partnerships around this time ended and I had a few tryouts with some really great guys. I have to thank Mr. Bernie Ford for all his help and encouragement during this time. I was without a coach and on my own and Mr. Ford was kind enough to help me. He never directed me to any one partner but he inspired me and gave me confidence to know I could dance with the best of them. After a couple of tryouts with Andrew he gave me a call and we decided we would make a great team and go for it!

Andrew: I started with Alice when my previous partner had decided to pursue other things besides skating. So when I was sure that I wanted to continue skating I had my first tryout with Alice and pretty much had decided right off the bat that I wanted to skate with her. I went through some other tryouts to make sure I was making the right decision and then gave her the call and asked if she would like to skate with me. We’ve have been partners ever since

Who are your coaches and where are you training?
Alice: Paul Macintosh, Rebecca Babb, and Susie MacGregor.

Andrew: We are coached by Paul Macintosh, Rebecca Babb, and Susie MacGregor. We are currently training at RIM park in Kitchner-Waterloo.

Which events are you planning to compete in this season?
Alice and Andrew:
We are planning to compete in Minto Summer Skate, Lake Placid, Sectionals, Divisionals and Nationals, with high hopes for a couple grand prix events along the way.

What are your goals for this season?

Alice & Andrew: We are hoping for good placements if we are assigned Junior Grand Prix events, and at least top three at Nationals in January.

Which compulsory dance is your favorite?
Alice:
Starlight—I like the flow Andrew and I have in this dance.

Andrew: My favorite compulsory dance would have to be the Argentine Tango due to the high difficulty in the dance and the high demand for perfection. Plus, I have always enjoyed the tango rhythm.

What do you think makes ice dancing a fun sport? What would you say to encourage other young skaters to try it?
Alice:
I like the idea and hope I can leave someone with a feeling or memory from just watching us dance. It’s not so much that I hope they remember me as much as they remember that once they saw this couple skating and it left them with a good memory, that they felt something from watching us. I also love when little skaters watch us. I hope the little ones like us. Don’t be fooled by the fancy lace and beauty of the sport. It is darn hard work and takes discipline. However if you love to express yourself and you like to compete it is a great sport.

Andrew: It’s unlike any other sport around and demands talent and hard work in order to succeed. plus the wide range of people and things you experience along the way is truly unique to any other sport around. I know from the experiences that I have had so far I could never be the person I am today without the experiences that skating has gave me.

When you are not skating, how do you like to spend your time?
Alice: I like to get back home to North Bay. We live on a lake and I enjoy, relaxing, boating, all water sports are fun. I also like to see my brothers and my many aunts, uncles and cousins. I ‘d like to develop some other interest, I like watching movies, I hope to start painting, I like to just dance for fun but finding spare time is difficult between school and skating.

Andrew: When I am not skating I am usually in school, eating or sleeping resting for the next day of training with odd time that I hang out with my friends and try to have a normal life.

Which skaters or dancers do you look up to?
Alice: I find it difficult to pick one particular skater or team. I have been influenced by many of the skaters I have trained with and competed against over the past couple of years. They are a nice group of people. I appreciate and am inspired by all those skaters and teams that reach the top in the world. They must all be extremely dedicated and determined athletes. I once had the good fortune to share the ice with the pairs team of, Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze and found them to be a particularly inspiring team. They skated with grace and power with excellent technique, all qualities I hope to develop and of course Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz.

Andrew: I know when I was growing up there was probably two dancers that I truly looked up to and that was Victor Kraatz because of his raw talent and the way he just moved across the ice with such amazing knees. The second skater was Danny Moir a retired skater now, but one that I trained with everyday when I was young trying everyday to match his work ethic and determination that he showed on the ice everyday while still making sure to still have fun doing it.