Solo Dancing within the Desert (Half II)

by Anne Calder

In our closing installment of the Dancing within the Desert collection, we meet Abigail Dalsin, Shakshi Wagh and Maria Gonzales. 

Abigail Dalsin is seventeen and will likely be a senior subsequent semester at Desert Vista Excessive Faculty in Phoenix, Arizona.

IDC: Inform me the way you turned concerned with skating.
Abby: My household is from Minnesota, they usually’re all into hockey. I used to be three once I first skated. It was on an outside rink. After that I attempted hockey, however I didn’t just like the stick, so I ended up simply skating. I took Study to Skate classes. I labored with two coaches, after which I added on ice dance. I turned concerned with it simply earlier than Covid occurred. We had been sort of moving into it after we had a break. I began competing the primary yr after that.

IDC: What do you want greatest about Solo Dance?
Abby: I like ice dance as a result of it’s extra in regards to the choreography and never simply the abilities. After all, there’s like twizzles and ranges and factors, however I like how its extra about fashion, and it’s enjoyable. It’s much less worrying. It’s extra about feeling the music.

IDC: Do you additionally do Synchro?
Abby: I did when it first was beginning right here, however It was an excessive amount of of a time dedication with dance and free skating. It was enjoyable. I just like the workforce facet of it.

IDC: What different hobbies do you’ve moreover skating?
Abby: Skating does take up most of my time, however I like baking. I stress-bake earlier than competitions. This morning I introduced residence baked muffins.

IDC: What’s your favourite skating reminiscence?
Abby: We do Christmas packages yearly. My greatest buddy used to skate right here earlier than she moved to Korea. We did a duet. It was when she was simply studying her axel, so we put one in this system. She couldn’t do all of it week, however in this system, we each landed it. It was like we had been completely in sync. It was similar to a lift of power. The facet of doing it together with your greatest buddy was such a superb feeling altogether.

IDC: What’s your skating purpose for this season?
Abby: I need to go to Nationals this yr for Mixed and for Patterns. I need to get private bests and do excellent packages with no deductions. I need to do higher than final yr.

IDC: You additionally do Shadow Dance with Maria Gonzales. Inform me about that.
Abby: It’s an awesome neighborhood sport. That’s what I like about ice dance additionally. Marie and I are pals, so It’s pure we skate collectively. We skate equally. It’s simply a lot of enjoyable.

IDC: There all the time appears to be a lot camaraderie amongst the Solo Dancers.
Abby: That’s true. After we go to competitions there’s all the time a cheer group on the sidelines. In comparison with freestyle skating it’s extra of a supportive sort of feeling together with your teammates somewhat than stress. Maria and I compete towards one another in mixed, however I by no means felt it was poisonous in any means.

Shakshi Wagh is an 18 yr outdated latest Paradise Valley Excessive Faculty graduate who will likely be attending school in Florida this fall. In 2019 she added teaching on the Ice Den in Scottsdale to her skating resume. Her 13 year-old brother additionally took the Study to Skate classes, however now performs basketball.

IDC: How did you grow to be concerned with determine skating?
Shakshi: My dad and mom had been born and raised in India and didn’t develop up with any winter sports activities or snow round them. At some point after having lunch at a restaurant close to the Scottsdale Ice Den, we had been simply strolling round and noticed the rink. It was a brand new idea for my mom.  She had by no means seen something prefer it or knew individuals labored out on the ice. I used to be six years outdated when she signed me up for “Study to Skate” lessons.

IDC: What led you to Solo Dance?
Shakshi: I initially was taking lessons to spherical out all my fundamental abilities. Then I went into personal classes with Veronica Wargo, a coach on the Scottsdale Ice Den, [which is closer to my home in Paradise Valley than the rink in Chandler.] She grew up as a present performer and ice dancer. She introduced me into sample dances initially. I keep in mind strolling out my canasta tango together with her in off-ice lessons. After understanding my preliminary sample dances together with her I began doing Free Dance and competing in Solo Dance.

IDC: What’s your favourite a part of Solo Dance?
Shakshi: Moreover simply the precise dancing half, I really like Solo Dance due to the workforce and neighborhood. Once I grew up with Solo Dance, I used to be one of many few at my rink in Scottsdale. Plenty of the skaters had been Freestyle skaters. It was exhausting not having lots of dancers to speak to. Then I started dancing with Naomi in Chandler. She launched me to the Solo Dance Group. With the ability to compete and journey with these women has enveloped me into the dancing neighborhood. I really like the way it’s grown.

IDC: Inform me about your school selection.
Shakshi: I made the choice to attend the New Faculty of South Florida primarily on what was greatest for my private objectives – each educational and skating. Due to skating, I used to be all the time drawn into service-oriented passions and jobs. I’ve a love for science and need to grow to be a doctor. Throughout my school search, I regarded the place I may proceed to skate plus have a superb well being program. I’ll be finding out bio-medical sciences.

IDC: Will you proceed to skate?
Shakshi: My purpose now could be to get entangled within the Collegiate Group they provide. I do know I gained’t have the ability to practice as a lot as I do right here on the Ice Den, however I do need to proceed my involvement in skating.

