Photo Courtesy of Justine Chiu

Last night the scene was set at the annual Scarboro Ice Dance Elite show where all of the school’s ice dance teams were on deck performing this season’s programs. There were ice dancers at every level including Canadian National Team members Kharis Ralph and Asher Hill. I will tell you that I have always really liked this team. I really like their contrasts – Kharis’ demure femininity contrasted against Asher’s powerful masculinity. I also love the fact that they are intelligent, polite and all around great kids!

First up for them was this year’s Free Dance – a tango piece to music from the movie Waking Life that Asher found – several years ago in Grade 10 –  when the movie was shown in his English class and the music stuck with him.

“There is a basic story to the free dance but one that hasn’t yet been fully explored. It is about finding my perfect guy and when the music changes – I have him.” explains Kharis. The skaters agree that it has a playful and mischievious tone. What I noticed was the connection that they have to each other throughout the piece. See what you think?

There are lots of changes to the look of this team on the ice and a new found confidence that is hard not to miss.  Kharis’ body line has somehow elongated giving the team much more”oneness”.  “Obviously last season didn’t go the way we wanted it to so when the season was over we sat down and talked about what we wanted to do.” explains Kharis. “We wanted to re-create ourselves and transform everything from our skills to the way our bodies worked and looked” said Asher. This has happened with lots of hard work and a special attention to ballet, ballroom and work with a lift coach.

Coach Carol Lane comments on her students:

“I feel almost like we are brand new.” This from Asher who talks about the stability that defines their partnership. Kharis takes a little longer to find one word to describe her partnership. She is hesitant but comes up with “devotion” – not in a romantic way but in a way that puts people together for a common goal. For me, I choose the word natural although I could also choose comfortable because of their ease with one another.

For Kharis, skating is “being able to become whoever I want to be.” Kharis wears this more mature presentation like a custom glove.

Acacia Hill is Asher’s twin sister and a former Senior Ladies competitor knows a thing or two about performance: “I see a maturity in them this year. Kharis before was very conservative and has learned to move in a different way. I see them coming out of their shell.” Acacia goes on to define the team by their chemistry, calling them “unique and creative.”

Kharis and Asher are looking forward to competing at Nebelhorn and Skate America with Kharis talking about their renewed determination to be “as prepared as we can be for the upcoming Grand Prix season”

Skating is…”life” for Asher Hill. “I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

It shows.

Here are the skaters’ thoughts on their upcoming season:

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