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Thread: Ice Dance Training in Quebec for U.S. Dancer

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    Ice Dance Training in Quebec for U.S. Dancer

    This is my first forum post; thanks for reading. I have a skater that has been on the ice since age 5, been ice dancing since age 9. Skater is a participant in the USFSA National Solo Dance Series (in her third year; qualified for and skated at Nationals both previous years). Since January of 2017 we have exhausted our training options where we live. There are no ice dance schools remotely close, and we have one lesson each a week with a couple of different coaches whose rinks are far away (7 hours return trip one day a week is our worst commute).

    We had planned to train in Canada this summer because there seems to be more boys in the sport than in the U.S. (daughter is eligible for dual citizenship). Last year we had a few US tryouts, spent considerable money on travel, with no partnership formed. So we are looking to up her training and spend some time back in Canada.

    Originally, we had hoped to be in Montreal (love the city, I speak French as does my daughter), but haven't gotten any responses to our queries or one of our coach's queries (a former international ice dancer). It's overwhelming to try and guess which rinks have great training programs for younger skaters (Intermediate - Novice level). Does anyone know of some of the more competitive rinks/coaching teams with quality skaters coming out of the pipeline? Plus, we don't know which rinks have summer closures! Basically, I've made four separate overtures: *crickets*. Summer is here and I've run out of time.

    (If I seem to be focused on Quebec it's because I dread coach-hopping a ton and need to find a stable city with all the on and off-ice training available in one region. Spouse would not be relocating but telecommuting when possible.)

    Any leads would be greatly appreciated. Take care!

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    I know that the USFS maintains a database of pairs skaters looking for a partner. I don't know at what level the database starts and/or if there is a similar database for ice dancers.

    My point - I would reach out to the Canada Federation to see if they have such a database. If so and your daughter qualifies, I would add her name to it ASAP.

    Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by theblade View Post
    Does anyone know of some of the more competitive rinks/coaching teams with quality skaters coming out of the pipeline? Plus, we don't know which rinks have summer closures! Basically, I've made four separate overtures: *crickets*. Summer is here and I've run out of time.
    There is a big ice dance center in Hackensack, with a lot of younger dancers coming up and many coaches.

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    Thanks for the responses! I really appreciate it. So concorde, is that a separate database than IcePartnerSearch? We have been using that; what I have concluded is that most partnerships happen at the rink, so most boys are paired up before needing IPS, due to their smaller numbers of availability.

    We are also familiar with the Hackensack complex (by general name and such, haven't visited). But they seem to have enough females training there already. Still, something to consider...

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    If you are open to Toronto, Carol Lane (coach to Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier) runs Ice Dance Elite. They work with skaters at that level as well. They are associated with the Scarboro Skating Club, so you can look them up on the web and send a query directly to Carol Lane as they post the coaches contact info on the site.

    www.sfsc.on.ca

    My kid skated there one summer, but he decided to go into Pairs (ice dance definitely was not his thing)

    You could also try reaching out to Skate Canada to see if they can help?

    I know a former national level ice dancer who is active in the world of figure skating - if you are open to other options I can ask for you - feel free to PM me if you want me to explore further.

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    Quote Originally Posted by theblade View Post
    Thanks for the responses! I really appreciate it. So concorde, is that a separate database than IcePartnerSearch? We have been using that; what I have concluded is that most partnerships happen at the rink, so most boys are paired up before needing IPS, due to their smaller numbers of availability.
    My daughter has always been a singles skater so I have never checked out the USFS database. I have only heard skaters talk about using it and those were higher level skaters (novice and up).

    I agree that at the lower levels, in rink matches seem to be the way to go.

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    You might also want to the Patinage Quebec and look under the coaches section and contact a coach of your choice.

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    Primary dance coaches in Montreal region typcially involve this list:

    Julien Lalonde, Mylene Girard, Lynn McKay
    *Patrice Lauzon, Pascal Denis, Josée Piché, Marie-France Dubreuil, Romain Haguenaurer
    Shawn Winter and Élise Hamel

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    Again, thanks for the thoughtful replies. They are appreciated!

    A couple of the Gadbois coaches have been contacted (mostly for leads to the coaches handling the Intermediate/Novice levels - if you'll excuse my speaking in American terms, I have to get up to speed on Canadian equivalents). I have to wonder if inquiring in French would be more helpful! My grammar's rusty and I forget words because it's not being used here in the U.S. I was speaking with a skater yesterday who did time at Gadbois (Junior/Senior level) and she recommended being tenacious. But I don't wish to be rude and all the coaches are in the midst of a scheduling avalanche with the amount of teams on their current roster. So event though I started making inquiries months ago, I am realistic about how much of a priority random non-resident younger skaters are (ie. not much). Especially with where we are in the season.

    Due to my daughter's age (we have some time but realistically, any *decent* partnership that is established is kept intact due to their sheer rarity) I am cool with working with development coaches. She needs to be challenged and they will definitely help her. However, I hate the idea of switching coaching camps with a passion, it is a very sensitive thing. I've managed to avoid a fair amount of that thus far but know that it's possible in the future. So I hope to find a school where both she and the coaching staff can work effectively together (fit is everything; it's just a fact of skating that not every skater/coach combination can work).

    In the U.S. this year, I am seeing more sibling partnerships. It's a bit of a trend. And after our tryout experiences, they can make a lot of sense. Not a position we are in.

    Small Animal, thank you for chiming in. Yep, Toronto is definitely a viable option. Of course Gilles/Poirier are amazing and their camp is so creative, with confident content/packaging. Once I figure out how to PM I will contact you.

    And kkennedy, your suggestion to look under Patinage Quebec (and examine the coaches section) is something I've thought about. Thank you. But I feel a bit clueless when it comes to figuring out who can help me move forward with my questions, either from Skate Canada or Patinage Quebec. Each dance coaching group has it's own identity and figuring out where a skater may fit in best with their philosophy is hard when you are not in the training loop (ie. I have more of a sense of the American schools from our travels last year, although there are many changes at the moment).

    (By the way, concorde, I always find your posts informative and helpful, even if our family is pursuing a different discipline. Good luck to your daughter during the competitive season!)

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    I don't know anything current, but a friend of mine used to do ice dance around that level with the Kitchener-Waterloo Skating Club and told me to mention it. And Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir trained there back in the day until they moved to Marina and Igor. They worked with Paul MacIntosh and Rebecca Babb who are still there, so I guess that suggests they can do good developmental coaching.

    Like I said, I don't really know details though. And Kitchener-Waterloo is a ways outside Toronto.

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    I just want to chime in to endorse Paul MacIntosh as well. He has produced skaters with great technique and he's a great guy as well. K-W is not a major city, but I have friends who train there and it's a good environment.

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    That is great to know. Scott Moir seems pretty set on getting the next gen of boys on the ice, and that is crucial. Our problem is honestly having a car in the country; if we can train in a city setting, we can keep that cost down - so Mariposa and K-W would be a commuting challenge, in that regard. Due to work considerations packing up the entire family is not feasible at this time; I would go with her since she is still a minor and try to live as simply/streamlined as possible (tiny apartment, subway/ride-share, etc.) as we get a feel for things. Were we part of the 0.01%, this would not be a consideration.

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    Thank you to everyone that has responded to my post thus far; the advice has been excellent and every option is being considered. Truly the kindness of strangers!

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