Harris & Chan embrace the challenges

by Anne Calder | Pictures by Daphne Backman

IDC caught up with Holly Harris and Jason Chan after their latest 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.  

Prior 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 parts,” Chan defined. “We made a little bit mistake [today], but it surely was good for the primary day trip 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 linked as a group and the skate general felt actually good,” Harris added. “The group was superb.  There have been even Aussie flags. That was so cool. It was actually satisfying 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 could be very encouraging and one thing to be happy with.”

Quick ahead per week to Skate Canada Worldwide.

The group was disillusioned 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 laborious to proceed on that trajectory. You simply need to study to adapt and to go along with it,” Harris stated.

“The vital 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 a little bit time for a relaxation, then we’ll get again at it subsequent week,” Chan added.

Truly, they solely have per 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 finally I used to be there principally 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 off the ice, she made the choice to strive ice dance.

“I had a concussion doing singles, and it introduced on plenty of stress leaping and all that. My entire profession folks stored telling me I ought to strive dance, so I made a decision to present it a go, which finally introduced me to Montreal. I used to be meant to return with a earlier associate, 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 cherished 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 take pleasure in sharing it with someone else. It stunned me how a lot I’m discovering consolation in having someone 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 mother and father. The McGill College graduate can be fluent in French, which may typically be useful and complicated on the identical time. 

“It’s humorous typically,” Chan stated with amusing. “We’ll be in a lesson and one of many coaches shall be talking French, and I’ll be like, YES! YES! Holly shall 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 take pleasure in 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 someone 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 group 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 a number of weeks later.

Harris & Chan mentioned the applications and music they’ve chosen for this season.

The 2022-2023 Senior Rhythm Dance requires not less than two totally different dance types/rhythms chosen from: Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Mambo, Cha Cha, Rumba and Samba. There is no such thing as 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 group 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 achieved earlier than as a result of we’re a brand new group,” 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 facet we actually need to discover, and we actually take pleasure in, 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 needed to skate to for some time. Then the second season got here out, and it was excellent 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 group 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 strive, however It was so laborious, and he would do it so effortlessly” Harris stated. “He may do something. It was actually inspiring. I’d really feel actually dangerous, however finally we obtained the cling of issues, and it got here collectively.” 

“This program is actually particular for us. It’s my favourite thus far. We take pleasure in it so much.”

Cizeron needed to be with the group 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 group targets for the group.

“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.”