Five favorite things with Duarte and Grafton

She would favor a stroll through the Uffizi; he is a Belieber

Kylie Duarte raves about the merits of maple brown sugar oatmeal, while Colin Grafton is more of a chicken parmigiana kind of guy.
Kylie Duarte raves about the merits of maple brown sugar oatmeal, while Colin Grafton is more of a chicken parmigiana kind of guy. (Jacque Tiegs)


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(05/04/2012) - Kylie Duarte and Colin Grafton are an anomaly in U.S. pairs: the New England natives, known for their artistic bent and elegant lines, have skated together for about 11 years -- more than half their lives.

"We know each other so well," Grafton said. "We know what to expect when we're under pressure, compared to newer teams."

The skaters began as juveniles in 2004. Training under Bobby Martin in Boston, they won the 2008 U.S. intermediate title as well as the 2007 U.S. juvenile silver medal and the 2010 U.S. novice pewter medal.

In June 2010 they relocated to Colorado Springs to work with Dalilah Sappenfield's group, including Larry Ibarra and John Coughlin.

After winning the 2012 U.S. junior bronze medal and placing eighth at the world junior championships, the duo graduates to senior status this season. They spent time at the Detroit Skating Club in April, turning to former Polish champion Zuzanna Szwed to choreograph their first senior programs, a short to The Little Princess soundtrack and free skate to music from Romeo and Juliet.

"They have grown by leaps and bounds the last few years in terms of elements, and now it's time they get a little bit stronger programs, with more challenging transitions and connections in and out of elements," Sappenfield said.

"I have always liked Zuzanna's programs; she has worked with some of my other teams. I think her style will work great with them. She's really building a story with [the Romeo and Juliet] free skate."

Duarte and Grafton, who competed for three seasons on the Junior Grand Prix circuit, hope for a senior Grand Prix assignment this fall.

"They are in the [ISU selection] pool, and with all of the changes, I know they would be high on the alternate list at least," Sappenfield said. "It would be great for them to get their feet wet in seniors with a Grand Prix. They have a lot of experience, which should help them move forward confidently."

Here are some things near and dear to the skaters. If you had to live on just one food, what would it be?

Duarte: Maple brown sugar oatmeal. It tastes yummy, it's good for you, you can eat it at anytime of the day, and I never seem to get tired of it.
Grafton: Chicken parmigiana all the way. If you could be any animal, what kind would you be?

Duarte: A cheetah, because they are beautiful creatures, and I would love to feel what it is like to move with such speed and grace.
Grafton: A dolphin, because they are so smart. Plus, I love the water. What is your favorite sports team?

Duarte: The Portuguese soccer team, Sporting. I also love my New England teams, the Patriots, Bruins and the Red Sox.
Grafton:: Any Boston-based team. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?

Duarte: I would travel to Portugal for two reasons. One, half my family lives there -- my dad and aunt were born and raised there -- and two, Portugal is one of the most beautiful places, with all of its beaches and cathedrals. The language, the culture and the food are amazing as well.
Grafton: I have been to a lot of the places I've always wanted to go thanks to skating, but I would also love to travel in my lifetime to Dubai and Japan. Who inspires you the most?

Duarte: My parents are the most inspirational and influential people in my life. They know what is best for me now and in the future. They are always teaching me important things about life, they know how to push me, and also support me in anything I most desire.
Grafton: My grandmother -- she is one of the most talented and strong people I have ever met -- and my grandfather and my amazing parents.

Bonus question ... If you could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?

Duarte: I would love to have dinner with any of the famous artists, like Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo or Picasso. They were able to betray all of life in such an amazing way, without a single word. I would love to peer into the minds of these imaginative people and view the world through their eyes.
Grafton: Justin Bieber or the One Direction Band.