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  1. #1

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    The challenges of finding a suitable pair/dance partner...

    This article includes quotes from U.S. pairs coach Bobby Martin, Taylor Toth, Tim LeDuc, Paul Poirier, Piper Gilles, and Drew Meekins: http://web.icenetwork.com/news/artic...&vkey=ice_news
    Last edited by Sylvia; 05-03-2012 at 04:52 PM. Reason: to correct a name typo
    "Randy [Starkman (1960-April 16, 2012)] lived by the same motto as the rest of us. The Olympics isn’t every four years, it’s every single day. He just got it." --Canadian Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden

  2. #2
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    Thanks for posting this Sylvia. Very interesting and timely! I wish all the new dance and pairs teams great success. And I hope Drew finds his new Julia!

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    Finding a pairs partner for your daughter is very difficult. The commitments are one sided in favor of the male from my viewpoint. We will keep at it as long as it takes.

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    Sylvia - thank you for the link. Very interesting insights. It was very surprizing for me that skaters know within a couple of minutes if skating together will work out.

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    For the parent of a girl trying to get a suitable partner, here are a few thoughts as the parent of a boy:

    * The girls are frequently more advanced than the boys they try out with. To get a partner, you may have to be willing to help the boy test up or skate at a lower level initially than she is qualified for. When our son switched from singles to dance, we picked a partner that had tested through most of senior compulsories, but was willing to take our boy through the tests/levels he needed to be competitive from bronze up. A couple of years before that, he had considered making the switch, but the girl he partnered with to start dance tests was bored going through them again, so my son quickly decided to return to just doing single skating. (If fans want to see more pairs and dance teams form, they also need some patience to let the boys develop - some of whom develop a lot later in the game.....I HATE reading the blogging some do bashing some of the pairs boys!)
    * After a certain level in skating, perhaps intermediate/novice, a girl who really wants a partner must be able to relocate. There aren't many boys willing to relocate if they have many partner choices.

    Finally, if as 'Winterone' mentions that many commitments are one sided, I will say that not all boys and their families are. After the partnering decision is made, it should be an equal commitment by all sides (parents, skaters, coaches), or it will not work.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacombSk8rMom View Post
    * After a certain level in skating, perhaps intermediate/novice, a girl who really wants a partner must be able to relocate. There aren't many boys willing to relocate if they have many partner choices.
    The relocation decision IMO has more to do with the coach(es) they want to train with, ages of the skaters, their status in school, the ability of a parent to move with the skater, and if the skaters are in their 20s, their marital status. I can think of many college-age male skaters who have moved to facilitate a partnership and to train with an elite coach in a pair training environment (e.g. Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Michigan, California).

  7. #7
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    No one ever tells you how hard it is to find a partner, especially for girls.

    You go on many try-outs and never hear feedback unless they like you, which is normal in other type of performing arts fields. However, you're not given a timeline of when you'll hear back, so a lot of times you end up putting things on hold because you're waiting to hear.

    Some dance coaches only like to help their boys find partners and let the girls do it on their own. It's VERY difficult to find a coach that will really help you find a partner. So much of it comes to down to the skater and his/her family. Boys generally have it easier because coaches know that more girls will re-locate, so if they find a partner for their boy, then they will have a new team. When a girl is looking for a partner, coaches often know that they might lose their girl because she most likely will re-locate for her partner, so they don't see the value in helping her find a partner and lose business, essentially.

    You have to have very tough skin if you're a girl looking for a partner. You're constantly judged and you often never know why a try-out didn't work out even if you feel like you skated well together.

    I don't agree that you always "know" right off the bat if your partner is the one. My first partner and I tried out a year before we actually teamed up. The first time we tried out I never heard back from him or his coaches. Over a year later, we tried out again and they apparently knew I was "it" after day one. A lot of it is timing.

    Finding a partner can be very discouraging - and there's not many coaches out there willing to help, especially in the big camps. It's almost easier to find someone under lesser-known coaches because they want teams and they're hungry and they'll work to find you someone. Coaches who already have a stable of dancers don't see the value in developing teams when so many teams already flock to them.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by icy_glaze View Post
    No one ever tells you how hard it is to find a partner, especially for girls.

    You go on many try-outs and never hear feedback unless they like you, which is normal in other type of performing arts fields. However, you're not given a timeline of when you'll hear back, so a lot of times you end up putting things on hold because you're waiting to hear.

    Some dance coaches only like to help their boys find partners and let the girls do it on their own. It's VERY difficult to find a coach that will really help you find a partner. So much of it comes to down to the skater and his/her family. Boys generally have it easier because coaches know that more girls will re-locate, so if they find a partner for their boy, then they will have a new team. When a girl is looking for a partner, coaches often know that they might lose their girl because she most likely will re-locate for her partner, so they don't see the value in helping her find a partner and lose business, essentially.

