New Crew Collection: Anna Waugh & Nikolai Balabardin

Anna Waugh (12) and Nikolai Balabardin (15) are a brand new U.S. intermediate ice dance staff this season. 

Inform us about every of your skating journeys, together with any particular reminiscences.
Anna Waugh (AW): My first steps on ice was at 17 months outdated. At age 3.5 years outdated I began Be taught to skate. My first competitors was in 2015 , I used to be 4 years outdated. I completed in 2nd place, my mother offered me enormous lollipop after this competitors!! To this present day, I like to compete!

I did freestyle for five years, I made a decision to start out ice dance with companion additionally … in our first competitors we bought a gold medal. We had been so excited! It was good skating 12 months with quite a lot of medals… and at finish of skating season 2021 we certified for ice dance remaining and have become Nationwide Improvement staff members in Juvenile! We certified for Nationwide Improvement Crew in 2022 as effectively, in intermediate.

Nikolai Balabardin (NB):I began skating after I was 3 years outdated as a result of each of my dad and mom are skating coaches and it was simpler to have me on the ice, quite than simply dangle across the area. I landed my first axel at 5rys outdated and at 6yrs outdated, I used to be the pre-juvenile champion of Alberta, Canada. A few of my most particular reminiscences are assembly and skating with a few of America’s best skaters in Solar Valley, Idaho. I’ve shared the ice with Jason Brown, Nathan Chen and Polina Edmonds. I used to be additionally very fortunate to have been invited to dinner with Nathan’s Mother to observe him skate within the Solar Valley Ice Present.

What made you select ice dance?
(AW): My coach Mathew Gates, and in addition my favourite skater- Madison Hubbell.

(NB): I selected to change from freeskate to ice dance as a result of I like the sensation of gliding on the ice. I’ve landed jumps as much as triple salchow, however I all the time most popular when my skates had been on the ice, as a substitute of the air.

Inform us about you and your households. Do you have got siblings? Do in addition they determine skate? Do you have got hobbies?
(AW): I don’t have siblings. Mother likes to skate too and he or she sews all my costumes! My father is a baseball fan, however he’s grew to become ice dance fan now too!

(NB): My dad and mom are each determine skating coaches in Kerrisdale, Vancouver, British Columbia. My Mama is Canadian and my Papa is Russian. They met in Disney on Ice, the place they skated and toured for six years. I’ve an 11yr outdated sister that additionally skates. She is at the moment skating within the Pre-novice degree.

How and when did your partnership start? (Companion Search, coaching mate, and so on.) Describe the tryout? 
(AW): After we broke up with my outdated ice dance companion, my coach discovered me Nikolai, from Canada. At March this 12 months, after 10 days of attempting out, we determined to skate collectively as a staff. Our journey with Nikolai began 5/17/2023 when he relocated to North Carolina.

(NB): Mathew Gates, our coach, contacted my dad and mom by e-mail after seeing my profile on Companion Search. My dad and mom met Anna’s dad and mom on Zoom, and there was an immediate connection. Anna’s household was so heat, pleasant, and her Mother may talk simply with my Papa as she is speaks Russian. We organized a time for me to go to North Carolina the place I attempted-out with Anna. I used to be there for about 2 weeks and I actually loved not solely skating with Anna, however the coaching surroundings and coaches Mathew Gates and Sasha Zaretsky.

What do you already like most about dancing along with your new companion?
(AW): Nikolai is a tough working man, he has superb skating abilities. He likes to skate loads, like me. We each love skating and we get alongside nice!

(NB): I actually loved how we picked up the dance spins and transition actions
shortly. Anna can also be filled with power and is tremendous pleasant. She is straightforward to get together with and I believe that she’s going to assist carry out my enjoyable aspect as I’m quieter and extra shy.

What are you every most enthusiastic about for the brand new partnership?
(AW): I’m very excited for the brand new season with Nikolai, excited to progress in new skating abilities and to hopefully impress everybody! We wish to qualify for finals and in addition to qualify for Nationwide Improvement Crew!

(NB): I’m most enthusiastic about competing to see how far and effectively we will to collectively.

The place do you practice? (Location, services, dance mates, lessons, and so on.)
(AW): We’re coaching at Excessive Ice Heart, Elite Coaching Crew, Indian Path, North Carolina. We have now a mixture of freestyle & ice dancers at our rink. There are at the moment 7 groups coaching in our staff from pre-juvenile degree as much as Senior – World/Worldwide degree.

(NB): We will probably be coaching on the Elite Skating Academy within the Excessive Ice Heart in
Indian Path, NC. I don’t know many skaters but, however I look ahead to assembly all of them quickly.

Describe your coaching schedule. How usually do you skate? Do you additionally go to highschool? 
(AW): Favourite topic? We’re skating 6 day every week, 4 hours a day. Additionally, we’re doing ballet, ballroom, power and conditioning. We additionally assist with Be taught to skate lessons at our rink . I’m doing a homeschooling program. My favourite topic is Arithmetic.

(NB): We will probably be skating about 5 to six days per week, and round 4 hours per day, together with on and off-ice coaching. I will probably be doing home-school subsequent 12 months and my favorite topic is French and Bodily and Well being Schooling.

Do you every have a favourite sample dance? Why?
(AW): My favourite sample dance is Rocker Foxtrot, as a result of I just like the patterns and key factors in it.

(NB): My favourite sample dance is the Argentine Tango as a result of the steps really feel comfy and circulate collectively.

Who’re your coaches? Did both of you or each should relocate? If that’s the case, inform us concerning the transfer(s).
(AW): My most important coach is Mathew Gates, together with Alexandra Zaretsky and Alina Efimova. Nikolai relocated to North Carolina all the way in which from Vancouver, Canada.

(NB): My coaches are Mathew Gates and Sasha Zaretsky. I’ve to relocate to North
Carolina from British Columbia, Canada. I really feel nervous to be away from my household for thus lengthy, however I’m excited to start out my ice dance journey with Anna.

If you happen to may have a lesson with any ice dancer previous/current, who would it not be? Why?
(AW): Madison Hubbell!

(NB): If I may have a lesson with any ice dancer, it might be Shae-Lynn Bourne. She has choreographed a few of my favorite packages and he or she has the wonderful functionality to create all packages to each kind of music. She additionally appears so filled with power, and has great type.

What’s your debut competitors this season?
Our debut competitors was in intermediate degree (sample dances) at Chesapeake open after we skated collectively for about one month. We competed on the Dallas NQS in Texas and completed third.