When did you start skating and how long have you been ice dancing?
Susan: I started skating at age nine, and I started ice-dance two years ago, at thirteen.
Michael: I first put skates on when I was 4. They were hockey skates, and it was fun. But I wanted to learn how to do jumps, so by the time I was 7, I started taking freestyle lessons. When I turned 12, I began ice dancing and this is now my 4th competitive season.
How did you get started in skating?
Susan: I got started in skating from watching my sister take group lessons. I was always bored watching, so my mom said I should try. I was nervous, but after my first lesson, I realized that this was what I loved!
Michael: When we were 4, my best friend Mike Bullister had weak ankles and his doctor told him that he needed to learn to skate. Mike and his sister Dana invited me to go along. They have since stopped skating, but of course, I stayed in it for the love of the sport.
What made you choose ice dancing?
Susan: I skated with Justin Pekarek, who is now my coach, to try to test my dances, and from the first time, I loved skating with a partner. It wasn’t a tough decision to be more committed to ice-dance than free-style. Then, three local dance judges that I had at a dance test also encouraged me to choose ice-dance.
Michael: When I was 11, I spent 2 weeks training in the summer in Lake Placid. I stayed at Lysek’s, a rooming house for skaters. Since there were 4 boys and a whole lot of girls, the girls decided to teach me how to ice dance. It was so much fun that I came back to Boston and started taking ice-dance lessons.
How long have you been skating together?
Susan: We have been skating together for a year and a half.
Michael: My partner Susan and I are now in our 2 nd competitive season. We first skated together in April of 2006. We had a terrific first year as Juveniles and have really enjoyed working together to compete at the Intermediate level.
What is your favorite compulsory dance?
Susan: I don’t have a favorite dance, all are challenging in their own way which I like. I look forward to starting the silver dances.
Michael: My favorite dances are the Latin dances because you can put your own flavor into your performance and really stand-out. As far as the compulsories that we have competed so far, I liked the fast-paced 14 Step best.
What is your favorite dance element?
Susan: Lifts and Footwork
Michael: Footwork! This element is said to be one of the most challenging because the intricate steps need to be very precise with your partner.
Who are your role models in skating?
Susan: I would have to say everyone that I skate with in Boston. The teams are great to look up to, and they always support us.
Michael: Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto are my favorite ice dance role models because they have been setting a new standard for U.S. ice dancers on the international circuit. I look forward to seeing what new surprises they have in store at every competition.
What do you like best about skating with your partner?
Susan: The feeling of success when we work together to accomplish a new element, and talking and laughing to make what we do fun.
Michael: Susan always has a positive outlook on life. She has a charming attitude that can put anyone in a good mood. We work very hard, but always have fun together.
What do you like most about training with your coaches?
Susan: It’s great because they have two other teams, and we all hang out together on and off ice.
Michael: I like Hilary and Justin’s upfront attitudes. Whether we have a good or bad skate, they always push us toward our goal.
What is your favorite school subject?
Susan: Study, because I get to get my homework pretty much done, so then I can relax when I get home from a long day.
Michael: I love World History because I have a terrific teacher, Mr. Kaplan, who makes the subject very interesting.
What are your hobbies?
Susan: Running, shopping, and hanging out with friends.
Michael: I really enjoy all kinds of sports such as football, baseball, paintball, skiing –both downhill & cross country, and working out at the gym. In addition, I play flute and piccolo in our High School orchestra, and I enjoy ballroom dancing.
Who are your role models (non-skating)?
Michael: My older brother Matt is my role model. He always knew what he loved (animation & special effects) and he wasn’t afraid to pursue his dreams.
What are your non-skating goals?
Susan: I want to keep my grades up in high school, and go to a good college hopefully in Boston, although I am not sure what field I want to study. I want to be self-sufficient, and give back to everyone who has ever helped me.
Michael: Outside of skating, I strive to go to a good college, pursue a career, and eventually have a family.
What is something that ice-dance.com readers may not know about you?
Susan: I was born 5 weeks premature, and I am a survivor of one of the leading causes of still born deaths. I am so grateful for everything I have.
Michael: I am a Boy Scout and am currently working on my Eagle project. Only 8% of all Scouts in the United States make it to this highest level of achievement, so I’m looking forward to completing my project this year.