Meet ice dancer Shin Lei Case

by Anne Calder | Photographs by Daphne Backman and Robin Ritoss

“My first title is Shin Lei. The skating group is aware of me by Lei Lei.” – Shin Lei Case

Shin Lei Case is a solo ice dancer who lives and trains in Dallas, Texas. She not too long ago shared her story with IDC. In addition to skating, she loves mountaineering, spending time with buddies, volunteering and hanging out together with her canine Hershey.

An solely baby, she was born in Foshan, China in 2002 and adopted by her mother and father the next yr. She is extraordinarily grateful for all they’ve given her and all the pieces they do like her father’s willingness to study to skate to be her protector.

“I used to be little or no once I began skating, so my dad really began as nicely to forestall me from getting run over throughout public periods,” Shin Lei revealed. “He nonetheless skates each week and competes in native ISI competitions.”

Her skating journey started shortly after seeing Sasha Cohen’s 2006 Olympic efficiency on tv. The four-year-old was captivated by Cohen’s flexibility, artistry, and talent to drift throughout the ice.

An invite to a celebration at an area mall with an ice rink had her all excited a few doable skating celebration. Sadly it was upstairs overlooking the rink. Afterwards she begged her mom to let her go on the ice.

“My mother caved and signed me up for a free introductory course,” Shin Lei recalled. “We discovered the smallest pair of skates that they had, and I took off operating. Since that day, I’ve by no means regarded again.”

The younger Texan started with singles. By 2013, she had partnered with Maxim Zharkov and two years later they competed on the 2015 U.S. Nationwide Championships in Greensboro, NC.

“It’s my favourite skating reminiscence,” Shin Lei mentioned. “It was our first aggressive season collectively, so we have been thrilled to have certified. The expertise of competing on the identical venue because the athletes I’ve regarded as much as since I used to be little was wonderful.”

“I went operating over to the primary space the place Madison Chock and Evan Bates have been training and was utterly star-struck. From seeing all of the media groups to using within the athlete shuttles, it’s undoubtedly one thing I’ll all the time bear in mind.”

The next yr the crew received the Juvenile Dance pewter medal on the 2016 U.S. Nationals in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Though Shin Lei shortly realized she loved the dance facets of skating greater than singles, she continued competing in them up via Novice. In 2017, she switched solely to bounce.

After a second partnership ended, she nonetheless needed to do dance. That’s when her Coach, Logan Giulietti-Schmitt, instructed solo dance. She knew little concerning the self-discipline, so was a bit reluctant, however determined to present it a attempt.

“After my first season in solo dance, I used to be hooked,” Shin Lei mentioned. “I actually loved the camaraderie and over all environment. It’s a really tight-knit group, and everyone seems to be so supportive of each other.

“I like the technical side of solo dance – with the ability to give attention to my edges and refine them is one thing I’m actually drawn to. Once I competed in partnered dance, my focus was much less on edge high quality and extra on determining methods to skate alongside one other particular person with out falling. I don’t have to fret about partnering or getting my blades tousled with another person’s. I like the sensation of being free and skating on the ice on my own.”

Shin Lei attended Texas public faculties all via her coaching and in 2020 graduated from James W. Martin Excessive College in Arlington.

When it got here time for faculty, the College of Texas, Arlington was an ideal match. The campus was solely 16 minutes from the rink the place her coaches Logan Giulietti-Schmitt and Brooklee Han taught. She studied biology with an emphasis in pre-medicine. As well as, she took on a number of management roles in a number of campus organizations. Shin Lei graduated in 2023.

“Throughout my final semester, I took 18 credit score hours – which was essentially the most I had ever taken,” Shin Lei defined. “It was troublesome balancing faculty with skating and my extracurriculars. I bear in mind not getting house till 9 p.m some days and being utterly exhausted each mentally and bodily. Nevertheless, trying again, faculty taught me methods to handle my time, keep organized and never stress concerning the little issues in life.”

These previous two seasons have include some main modifications in her coaching routine. Coach Han had moved to New Hampshire in Could 2021, however was returning periodically to work together with her and another skaters. Originally of the 2022 season, Giulietti-Schmitt left Dallas to teach on the Broadmoor World Enviornment in Colorado Springs, CO.

“Fortunately, when Logan left, my packages have been already choreographed,” the dancer identified. “Brooklee additionally graciously agreed to come back again to Texas to assist me qualify for the 2022 Nationwide Solo Dance Remaining.”

