by Anne Calder | Photo by Robin Ritoss
After the 2015 World Championships, ice dance siblings Cathy & Chris Reed ended their partnership. Cathy retired to coach; Chris began a new partner search.
In June, Reed teamed up with Kana Muramoto to compete for Japan, and they moved to Canton, Michigan where he and his sister had previously trained with Marina Zoueva and staff.
Muramoto’s resume included seven years as a junior and senior competitive skater. In 2014-15, she switched to ice dance and coupled with Hiroichi Noguchi. They won bronze at the 2014 Tallinn Trophy and were third at the Japanese National Championships.
After only five months of training together, Muramoto & Reed made their international debut at the 2015 NHK Trophy in front of a friendly home country audience.
When Reed stepped to center ice without his sister, it felt very strange.
“It was very emotional,” Reed shared. “We shared a lot. To see her go was sad, but Kana made it an easy time, which I appreciated.”
They placed seventh at the event with a required Ravensberger Waltz pattern and a light and airy free dance to Charlie Chaplin selections. Their technical scores qualified them to compete at 2016 Four Continents in Taiwan.
At their next event in Poland,the Mentor Nestle Torun Cup, their technical marks were even higher which made them eligible for all ISU international championships, including the 2016 Worlds in Boston.
In February at Four Continents, they were seventh with a 145.83 score. A month later in Boston, they drew loud applause and high accolades for their programs. The 147.90 total score was a personal best and a 15th place finish.
Muramoto and Reed made a great 2015-2016 debut, but both have high hopes for greater achievements. The team and coaching staff have worked diligently since the World Championships to improve their technical elements and solidify their partnering skills.
“We really broke down a lot of things,” Reed said. “We now understand how we both operate. Last year we were such a new team. I never skated with anyone else besides my sister. This is only Kana’s third season in ice dance. Now we know each other. We know our rhythm.”
Muramoto nodded in agreement.
“Still there’s a lot more work, but we are on the right track,” she added.
The duo launched their 2016/17 programs of a Ray Charles blues and swing medley and flamenco to “Poeta” by Spanish guitarist Vicente Amigo at the August Chicago Dance Competition and finished fourth.
In September, they won the silver medal at the US International Classic in Salt Lake City with personal best scores of 61.10 (SD), 90.08 (FD) and 151.18 (T).
The team evaluated their performances.
“We skated the short dance the way we wanted,” Reed explained. “Our first goal was to get about 60 points because we weren’t able to do it last season because we were so new. We knew where we were, and where we can be. We skated pretty well and accomplished that goal.”
“This free dance is a challenge for us because we are doing a completely different program from last year,” Muramoto said.
“We did a cute, romantic kind of 20’s program last year,” Reed added. “We skated great – cute together. Now, it’s entirely different. This (program) will be one of the biggest challenges for us this season. We love it! Most important we know what we can do.”
“We know how to skate this program,” Muramoto said emphatically.
The team has set high goals for themselves.
“We’re going to work for the top ten at Worlds,” Reed said. “Definitely top 10 in the Olympics. If you get in the top 10 this year at Worlds, you can push the boundaries higher.”
The first step toward accomplishing those placements takes place October 21-23 at Skate America. Muramoto & Reed will have their hands full. They compete against four teams who finished 2, 6, 10 and 12 at the 2016 World Championships and two of the top-15 ISU ranked teams who didn’t compete in Boston.