IDC: Share your ideas on making the cross-country transfer.
Shakshi: My household is right here; my coaches are right here. It will likely be an enormous change. I feel it’s thrilling to take a step into a spot unknown and see the place it in the end takes me.

IDC: It sounds very thrilling, and it actually will likely be difficult.
Shakshi: I’m positively excited. I’m glad I made the choice, so in the end I can proceed to skate. That was an enormous a part of why I made that school resolution.

IDC: What’s your favourite sort of music on your packages?
Shakshi: My physique is extra vulnerable to the lyrical instrumental music, however I’ve just lately gotten into the extra trendy up to date fashion. Final season my Rhythm Dance was an Egyptian piece. Along with working with Naomi, Jacqueline Benson right here on the Ice Den helped me to maneuver my physique in a extra summary means than I usually do – to interrupt myself out of my shell. I’m doing an analogous piece this season for my Free Dance.

IDC: What’s your favourite skating reminiscence?
Shakshi: I wasn’t all the time the most effective aggressive skater. I’m all the time my very own largest critic. Mentally, competitions had been very difficult, however I do like to compete. Once I step off the ice, I all the time need to do it once more.

I used to be extra of a performer and present skater. I liked doing all of the Christmas and Annual Exhibits, so these stand out probably the most all through my profession. The half that was actually particular was simply being backstage with all the women preparing for the performances, even when we weren’t on the market beneath the highlight. The rehearsals had been positively my largest and greatest reminiscence.

Maria Gonzales is 17 and just lately accomplished her junior yr at Hamilton Excessive Faculty in Chandler, Arizona.

IDC: What made you select ice skating as a sport?
Maria: Once I was six, I went to Las Vegas on a household trip. We went to an outside rink to strive ice skating. After that I knew determine skating was the game for me. I got here again right here and took Study to Skate classes. I additionally didn’t actually like out of doors sports activities, so I assumed ice skating could be an ideal alternative after a protracted scorching day exterior within the scorching [Arizona] solar.

IDC: Describe your eleven years of skating.
Maria: I began off on the Freestyle observe. I like leaping and did it for ten years. 5 years in the past I assumed Naomi’s ice dance workforce could be an effective way to start out one thing new that wasn’t as worrying as leaping. After I handed my Senior Freestyle check final yr, I made a decision to only deal with ice dance. Freestyle was an awesome journey!

IDC: What do you want greatest about Solo Dance?
Maria: It’s extra of an expressive facet of determine skating than Freestyle, which focuses extra on soar, soar, soar and getting all the weather in. With Solo Dance, you may actually draw your traces and deal with connecting to the music which I actually recognize. Naomi does an awesome job choreographing all my packages. She pays consideration to each single element, each line, each arm, each step. It’s actually nice!

IDC: What’s your favourite sort of music for ice dancing?
Maria: I wish to skate to lyrical music extra. I like drawing out my traces. I additionally like up-beat music, however I feel lyrical music is what fits me greatest. It’s been my Free Dance ever since I began.

IDC: Inform me in regards to the adjustments within the parts this yr.
Maria: In seniors, they took away the Sample and added a few new parts just like the Character Steps within the Rhythm Dance. It’s considered one of my favourite parts. It’s an effective way to precise and connect with the music.

IDC What’s your favourite sample?
Maria: My favourite sample is the Viennese Waltz. I really like waltzes. I additionally just like the Fast Step, which is my different sample I’m competing this season.

IDC: Inform me about balancing college and skating.
Maria: I’m taking a really rigorous course load. This previous yr I had all AP lessons. It’s troublesome attending to the rink, again to high school, plus homework and all the pieces else, however I all the time attempt to find time for skating as a result of it’s my favourite further curricular exercise. I really like hanging out with my pals and having a stress reduction from college.

IDC: What’s your skating purpose for this season?
Maria: I’d wish to make it to the Solo Dance Nationals in all three occasions: Senior Mixed, Gold Patterns and Shadow Dance. I additionally do Gold Worldwide.

IDC: Inform me about skating Shadow Dance.
Maria: Abby Dalsin has been my greatest buddy since I began skating. We’ve been companions for 4 years and love doing the patterns. This yr it’s the Midnight Blues. We’re an awesome workforce collectively, and it’s a lot of enjoyable.

IDC: What’s your favourite skating reminiscence?
Maria: I even have two. First was passing my Senior Free Skate lat yr. It was an awesome fruits of all my skating and was considered one of my objectives.  Second was making Nationals final yr in ice dance. It was my first Senior Mixed, and I used to be in a position to make it in my Senior debut. I additionally competed in Pre-Gold Patterns. Abby and I had been second in Pre-gold Shadow Dance.

IDC: Inform me in regards to the nice camaraderie in your Dance group on the Chandler Ice Den.
Maria: Naomi has a workforce of 15/16 skaters. We’re all actually shut. We attempt to foster workforce work and assist one another at each competitors. It’s a very nice setting. Naomi is unquestionably a key think about that. Solo Dance continues to be a small neighborhood, so everybody actually is aware of everybody else. All of us attempt to assist one another.