International Pairs The International Skating Union (ISU) is hosting its annual pairs seminar in Novogorsk, Russia, this week, organized by esteemed Russian coach, Nina Mozer. Fifteen teams from seven nations (Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, the U.S., Uzbekistan and, of course, the host country, Russia) are attending the […]

For probably the first time, the U.S. sent a team – Sarah Feng and TJ Nyman – who are attending the seminar with their coach Dalilah Sappenfield. Reigning U.S. pairs champions Ashley Cain and Timothy Leduc wanted to attend, but had to cancel the trip due to visa issues.

Given the level of skaters in Novogorsk, the lessons are focused on fine-tuning their skills. “They know how to lift, they know how to do a throw, but now let’s concentrate on making that better, working on the quality of skating, working on the quality of pair moves,” Cyr said. “Being a developmental seminar, we encourage new people to come, but they certainly have to be committed to one another and to the pairs program.”

I attended on the first day of the seminar and observed the teams working on and off the ice with different experts. They had two hours of on-ice training and two hours of off-ice training in the morning, followed by a two-hour break and then another four hours of on and off ice training in the afternoon. The sessions consist of working on pairs and solo elements on and off the ice, stroking and choreography, dance classes and off-ice training classes. While some of the coaches always work at the seminars, there are also new ones each year.

“Nina tries to get the best of the best (coaches). We’ve had a variation of dance coaches and have basic coaching on ice. Last year we had hip-hop. Every year we’ve had something different because the quality of skating here is much better than in Berlin,” Cyr explained.

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