IDC is highlighting some of the new partnerships that are debuting in the 2019-20 competitive season. Alexandria Loughlin & Daniil Petrenko, who represent Azerbaijan, are the next team we are featuring in this season’s series.
Tell us about your individual skating journeys:
AL: Skating began for me when I was four. An older sister of a girl in my preschool class came in to school one day wearing a skating dress. I said to my Mom, “I want to wear a dress like that, can you take me skating too?”. My mom thought it was cute, so she took me for a lesson at Chelsea Piers in NYC. From the moment I stepped on the ice I loved it. I remember saying to my mom that I felt free when I skated. That never changed, so here I am 11 years later still skating. I started out competing in showcase and freestyle, then in 2017 a coach of mine suggested I try ice dance since I was also a ballet dancer. I now realize that ice dance was my destiny all along!
DP: I began skating at age six in Kiev, Ukraine. I started in freestyle but switched to dance at age 7 after I realized I like it better. Even at seven years old, I knew ice dance was my passion. In 2015, my family moved to Kharkov, Ukraine where I continued to skate with a new partner and coach. When my partner stopped skating in 2016, my coach helped me with opportunities for try outs in Russia, France and the US. I will always be grateful to my coach in Kharkov for encouraging me to pursue my dream and for introducing me to my coaches in the United States.
How did your partnership start?:
We first met in the fall of 2017 when Dani came to the US for a try out with Lexi. Our coaches, Lynne Leger and Konstantin Kaplan, knew from the beginning that we were the perfect match. Lexi, having just started Ice Dance, wanted to first pursue Solo Dance for a season or two with the intent of making it to US Solo Dance Nationals while building her partner skills. Dani also needed to finish school in Ukraine, so the decision was made to wait a while on the partnership. We kept in touch through our coaches and Dani visited the US a few times. After Lexi completed her goal of qualifying for, and competing in US Solo Dance Nationals in 2018, she was fully committed to pursuing her dream of partnering and competing internationally in Ice Dance. At the same time, Dani finished school in Ukraine and was also ready to fully pursue his dream of training in the United States with the hope of competing internationally in Ice Dance. As they say, “timing is everything”, and for us the timing was perfect so we officially began our partnership in May 2019.
What do you like most about skating with your partner?:
AL: Dani has beautiful lines and consistent deep edges. I also love that Dani is tall, which gives a strong presence on the ice. He is a very nice person and never complains about my desire to practice obsessively! I admire him for having the courage to leave his family, friends and home behind to take a chance on the opportunity to train in the United States with me.
DP: Lexi is super creative with her skating and also great at choreography. She picks up the steps really quickly and sometimes even knows my steps before I do. Lexi is a very graceful skater, but at the same time is fearless on the ice. She is one of the most focused and motivated people I have ever met. It’s also a bonus that she loves coffee and sushi as much as I do, so we always agree on where to eat!
If you could have a lesson from any ice dancer who would it be?
AL: I would absolutely love to work with Meryl Davis. She is a role model for me in every way. I love her style and positive aura both on and off the ice. I admire her for working to over come the obstacle of dyslexia and persevering all the way to an Olympic Gold. I also very much admire and look up to Courtney Mansour. Courtney was the first Olympic ice dancer I met. She has been a real life inspiration to me from the day I saw her picture up in our rink. Just as when I was a little girl and saw the skating dress, after meeting Courtney I said to myself “I want to be like her!”. I have always felt inspired knowing Courtney started out at Jersey Shore Arena just as I have, and also that she never gave up until reaching her dream of the Olympic Games. Courtney has showed me that with hard work and determination, anything is possible!
DP: My favorite ice dancer is Scott Moir. I would love to work with him some day. I admire his ability to present himself as strong on the ice but playful at the same time. He seems to have a great sense of humor. As a child, I idolized Dimitry Soloviev. Watching him on television and Youtube over the years inspired me to ice dance when the time came to choose to either continue with it or to pursue my other passion which is music.
Can you give us some back ground on your programs this season?
We both absolutely love our music for our programs! The rhythm dance is a medley from a movie musical that we happened to skate to during our first try out together back in 2017. We have always felt a connection to the music, and are excited that we are able to tell a fun and entertaining story with it for our rhythm dance. We hope our rhythm dance will put a fresh modern twist on a tale as old as time. Our free dance is very dramatic through out. This dance tells a story of never giving up no matter how hard or how long it may take. We connect with this on many levels, but mostly when reflecting on our own journeys in pursuing the dream that has brought us together as partners.
Is there anything you would like our readers to know about your team?
We are thrilled to announce that we will be competing junior this season for the national yeam of Azerbaijan Republic. Although we will represent Azerbaijan, our training location will remain in New Jersey with our coaches. We are super excited for the international competitions that are ahead for us this season. We know as a brand new team we have a lot of work to do, but we are ready for the challenge and grateful for the opportunity to do what we love!