In their first season as a team, Helena Carhart & Volodymyr Horovyi won the silver medal at the 2020 U.S. Dance Final in November. The team trains in Florida with coaches Marina Zoueva, Ilya Tkatchenko, Alper Ucar, and Johnny Johns.
How did you start skating and what drew you to ice dance?
HC: I started skating when I was three. I was invited to take group classes with a good friend of mine. When I was eight, I was tempted by some other sports like karate and baseball, so I quit for a while. After a few months, I realized how much I missed skating. I continued to skate until I was 13, when I got injured and couldn’t continue singles skating. My sister was already a competitive ice dancer, so I decided to try ice dance.
VH: I started skating when I was three years old. I was watching figure skating on TV with my parents, and I loved watching Evgeni Plushenko skate. So I asked my parents if I could try it, and I am very happy that I did.
What are your earliest skating memories?
HC: My earliest skating memory was when I was five. I was skating to Babyface in this pink and yellow ombre dress with floral sequins on it. I was competing and went into a spiral, and I was so excited I kept raising my leg. It was the most beautiful spiral I had ever done, but just then I hit my toe pick and face-planted right in front of the judges. Luckily, I got right back up, finished the program, and somehow I still ended up second!
Tell us about how your partnership started.
VH: We started skating together this summer. I had been training with the International Skating Academy since the spring, when one day, I saw her skate so I asked Marina, and then we started to try out. The moment we skated together, I knew she was going to be my partner. It was just a feeling.
Who are your coaches? Tell us about your training location.
HC: We are currently training in Florida at the International Skating Academy with Marina Zoueva, Ilya Tkatchenko, Alper Ucar, and Johnny Johns. We are also very fortunate to be coached by our amazing ballet teacher, Yelena Sokolova. We train 5 days a week on the ice for 3-4 hours a day, starting at 6:30am. We also have 1 hour of stretch per day, 1 hour of ballet per day, and we work out with our trainer 3 times a week.
How did they help you prepare for this season?
HC: There were a lot of run-throughs and we trained very hard. We just kept stretching and working to get better. We would spend some time with Marina working on our artistry and connection in our programs, but we also spent a lot of time with all our coaches practicing our key points and elements so we would get all of our levels.
VH: We have our head coach Marina every morning early and we do our run-throughs first thing. Then we spend the rest of the day working on small sections and details with the rest of our coaches.
You placed fourth at the Eastern Sectional Challenge, but second at the Dance Final. Did you change your programs or training to help reflect these results?
HC: We had to buckle down and really focus before the Final. We worked a lot on our artistry and making sure our program flowed well between elements. We also added more difficult elements to the program to make sure we got all our levels as well as positive GOEs for difficulty.
VH: We made quite a few changes between Sectionals and the Final. I think Sectionals was a great motivator for both of us. We were happy with our skates, but there was so much room for improvement, and we wanted to place well at the Final. That result really pushed us to work even harder to finish the season.
What do you like most about skating with your partner?
HC: I enjoy skating with Vova a lot. I think we are such a good match; we balance each other out perfectly. I have to work on my facial expressions, but luckily Vova brings enough drama for both of us! Vova is an amazing skater, which always helps, and a great friend.
VH: I love to skate with Helena. She is a super hard worker and has a very good heart, but she is also tough, which is great because she keeps me focused and on my toes :).
If you could have a lesson from any ice dancer past/present, who would it be?
HC: One of my favorite teams is Madison Chock and Evan Bates. Their free dance this season is my favorite! My dream would be to have a lesson with them one day.
VH: I would love to take a lesson with Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
Can you give us some background on your programs this season?
VH: Marina and I found our free dance music, which was a mix of “Oblivion” and “Libertango” by Astor Piazzolla. Marina, Ilya, and our wonderful choreographer Massimo Scali all worked on bringing this program to life.
HC: I think we both loved doing this tango. We have an old fashioned look on the ice, and this program fit our personalities and skating quality very well. Sometimes tangos can be very angry and passionate, but we wanted our tango to be more subtle and elegant. Astor Piazzolla was known for bringing a new spin to tango that was more classy and jazzy, so this music fit us perfectly this season.
Is there anything you would like our readers to know about you as a team?
We would like to say thank you to our wonderful families, coaches and Darlene Parent for all they have done to support us. We are going to work hard to make the audience and judges enjoy our skating this coming season.