Kayne, O'Shea shake, stir 'Bond' in new short

Burgeoning pair turns to espionage at USFS pairs camp

Tarah Kayne and Danny O'Shea will present a new kind of <i>James Bond</i>.
Tarah Kayne and Danny O'Shea will present a new kind of James Bond. (Shooting Star Photography)


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(06/06/2013) - When Tarah Kayne and Danny O'Shea debut their From Russia with Love short program at the Fort Wayne Pair Classic on Friday, they won't be practicing détente.

"I like being a tough, strong woman on the ice instead of always playing the princess role," said the 20-year-old Kayne, whose Twitter page bears the description "warrior princess extraordinaire."

"In our short, I'm trying to seduce Danny," she continued. "It fits my personality -- not so much that I'm a seductress, but I'm powerful."

Just two days before taking the ice in Fort Wayne, Ind., they still didn't know who would triumph in the ending pose of their Cold War.

"Our short is classic James Bond, spy vs. spy," O'Shea, 24, said. "Bond always wins in the movies, but our ending is a work in progress. We haven't decided yet who will win, me or Tarah."

Until they teamed up in the summer of 2012, "work in progress" described the Florida-based skaters' careers. Kayne, who hails from Fort Myers, Fla., competed as a junior lady but yearned to skate pairs. The challenge was finding the right partner.

O'Shea won the U.S. novice title in 2008 and placed fifth in novice pairs in 2009 with Jessica Calalang. When he and Calalang parted ways, the Illinois native moved to Ellenton, Fla., to train under Jim Peterson and Lyndon Johnston. He partnered Christine Mozer for two seasons, but injuries limited their competitions. When Mozer decided to pursue her education full-time, Peterson knew the petite Kayne would be a good fit for the six-foot-plus O'Shea.

The new team placed seventh at the 2013 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. A month later, they won silver at the 2013 Challenge Cup in The Hague, Netherlands.

Peterson called the medal a "game changer."

"It gave them the minimum TES (technical element score) they would need to qualify (for ISU championships), it put them on the map, and more important, it gave them so much confidence," he said.

When he created Kayne and O'Shea's James Bond short, Peterson took his pupils' personalities into account.

"They both have strong personalities and they're both passionate in their training," he said. "That translates into powerful skating and works well with James Bond, and also with their free skate to Don Quixote."

Kayne and O'Shea, along with Boston-based teams Gretchen Donlan and Andrew Speroff, and Kiri Baga and Taylor Toth, will compete their short programs in Fort Wayne on Friday. The competition, which includes pairs from the pre-juvenile level up, is held in conjunction with the 2013 National Pairs Camp.

"I think our teams are coming to realize the need to compete more and get started sooner in the season," Mitch Moyer, U.S. Figure Skating's senior director of athlete high performance, said. "Putting programs out now, especially for teams that did not compete at senior or junior worlds, is very doable and is a good stepping stone to later summer competitions."

After Friday's competition, skaters attending the camp will have feedback and, in some cases, on-ice monitoring sessions with international and Olympic judges and technical specialists, including Troy Goldstein, Charlie Cyr, Lorrie Parker, Taffy Holliday and Roger Glenn, among others.

"It's a great experience for us, a great chance to be seen and get as much information out of the technical specialists and judges as we can, to see what we can improve," O'Shea said.

"Getting 45 minutes of undivided attention from these officials is so important," Peterson said. "It usually only happens at Champs Camp, or with higher-level ISP (International Selection Pool) qualifying competitions. It's a wonderful opportunity, especially for the intermediate and novice teams. It could really make a difference in their seasons."

Weekend seminars in Fort Wayne will include on-ice stroking and footwork classes with ice dancers Tanith Belbin and Massimo Scali, as well as nutrition and training sessions for athletes and strategy sessions for coaches.

"In our athletes' track, some of the sessions focus on planning and recovery training," Moyer said. "Plus, [the camp is] a great opportunity for some of our best pair coaches and judges to kind of brainstorm, start talking about the next quad (four-year Olympic cycle)."

Kayne and O'Shea's training partners, U.S. bronze medalists Felicia Zhang and Nate Bartholomay, plan to show officials sections of their new programs: a short to music from Carousel and free skate to selections from Les Misérables, both choreographed by Peterson. They are assigned to Cup of China this fall.

"It's a great opportunity to show what we've got so far in the programs and how to improve the elements before Skate Detroitt and Champs Camp," Zhang said.

"This pair camp is a great way to help bring U.S. teams forward, to learn how to be most competitive with the Russian and Canadian teams," Bartholomay said.

In that vein, the team plans side-by-side triple Lutzes in their free skate at their summer competition.

"We look at the Canadian teams and we want to match them technically," Bartholomay said. "We will have the Lutzes in our program at Skate Detroit. To rack up more bonus points, our lifts are all in the second half [of the free ]."

Reporter's notebook: Kayne and O'Shea plan two different triples (toes and Salchows) in their free, and, with a season's experience under their belts, are tackling more difficult lifts: "We've definitely gelled more as partners," Kayne said. "For me especially, it's about becoming more of a pair's skater. I've been going back to basics with the death spiral and improving my positions in the lifts." ... U.S. champions Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, who are attending the camp and will mentor some of the younger skaters, traveled to Montreal to get choreography from Julie Marcotte, who created their well-received 2012-13 programs: "The programs look great; they're very intricate, still another level up from last season," said Bobby Martin, who coaches the team in Boston. "Their first big competition will either be Skate Detroit, or more likely, a competition in Montreal." The U.S. champions may also compete at the Cranberry Open in August.