    You have to have very tough skin if you're a girl looking for a partner. You're constantly judged and you often never know why a try-out didn't work out even if you feel like you skated well together.

    I don't agree that you always "know" right off the bat if your partner is the one. My first partner and I tried out a year before we actually teamed up. The first time we tried out I never heard back from him or his coaches. Over a year later, we tried out again and they apparently knew I was "it" after day one. A lot of it is timing.

    Finding a partner can be very discouraging - and there's not many coaches out there willing to help, especially in the big camps. It's almost easier to find someone under lesser-known coaches because they want teams and they're hungry and they'll work to find you someone. Coaches who already have a stable of dancers don't see the value in developing teams when so many teams already flock to them.
    Thanks for this inside information. It sounds like you have first-hand experience. It sounds like a tough scene. I hope things are going well for you now.

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    I am very sad to admit I was under the impression that finding a partner is all about the money--who is going to pay for ice time, lessons, costumes and travel; and that the boys and their coaches call all of the shots. I am sad because girls and their coaches and families should have an equal part. But it's all a numbers game, way more girls than boys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AJ Skatefan View Post
    Thanks for this inside information. It sounds like you have first-hand experience. It sounds like a tough scene. I hope things are going well for you now.
    Thank you AJ Skatefan!! It definitely is a tough scene and there is unfortunately more to finding a partner than people like to tell you.

    Also, I don't know how to double quote, but Lacey, you're correct that a lot of finding a partner has to do with who has the $$$. Some guys turn down a stronger girl for a weaker one if the weaker one can pay. The equal partnerships, where couples split the costs, is the ideal way to go. It can get complicated when a girl is paying for the guy; it can become controlling.

  11. #11

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    How discouraging that must be Any advice for finding a partner for the parents of a future pairs girl?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cant Skate View Post
    How discouraging that must be Any advice for finding a partner for the parents of a future pairs girl?
    First of all, be persistent.
    Go on www.icepartnersearch.com to see what boys are available. If your daughter isn't listed yet, list her on there.

    Make sure she's with a coach who will help her find a partner - someone who has "connections" and will make phone calls on your daughter's behalf to ask other coaches if they have boys. Not all boys are listed on IPS because the sheer number of replies they receive from there can be daunting and when you get to a certain level, you kind of "know" every girl that's available more or less (or so they think).

    If she's with a coach who hasn't show any kind of inclination or desire to have a pair team or help your daughter find a partner, then she should consider switching coaches even if the coach is great..... because, as I said above, several boys don't post their profiles on IPS, so the only way to know they're available is if you train near them, know someone who knows them, or have a coach that can talk to other coaches with pairs boys. It can be a dead end if you're great at pairs, but have no partner.

    It's important that she's working with someone on pair elements all the time because boys want girls with experience.

    You'll learn that you have to be your own advocate in this process- email coaches that your daughter would be interested in working with and ask if they have boys. Better yet, have your daughter do it. Sometimes coaches are busy and don't respond quickly, but just be persistent.

    It's very unlikely to be "discovered" in skating. There aren't skating scouts, so you have to put yourself out there in a professional way and always be nice!! The skating world is very small and everything comes back to you eventually.


    Best of luck!! I truly hope your daughter finds the partner she's looking for!

  13. #13

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    In all that sense, I think V/T's match was heaven-made. That is just unbelievable!

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    Quote Originally Posted by icy_glaze View Post
    First of all, be persistent.
    Go on www.icepartnersearch.com to see what boys are available. If your daughter isn't listed yet, list her on there.
    Also, be aware that pair coaches are always looking for potential female partners at qualifying competitions. They notice teens and adults who are 5'0" or smaller and 100 lbs. or less, and will take notice of the jumps that person can do. They are looking for skaters who do fairly well at the novice and junior levels. There are quite a few elite male skaters who have "trained" female singles skaters to do pairs elements (e.g. Marley/Brubaker, Baga/Toth). Coaches also look at lower level pair girls to see if any of them might be good candidates for moving up if they split with their current partners (that's how Rockne and Dalilah found Keauna, who split after Nationals with Ethan Burgess).

    I think it's safe to say that pair coaches are scouting prospects all the time, and the best place to be spotted is at a qualifying competition, which for pairs means Sectionals or Nationals. If you aren't going to those two competitions, try going to non-qualifying competitions where there are pair events, like Broadmoor Open, Skate Detroit, and Liberty. You could email a pair coach ahead of time to express your interest and arrange a meeting at one of those competitions, and then that coach could look at your skater performing under pressure.

  15. #15

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    The Canadian Ice Academy is holding a Pairs Tryout in Mississauga, ON on Saturday, May 26 from 2-4 pm - additional info links: http://icepartnersearch.com/auditions.php
    "Randy [Starkman (1960-April 16, 2012)] lived by the same motto as the rest of us. The Olympics isn’t every four years, it’s every single day. He just got it." --Canadian Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden

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