Harris & Chan embrace the challenges
by Anne Calder | Pictures by Daphne Backman
IDC caught up with Holly Harris and Jason Chan after their current Skate America Free Dance.
The reigning Australian ice dance champions had simply made their worldwide Grand Prix debut on the first occasion of the 2022 Sequence. The dancers who prepare at I.AM, Montreal, Canada completed in fifth place.
“Up to now three weeks after Nebelhorn, we made plenty of modifications within the free dance as a result of we had bother with some ranges and invalidated components,” Chan defined. “We made slightly mistake [today], but it surely was good for the primary outing with the [updated] program.”
Harris was fairly impressed with the group, claiming later that it was in all probability probably the most enjoyable she’s had in a efficiency, and that the group performed the most important half in that have.
“I felt actually related as a staff and the skate total felt actually good,” Harris added. “The gang was superb. There have been even Aussie flags. That was so cool. It was actually pleasing to skate, however with some small errors. The Rhythm Dance was unbelievable additionally.”
“Some small issues to work on for subsequent week at Skate Canada,” Chan confessed, “however fifth place at our first Grand Prix may be very encouraging and one thing to be pleased with.”
Quick ahead every week to Skate Canada Worldwide.
The staff was upset with their eighth place end in Mississauga, however readily admitted doing back-to-back competitions was a problem.
“Skate America was such a excessive being it was our first Grand Prix, and it’s exhausting to proceed on that trajectory. You simply should study to adapt and to go together with it,” Harris stated.
“The essential factor was we didn’t actually give it some thought. We simply chugged alongside and targeted on our job. Now that it’s over we deserve slightly time for a relaxation, then we’ll get again at it subsequent week,” Chan added.
Really, they solely have every week earlier than leaving for the Problem Cup (November 9-13) in Graz, Austria.
Each Harris and Chan got here to the world of ice dance after initially skating as singles.
Harris was born in Sydney, Australia and commenced skating when she was 5.
“Once I was seven, I began going abroad to coach. Small journeys changed into bigger ones and ultimately I used to be there largely full time,” Harris defined. “I skilled in Colorado Springs for about seven years in singles.“
In 2016, Harris received silver on the Junior Volvo Open Cup in Riga, Latvia. The identical yr she additionally competed on the Dresden, Germany JGP after which represented Australia on the 2017 World Junior Championships in Taiwan. Shortly thereafter, she closed the door on her singles skating profession.
Harris had a few concussions and was afraid of hitting her head once more, so in the course of the prolonged day without work the ice, she made the choice to attempt ice dance.
“I had a concussion doing singles, and it introduced on plenty of stress leaping and all that. My complete profession folks stored telling me I ought to attempt dance, so I made a decision to present it a go, which ultimately introduced me to Montreal. I used to be meant to come back with a earlier companion, but it surely didn’t find yourself occurring, so I discovered myself alone, and Jason was additionally skating alone.”
With three years of ice dancing below her belt, Harris mirrored on what she has grown to like most in regards to the self-discipline.
“Once I was doing singles, the most important a part of skating I liked was the artistry, choreography and telling a narrative on the ice. That’s actually what ice dance is, so it’s an ideal match. I actually get pleasure from sharing it with any individual else. It stunned me how a lot I’m discovering consolation in having any individual on the market with me telling a narrative collectively and creating artwork on ice.”
Chan who beforehand competed for Canada was born in Montreal, as have been his dad and mom. The McGill College graduate can be fluent in French, which might generally be useful and complicated on the similar time.
“It’s humorous generally,” Chan stated with fun. “We’ll be in a lesson and one of many coaches can be talking French, and I’ll be like, YES! YES! Holly can be proper subsequent to me saying, NO! NO! I don’t perceive. Typically I don’t even understand it as a result of it’s so pure.”
Chan started skating when he was five-years-old, however didn’t begin ice dancing till ten years later when he partnered with Valerie Taillefer in 2011.
