September 30, 2023


Make Some Fun

Solo Dancing within the Desert (Half II)

9 min read

by Anne Calder

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

Abigail Dalsin is seventeen and will probably 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 type of moving into it after we had a break. I began competing the primary 12 months after that.

IDC: What do you want greatest about Solo Dance?
Abby: I like ice dance as a result of it’s extra concerning the choreography and never simply the abilities. After all, there’s like twizzles and ranges and factors, however I like how its extra about model, and it’s enjoyable. It’s much less hectic. 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 staff 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 house 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 identical to a lift of power. The facet of doing it along with your greatest buddy was such an excellent feeling altogether.

IDC: What’s your skating objective for this season?
Abby: I wish to go to Nationals this 12 months for Mixed and for Patterns. I wish to get private bests and do excellent packages with no deductions. I wish to do higher than final 12 months.

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

IDC: There at all times appears to be a lot camaraderie amongst the Solo Dancers.
Abby: That’s true. After we go to competitions there’s at all times a cheer group on the sidelines. In comparison with freestyle skating it’s extra of a supportive sort of feeling along 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 12 months outdated current Paradise Valley Excessive Faculty graduate who will probably be attending faculty 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. In the future 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 folks 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 expertise. Then I went into non-public 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 figuring out 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 staff and group. Once I grew up with Solo Dance, I used to be one of many few at my rink in Scottsdale. Loads of the skaters had been Freestyle skaters. It was onerous not having numerous 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 group. I really like the way it’s grown.

IDC: Inform me about your faculty alternative.
Shakshi: I made the choice to attend the New School of South Florida primarily on what was greatest for my private targets – each tutorial and skating. Due to skating, I used to be at all times drawn into service-oriented passions and jobs. I’ve a love for science and wish to grow to be a doctor. Throughout my faculty search, I seemed the place I may proceed to skate plus have an excellent well being program. I’ll be learning bio-medical sciences.

IDC: Will you proceed to skate?
Shakshi: My objective now’s 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 wish 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 probably 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 faculty determination.

IDC: What’s your favourite type of music on your packages?
Shakshi: My physique is extra vulnerable to the lyrical instrumental music, however I’ve lately gotten into the extra trendy modern model. 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 the same piece this season for my Free Dance.

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

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

Maria Gonzales is 17 and lately accomplished her junior 12 months 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 attempt 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 believed ice skating could be an ideal alternative after an extended scorching day outdoors within the scorching [Arizona] solar.

IDC: Describe your eleven years of skating.
Maria: I began off on the Freestyle monitor. I like leaping and did it for ten years. 5 years in the past I believed Naomi’s ice dance staff could be a good way to start out one thing new that wasn’t as hectic as leaping. After I handed my Senior Freestyle check final 12 months, I made a decision to simply give attention to 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’ll be able to actually draw your strains and give attention to connecting to the music which I actually respect. 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 type of music for ice dancing?
Maria: I wish to skate to lyrical music extra. I like drawing out my strains. 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 concerning the adjustments within the parts this 12 months.
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 a good way to specific 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 12 months I had all AP lessons. It’s troublesome attending to the rink, again to high school, plus homework and every thing else, however I at all times attempt to find time for skating as a result of it’s my favourite additional curricular exercise. I really like hanging out with my associates and having a stress reduction from college.

IDC: What’s your skating objective 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 12 months it’s the Midnight Blues. We’re an awesome staff 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 12 months. It was an awesome end result of all my skating and was considered one of my targets.  Second was making Nationals final 12 months 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 concerning the nice camaraderie in your Dance group on the Chandler Ice Den.
Maria: Naomi has a staff of 15/16 skaters. We’re all actually shut. We attempt to foster staff work and assist one another at each competitors. It’s a extremely nice setting. Naomi is unquestionably a key consider that. Solo Dance continues to be a small group, so everybody actually is aware of everybody else. All of us attempt to assist one another.

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