Ice Network

Moore's musings: Ice dancers take over Lake Placid

Michigan skater checks in from annual competition in upstate New York
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Holly Moore and partner Daniel Klaber debuted their new short dance at the Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships. -Melanie Hoyt

Holly Moore competed at the Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships, along with partner Daniel Klaber. She kept a blog for icenetwork from the event.

Sunday, Aug. 3

I'm so sad that this is my last blog post from Lake Placid! Well, technically, I am somewhere in New York, or maybe Pennsylvania, but I'd love to share with you all some of my final thoughts and reflections from my lovely week in the Adirondacks.

On Saturday morning, we woke up at what seemed like the crack of dawn to attend the Team USA summer camp. During the camp, we went over dancer-specific rule changes and reviewed general Team USA information about international competition. Listening to the presentation made me realize a couple of things: First, how lucky I am to be part of such an amazing group of skaters, coaches, officials and U.S. Figure Skating coordinators that does all it can to help me achieve my goals; and second, after reviewing international travel procedures, I quickly realized how close the Junior Grand Prix seasonis to beginning! The first JGP is in two weeks, and after that it's just boom, boom, boom, and before I know it, it will be time to go to Greensboro in January. The season has finally begun, and from here on out it's surely going to be one whirlwind of a ride!

When we were reviewing rule changes at the camp, Bob Horen decided to pose a little quiz challenge to all the teams about the rules concerning the new creative spinning movement in the free dance. Naturally, when you put a group of athletes in a room and tell them to compete against one another, it's bound to get intense. As it turned out, Chloe Lewis and Logan Bye, as well as Daniel and myself, tied for the most correct answers!

In true dancer fashion, Bob decided we should settle the tie by having us each create a unique creative spin on the floor, and then having the rest of the group vote on the winner. The four of us decided that we would twist the rules a bit and create one massive four-person spin! After tons of laughs, a few elbows to the head and very tangled arms (yes, it got a little messy), Chloe, Logan, Daniel and I successfully wowed the audience in a new, never-before-seen, four-person spin! I vote that at the end of our free dance, Chloe and Logan jump out to the ice to do our creative spin with us from now on -- who's with me?!

After the Team USA camp fun, and an on-ice monitoring session, we were finally finished with the marathon of a week. It seriously feels like weeks since we competed our short dance!

The night was filled with typical, post-competition ice dancer shenanigans and wandering around the town, running into skaters at every turn. It was a beautiful night to enjoy the town, but it seemed to the skaters that it was an even better night to get some Ben and Jerry's! Let me just tell you that there are few things more dangerous than skaters around ice cream after they compete. It's a guarantee that if you walk by the ice cream shop in Lake Placid on a Saturday night during the summer dance competition, you will probably see at least 20 ice dancers enjoying a big ice cream treat.

There also happened to be the Ironman and a rugby tournament going on in Lake Placid this same weekend, so the town quickly became flooded with triathletes, rugby players and ice dancers. This strange pairing would surely only be found in a place like Lake Placid…

I'll wrap it up with a final reflection on our skating by just saying that we had an absolute blast debuting our programs, and I'm not just saying that. Daniel and I absolutely love to perform and engage the audience in our programs, and there is no better way to begin a season than knowing that we did just that. The competition revealed to us exactly where we need to improve to take our skating to the next level for our international season. The next three weeks are going to be intense, as we push ourselves even further than ever to prove why we are top contenders this year. To me, there is nothing more motivating than coming back to training after a competition, because we know exactly what we need to do to improve our scores and take on this season. Also, I'd like to extend a big congrats to all of my fellow dancers this week. Great job, everyone, and we will all see you next year in Lake Placid!

Thanks to all of you for following me on my journey this week. I hope to share more with you later this season!

Friday, Aug. 1

I think it only seems appropriate to begin this blog post by saying that there is an added amount of pressure to make sure this is the most enthusiastic post thus far! This morning, icenetwork tweeted that my previous posts have rivaled the enthusiasm of my good friend, Jason Brown, which I didn't even think was humanly possible! (Shout out to you, Jason, you're the best!) 

Of course, I had to respond by saying that this was the ultimate compliment because, what else would I think about when blogging, other than #whatwouldJasonBrowndo? I hope I don't let you all down, because he's certainly a tough act to follow, and I would only dream of being as excited about life as him! (I mean, who wouldn't!?)

Now, to my day, which was an exhausting whirlwind to say the least! My morning began the same as most: coffee, yogurt, the TODAY show, Twitter -- oh, and of course, my view overlooking all of Mirror Lake. (I've been coming to this town for eight years, and I'm sure I sound like a broken record, but seriously: This view just never gets old!) 

After a brief morning practice, we had a nice long break before we competed our free dance. During the few hours we had, I decided to do two of my favorite hobbies to stay relaxed: watching Netflix and pinning recipes on Pinterest -- you know, just typical Holly stuff.

Once again, I enjoyed the fashion show of dresses as everyone debuted their programs here in Lake Placid. What could be better than a day dedicated to a near 300 total performances of free dances in sparkly outfits? Just leave it to the fancy dancers to keep the crowd entertained all day! 

Daniel and I were pleased with our skate again today, as we placed first in our group. Again, we can't wait to get back to training to improve some of our levels before we compete internationally in a few weeks, but this was a great start to the season! 