On the occasion, Shin Lei received the Worldwide Solo Sample Dance bronze medal.

“Since final September, I’ve been coaching by myself. It’s been an enormous adjustment studying to push myself in follow fairly than have my coaches be that driving drive,” Shin Lei famous. “I used to be going to campus day-after-day for sophistication and ending my final yr of faculty, so transferring to Colorado or New Hampshire wasn’t an possibility.”

Throughout this Solo Dance season, Shin Lei and Coach Han did FaceTime classes. They exchanged LiveBarn movies of weekly practices for suggestions. Periodically Han went to Dallas to work together with her and different skaters.

The coed-athlete additionally took just a few journeys to Colorado Springs and New Hampshire throughout faculty breaks. She not too long ago began working with Daniil Barantsev domestically in Dallas to assist together with her sample dances and skating abilities, which she credit for being an enormous assist.

Shin Lei lists blues and cha cha as her favourite rhythm dance music types. Since she prefers contrasting the 2 packages, she often gravitates towards tender, lyrical music for the free dance.

“This season the rhythm dance type is Latin,” Shin Lei defined. “I’m skating to “My Love”, “Dreaming of You” and “No Quiero Saber”. I actually just like the quick, upbeat, cha cha parts of the Selena-inspired program and discover that it enhances the rumba portion. For my free dance, I’m skating to “Hear” by Beyoncé.”

“The rhythm dance was choreographed by Coach Giulietti-Schmitt. In February I labored with Randi Sturdy on the Solo Dance Camp to present this system a “Latin” really feel. Coach Han had already choreographed the free dance final September after the 2022 Nationwide Solo Dance Remaining.”

Again in 2020 when the usSolo Dance Collection and Remaining have been cancelled because of the Covid pandemic, Shin Lei was in search of one thing to work on. She determined to check via her Worldwide sample dances.  On the time, an area dance decide instructed that she begin trial judging.

“I noticed this as an exquisite alternative to present again to the game that has taught me so many life classes, and to my house Dallas FSC that has supported me via my total skating journey, so I began the method of turning into a take a look at decide.

“I used to be fortunate to have the ability to get my Gold Dance and Singles take a look at appointments domestically and never need to journey anyplace. I’m at present engaged on my dance competitors appointment and hope to characterize the U.S. at worldwide competitions sometime.”

For the reason that ISU not too long ago voted to incorporate Solo Dance as a self-discipline for worldwide competitors, Shin Lei has an excellent probability of efficiently reaching this aim.

“I’m excited for the alternatives worldwide competitors will carry to the group. The self-discipline has been rising exponentially right here within the U.S. and now hopefully worldwide,” she famous. “Solo Dance supplies one other avenue of aggressive skating, and I’m wanting to see the place it is going to be 5-10 years from now,”

Shin Lei’s skilled aim is to attend medical faculty and turn out to be a doctor. After her Could commencement, she is taking a few hole years to review for the MACT and discover different pursuits exterior of college.

Whereas the ice dancer has been lucky to not have had any main skating accidents up thus far, some freak accidents have piqued her curiosity and uncovered her to the medical area.

“Once I was little, I flipped the other way up and landed on the ice face first, so I obtained to see the within of an ambulance,” she disclosed. “Then once I was 12, my dance associate ran over my finger, and I ended up within the emergency room. The physician was tremendous good and calming, which made the truth that he was about to suture my finger with only a needle and thread, so much higher.

“In my senior yr of highschool, I began volunteering at a medical clinic, which supplies free healthcare to underinsured and uninsured sufferers. I’ve been in a position to shadow quite a lot of completely different specialties and acquire publicity to the medical facet of medication.

“Throughout faculty I grew to become concerned with the Minority Affiliation of Pre-Medical College students (MAPS). My favourite expertise with the membership was visiting a cadaver lab. With the ability to view the complexities of the human physique and maintain somebody’s coronary heart within the palm of my hand was fascinating.

“My present pursuits are in sports activities drugs, bodily drugs and rehabilitation (PM&R) and anesthesiology.”

Shin Lei stood on the rostrum at a number of USFS Solo Dance Collection occasions this season, which certified her for the 2023 Nationwide Solo Dance Remaining, September 14-17 in Glenview, Illinois. She is going to compete in Senior Solo Mixed and Worldwide Solo Sample Dance.