Julia Rey and Philipp Rey are a sister/brother team who skate for the United Skates. They are coached by Natalya Linichuk and Gennadiy Karponosov.
At what age did you both start skating? why did you start?
Philipp: When Julia was 4 years old and I was 6, we were both avid downhill skiers. We were even on the local team, but one year there wasn’t enough snow to ski, so our Grandfather took us to the lake to ice skate. As soon as he had tied our skates, we both skated across the ice leaving him behind. We haven’t stopped since.
Julia: And when we moved to the US in 1990 we continued to skate at North Texas Ice Arena in Valley Ranch under Pierre Panayi.
What made you decide to focus on ice dancing/skating together?
Philipp: We used to do freestyle and pairs as well. At our last J/I Nationals we actually placed higher in pairs than in dance. But we decided to focus on dance because I was afraid to jump anything above a single.
Julia: The reason we started to skate together was that when we used to take from Olivia and Warren Maxwell we would take trips up to Colorado in the summer when our rinks were shut down. And in the summer of 1993 we went to train at the Airforce Academy and the old Broadmoor. We wanted to take a lesson from Gorsha Sur, as we were in awe about his skating with his partner Rene Roca. He started to teach us separately, but since he is an ice-dancer he naturally put us together during our first lesson and gave us our start as an ice-dance team.
Earlier in your career, you skated for Germany. How long did you skate for Germany? Did you compete internationally?
Philipp: From 1993 to 1997 we skated for the US, but in ’97 there was a new rule passed that one team member had to be a US citizen. We both had Greencards, but our parents wanted us to decide if we wanted to become citizens when we were 18. In ’97 Julia was 13 and I was 16, so we skated for Germany and trained with Martin Skotnicky. We skated at the Nachwuchs level, Novice. We won the Bavarian Championships, the German Nationals and the German Youth Championships and made the envelope the first year. So we moved up to Junior. We represented Germany internationally at the Pavol Roman Cup. All in all, we skated 3 years.
Why did you decide to skate for the US?
Philipp: I graduated from High School in 2000 and attended TCU in Ft. Worth Texas. It was obvious that training in the tiny village of Oberstdorf, as beautiful as it is, was going to mean a choice between college and skating, and I wanted to do both. At that time I was 19 and wanted my US citizenship because I had grown up in the US. Julia was still in High School but was planning to graduate early. The only place we saw that offered excellent skating facilities and a great University was at the University of Delaware’s Fred Rust Ice Arenas directed by Ron Ludington. Also, the previous summer we had worked with Natalya Linichuk for choreography. We both enrolled at the University of Delaware’s Business School, Julia for accounting and I for economics. I just finished my last final and have my graduation ceremony on the 8th of January.
Julia: We’ve grown up here, gone to school here, and we now want the opportunity and privilege to represent the United States of America through our skating. For the longest time we lacked the formality of a piece of paper granting us our U.S. Citizenship, even though we have been Americans for a long time.
What are your goals going into Nationals?
Philipp: To move up into the top four and to have more international competitions next year.
Julia: We have worked very hard this past year, and continue to improve. We hope to skate our best and show everyone what we can do.
What is your favorite type of music to skate to?
Philipp: Anything that we feel a connection to. We do something different each year. For instance, last year we skated to Emma Shaplin’s “Spente le Steele” and this year we’re skating to the soundtrack of Jim Carey’s “The Mask”. Total opposites.
Julia: It’s not just one genre or theme. We like so many different things, its more interesting that way for us as well as the audience. For compulsory dances though, its definitely a Tango.
Your costumes for your programs are always very original, who comes up with the ideas for them? Do you have a part in the design?
Philipp: They are made in Russia, so there is a lot of emailing and scanning involved. Julia and I also don’t speak any Russian so Natalya translates a lot. It is always a very fun process, especially because we never have any chance to do any costume fittings. But when they arrive they always fit perfectly. It’s amazing what the internet and computers have allowed us to do.
What are your goals for the future?
Philipp:On the ice the goals are to skate until I’m 30 then get married and have kids! We want to represent the US internationally and show the world what US ice-dancing is. Off the ice I am very happy to receive my Bachelor of Arts in Economics. I’m considering going back and getting an MBA, maybe in Sports Management.
Julia: Well, since he wants to skate until he’s 30 then I guess I’m stuck here too! Just kidding. We want to skate for as long as we can. This sport runs through our veins. I can’t imagine my daily life without it. Off the ice I would like to finish my Accounting degree, and then become a Certified Public Accountant. Some people find it interesting how skating and accounting goes together since one is so artful and the other more number chugging and cut and dry; I guess I just need that kind of balance.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Philipp: By now you know that we both go to School. I also coach. We took a scuba certification course in the summer and it was a lot of fun. We hope to go scuba dive somewhere in the Caribbean this summer.
Julia: We do all sorts of things in our free time, always up to something. For instance, last year after Nationals we came back to our apartment in Newark and did different faux painting finishes on our walls. I like to write and read poetry, anything outdoors. In the summertime, Philipp and I head to the beach in my Jeep Wrangler for our day off.
Are there any particular skaters you look at for inspiration?
Both: Susanna and Petri, Kati and Rene and Irina and Ilia.
Julia: These teams are a great influence to our skating, since we trained with each of these teams throughout the years. Susanna Rahkamo and Petri Kokko as well as Kati Winkler and Rene Lohse trained with us in Oberstdorf when we were working with Martin Skotnicky. Irina Lobacheva and Illia Averbukh as everyone knows trained here in Newark, Delaware. We were fortunate to have had the opportunity to watch them on a daily basis during practice.
What do you think makes ice dancing a fun sport? What would you say to encourage other young skaters to try it?
Philipp: Ice dancing is more fun than freestyle and pairs because you fall a lot less! That and we get to use vocals, I hated skating to music without someone singing.
Julia: Being able to perform in front of an audience is the best feeling in the world. But with ice-dancing you have so much more than “just” the audience. You get the athleticism through the speed and the lifts, but you also get the artful and graceful side of it through the interpretation of the music and the footwork. There’s an equal part of sport and beauty to ice-dance that just makes it amazing not only to watch but also to participate in.