“I loved the skating, however didn’t get pleasure from leaping. I most well-liked staying on the bottom, so I attempted ice dance and actually loved it,” Chan stated. “Throughout coaching and competitions I shared the expertise with any individual else, so I wasn’t alone on the ice, and that was particular.”
Taillefer & Chan received the Canadian novice dance title in 2014. For the subsequent 4 years they competed at Junior Grand Prix occasions till Taillefer retired after the 2018 Canadian Championships to attend medical faculty.
“After Valerie retired, I skated alone on the I.AM till Holly and I partnered for the 2019-2020 season.”
Harris & Chan made their worldwide debut on the 2019 Challenger Sequence Warsaw Cup in November, adopted by successful the Australian Championship in December after which competing on the 2020 4 Continents in Seoul, Korea.
Then got here Covid-19 and a collection of worldwide and Canadian cancellations the place the Australians have been scheduled to debut. This included the March 2020 World Championships in Montreal and Skate Canada Worldwide in October. Their 2020 and 2021 Australian Nationals have been additionally cancelled, so 2022 would be the first alternative for them to defend their title.
The staff opened their present season in August by successful the bronze medal on the inaugural Britannia Worldwide Cup in Sheffield, Nice Britain. They completed seventh on the CS Nebelhorn Trophy just a few weeks later.
Harris & Chan mentioned the packages and music they’ve chosen for this season.
The 2022-2023 Senior Rhythm Dance requires a minimum of two totally different dance types/rhythms chosen from: Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Mambo, Cha Cha, Rumba and Samba. There isn’t a sample, as a substitute a brand new Choreographic Rhythm Sequence has been added. The Sample Dance Sort Step Sequence is now evaluated as one unit with a mixed stage for each companions.
The Australian staff selected (Samba) “The Beat” by Watazu, (Cha Cha) “Cha Cha Danzon” by The Latin Drums and (Merengue) “Suavemente – Home Remix by Fred Perry.
“Our rhythm dance is Latin, which is one thing we’ve by no means executed earlier than as a result of we’re a brand new staff,” Chan famous.
Within the final decade, Latin was competed within the 2011-2012 and 2017-2018 seasons each of which have been previous to the forming of their partnership in 2019.
“We actually loved some ballroom dance lessons we did whereas we have been in Australia in addition to some lessons right here in Montreal. That’s a side we actually need to discover, and we actually get pleasure from, so we have been making an attempt to translate that a little bit into our program.
“Our FD music is from the tv present, Euphoria,” Chan stated.“It’s music we wished to skate to for some time. Then the second season got here out, and it was good timing as a result of we had extra music to select from. So now’s the time.
“Our program is choreographed by Olympic Gold Medalist, Guillaume Cizeron. It’s been enjoyable to work with him and see how he strikes, and what concepts he brings to the desk. It was actually inspiring and enjoyable.”
He challenged the staff to execute some new strikes.
“He would do one thing, and we’d inform him we have been okay with it,” Chan famous.
“We might actually attempt, however It was so exhausting, and he would do it so effortlessly” Harris stated. “He might do something. It was actually inspiring. I’d really feel actually dangerous, however ultimately we bought the dangle of issues, and it got here collectively.”
“This program is absolutely particular for us. It’s my favourite to date. We get pleasure from it quite a bit.”
Cizeron wished to be with the staff at each Skate America and Skate Canada Worldwide, however he had obligations in France that prevented him from being on the occasions.
Harris and Chan have set each brief and long-term staff targets for the staff.
“Final yr we certified for the Free Dance at Worlds, which was one in every of our [immediate] primary targets. This yr we’re aiming to set ourselves up for the subsequent 4 years and in addition to enhance on our rating,” Chan stated.
“Our long run aim is to not solely qualify for the 2026 Olympics, however to do fairly nicely in Italy – to realize issues for Australia that haven’t been achieved earlier than. It’s the principle aim – a 4 yr dream.”