by Anne Calder | Photo by Daphne Backman
In 2014, Charlotte Maxwell & Ryan Devereaux, ended their five-year individual retirements, formed a new partnership, and launched the second phase of their competitive skating careers.
“There truly is no one else that I would rather be on this journey with,” Maxwell said.
“I am so thankful that our paths have brought us together,” Devereaux added. “We both gained a tremendous amount of perspective and experience about life off the ice that allows us to have a successful partnership on the ice.”
The close friends first met in 2006 at the US Nationals in St. Louis while competing with different partners.
Maxwell skated on the juvenile, intermediate, and novice levels with Brad Coulter from 2003-2005. When the partnership ended, she teamed with Nick Traxler, and they competed as seniors for four years.
In 2005, Devereaux moved to Canton, MI to train with Maria Zoueva and Igor Shpilband. He competed with Shannon Wingle on the Junior Grand Prix circuit for two years. They won a silver medal in 2007 at the Sofia (Bulgaria) Cup and placed fifth at both the 2007 and 2008 US Nationals. The team dissolved its partnership after the 2008 Championships.
At age three, Maxwell begged her mom for skating lessons after visiting an ice rink inside a local shopping mall. Although a free style skater, she was always on the side dancing away to everyone’s music instead of working on jumps.
“I loved choreography and dancing, so when I was 12, I made the switch to ice dance and never looked back,” Maxwell said.
Devereaux was six years old when he first donned a pair of hockey skates for a public session in Pittsburg, PA.
“I was so worried that everyone was going to laugh at me if I couldn’t skate, that I waited until the last five minutes to take the ice,” Devereaux explained. “I immediately fell in love with the feeling of skating around the rink.”
A few weeks later Devereaux watched Michelle Kwan win her first world title. He was instantly captivated and knew he wanted to be a figure skater. He focused solely on singles until age 13 when he began working with a dance coach to improve his skating skills.
“(In 2009) I was extremely burnt out and was dealing with my mom being ill, and just wanted a break,” Maxwell said. “I took a solid year off away from the rink to go to community college and work on some off-ice dancing (hip-hop). After that year I regrouped, coached, and attended college; my passion for skating was renewed.”
In 2013, inspired by therapy sessions that her mom received after her stroke, she earned a degree in Speech Language Pathology from North Texas State in Denton.
“My mom was my number one cheerleader and will continue to be with me in everything I do,” Maxwell shared. “I wouldn’t change retiring from skating those five years because I got to spend them with my family.”
After retiring, Devereaux began coaching immediately. He was involved in partnering dance tests, competing in pro-am competitions, and skating in ice shows. In 2012, he earned a degree from the University of Pittsburgh with a double major in Psychology and Communications.
“I’ve never had second thoughts about taking time off I truly believe everything happens for a reason,” Devereaux said. “I don’t think Charlotte and I would have ended up skating together if I had continued.”
The team currently trains at Arctic Edge in Canton, MI with Marina Zoueva as their primary coach along with Johnny John, Oleg Epstein and Massimo Scali. During the summer, they skate Tuesday-Saturday 4-5 hours on ice and 1-2 hours off ice doing ballet, ballroom, and strength training. The staff also brings in acrobatic, physical acting, and dance professional specialists.
“It’s amazing how many people we get to work with to better our craft,” Maxwell explained. “Also, the list of inspiring world-class skaters that come to our rink throughout the year is endless and is an advantage in our own training.”
Maxwell & Devereaux are very excited about their new programs. They chose the blues and swing for their short dance.
“Charlie White choreographed a playful, musical blues and a high-energy swing,” Maxwell said. “The dance is passionate, playful and definitely a lot slower than the Ravensburg Waltz from last season.”
The free dance, choreographed by Shae Zukiwsky, is a modern take on Romeo and Juliet.
“We wanted to tell the story of Romeo and Juliet (as) if they got to say goodbye to one another,” Maxwell said. “The first part of our program is the classic Romeo and Juliet “March”. The second half is “Goodbye My Lover” by James Blunt.”
In June, Maxwell and Devereaux won the 2016 Chesapeake Open and earned a personal best in the short dance. At the recent Dance Camp, their programs received a positive response and reinforcement.
Also at the Camp the team took a hip-hop class from Dancing With the Stars performer, Serge Onik, and Maxwell was invited to dance solo with the instructor.
“I LOVED the hip-hop class with Serge,” Maxwell said. “He’s incredible! It was exciting to be called out to dance with him. We just had so much fun.”
The team next competes at the Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships July 29-30.