We had an absolute blast out on the ice, and as our music filled the arena, we essentially became Gomez and Morticia in order to share our story and connect with the audience. Our free dance allows us to channel our innate ability to perform as characters; however, this year, we aim to show more maturity and technical ability to exhibit why we should be considered top contenders. The quirky program allows us to do this, while simultaneously showing off our hours of training our technical abilities -- not to mention, we have a the best time out there doing it!

Well, on that note, it's about two and a half hours past my bed time, (yes, I go to bed at 8 p.m.) and we have Team USA camp bright and early tomorrow! I got my post-competition barbecue fix, and I can feel my fake eyelashes from the free dance making my eyelids heavier and heavier. Stay tuned for my final Lake Placid blog! Believe me, I think the car ride home on Sunday will give me plenty of time to gather my final thoughts!

Thursday, July 31

Today was short dance day! In fact, I woke up this morning thinking, "Man, I really can't wait for a day at the rink filled with Latin music, neon dresses and bouncy pony tails!" Let's face it, if you were sporting a sparkly neon dress and a high ponytail, there's a pretty good chance you were a junior dancer shimmying to the samba today. #icedancerproblems

We had a practice skate this morning to get our feet under us, and soon thereafter, it was time to turn up the sass, put on some Shakira and dance the samba. 

We arrived to the rink just in time to see all of the juniors, and as we were warming up off ice, we quickly realized that the next four hours would be filled with some variation of the lyrics "boom chick boom," as well as numerous Shakira and Jennifer Lopez renditions. But, as far as I'm concerned, what could be better than that on a beautiful Thursday afternoon in Lake Placid?! The rink was lively and the crowd was grooving to the energetic music and performances all throughout the day.

Our short dance went pretty well for our very first performance of the season, and we are quite happy with our first-place finish. We truly had a blast out on the ice, and although we have a few things we'll surely need to improve upon for our upcoming international competition, we were excited to strut our stuff and get the crowd and the judges dancing along to our upbeat Shakira medley!

After a long day, I'm currently curled up with a big, fluffy duvet cover and a warm cup of tea, watching a water skiing competition right outside my window on Mirror Lake. (I mean, it's Lake Placid, what else would you expect!)  

I couldn't ask for a better ending to an amazing -- albeit exhausting -- day! Blogging, pajamas and a beautiful view of the lake. Yeah, I could definitely get used to this.

Tomorrow, we'll be debuting our Addams Family free dance. The free dance is my favorite program of ours to date, and I'm beyond excited to turn on the creepy, mysterious Addams Family charm for the audience. Well, I better go start channeling my inner Morticia…

Wednesday, July 30

After a seemingly endless, 10-hour car ride, we have finally made it to beautiful Lake Placid! My trip began Tuesday when I drove from my home in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to my house in Cleveland to make the annual drive with my family. 

As an ice dancer who has been around the block my fair share of times, coming to Lake Placid has become more than routine. From the winding roads lined with pine, to passing Tail O' the Pup BBQ, I have nearly memorized the drive. 

Every single year for the past eight years, I have been fooled into thinking that once we hit Watertown, New York, we are almost there. Sure enough, each and every year, as the excitement builds, I will realize about three hours later that we still aren't there, which results in laughter among all of us in the car.

Soon enough, we pass the signs that say "Adirondacks" with an arrow, and I think to myself: Adirondacks this way, aka no cell phone service for the next few hours. This means that fortifying with Starbucks and Us Weekly magazines is necessary. I soon begin to smell the familiar scent of pine, and know that we must be nearing the lakes. I know that when we passed the bear sculpture by the fire station (which incidentally was holding up a sign that read there is a moderate chance for wildfires today; not sure if that was supposed to be something to find comfort in) and the mini golf course, we will drive down onto Main Street any minute.

I find it funny how every year when I come to Lake Placid, I am completely different, but this place never, ever changes. It's like every year for the past eight years I have been here, time stops when we leave, and commences when the smell of hairspray and the sight of rhinestones envelops the little town.

After all of these years coming here, I know the drill. I know the best places to get lunch (the sandwich shop and creperie on Main Street), the name of every hotel and who resides at each every year they come, the one and only Starbucks to get my iced coffee fix, the concerts that play in the park outside my window on the lake every night we arrive and, of course, the familiarity of the beautiful arena. 

As I'm writing this, I'm enjoying the brisk morning air after my morning run around town (if anyone was out and about, that was me in the pink hat and, of course, my University of Michigan shirt!), sitting in an Adirondack chair overlooking the paddle boarders and water skiers in Mirror Lake, enjoying my morning coffee. There's no better way to spend a morning in Lake Placid -- not to mention, these are the most comfortable chairs ever.

Scrolling through my Instagram and Twitter feeds, I know everyone must be arriving as I see the annual flood of pictures of the beautiful lake and mountain scenery from all of my fellow ice dancers.

Today, we have two practices, and I'm really excited to hit the ice. Every year at the Lake Placid competition, I look forward to debuting our programs for the first time of the season, and seeing all the new programs and costumes from everyone else as well. (It's kind of like a fashion show: ice dance edition.)  

Well, I better go start the hair and makeup extravaganza; as you all know, we ice dancers must bring the sparkle, even to practice ice!