Alexe Gilles backstage at the Ice Dance Elite Summer 2012 Exhibition

I recently grabbed a quick chat with former American Junior champion Alexe Gilles. It was a lovely surprise to be able to catch her short program during the Scarboro Ice Dance Elite annual summer Exhibition.

What I noticed first about her skating is her beautiful line. She has a lovely lyrical quality to her skating that is highlighted by the choreography provided by Carol Lane and Juris Razgulaevs. I admit I am a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to skating and as much as I can be impressed by amazing jumps, I am always drawn in by choreography that makes the most of the skater and the music.

Speaking with Alexe after the show, my impression was clear: she wants to get back on top.  Back in 2008, the name Alexe Gilles was on everyone’s lips. She was crowned as the 2008 US Junior Champion and took the Bronze medal at the Junior Grand Prix Final that same season. She told me that after a disastrous season this past year where she failed to qualify for US Nationals, she has her eye on getting back to where she was not so long ago. “I miss travelling to international events. I want to get back to that.”

Alexe is charming, well-spoken and immensely likable. Make no mistake though, she has the heart of a fierce competitor which clearly came through in our conversation.  There are some people wondering if she will follow twin sister Piper’s path and eventually compete for Canada. I have to admit that I didn’t think to ask as our conversation was strictly by chance. I will also admit: I’d take her.

Alexe Gilles undoubtedly has the potential and talent to be in the mix. With lessons learned the hard way through heartbreaking disappointment, she is taking nothing for granted.