New Group Sequence: Anna Waugh & Nikolai Balabardin

Anna Waugh (12) and Nikolai Balabardin (15) are a brand new U.S. intermediate ice dance crew this season. 

Inform us about every of your skating journeys, together with any particular reminiscences.
Anna Waugh (AW): My first steps on ice was at 17 months previous. At age 3.5 years previous I began Be taught to skate. My first competitors was in 2015 , I used to be 4 years previous. I completed in 2nd place, my mother offered me large lollipop after this competitors!! To today, I like to compete!

I did freestyle for five years, I made a decision to start out ice dance with companion additionally … in our first competitors we bought a gold medal. We have been so excited! It was good skating yr with numerous medals… and at finish of skating season 2021 we certified for ice dance ultimate and have become Nationwide Improvement crew members in Juvenile! We certified for Nationwide Improvement Group in 2022 as nicely, in intermediate.

Nikolai Balabardin (NB):I began skating after I was 3 years previous as a result of each of my mother and father are skating coaches and it was simpler to have me on the ice, quite than simply dangle across the area. I landed my first axel at 5rys previous and at 6yrs previous, I used to be the pre-juvenile champion of Alberta, Canada. A few of my most particular reminiscences are assembly and skating with a few of America’s biggest skaters in Solar Valley, Idaho. I’ve shared the ice with Jason Brown, Nathan Chen and Polina Edmonds. I used to be additionally very fortunate to have been invited to dinner with Nathan’s Mother to observe him skate within the Solar Valley Ice Present.

What made you select ice dance?
(AW): My coach Mathew Gates, and likewise my favourite skater- Madison Hubbell.

(NB): I selected to change from freeskate to ice dance as a result of I really like the sensation of gliding on the ice. I’ve landed jumps as much as triple salchow, however I all the time most well-liked when my skates have been on the ice, as an alternative of the air.

Inform us about you and your households. Do you will have siblings? Do in addition they determine skate? Do you will have hobbies?
(AW): I don’t have siblings. Mother likes to skate too and she or he sews all my costumes! My father is a baseball fan, however he’s grew to become ice dance fan now too!

(NB): My mother and father are each determine skating coaches in Kerrisdale, Vancouver, British Columbia. My Mama is Canadian and my Papa is Russian. They met in Disney on Ice, the place they skated and toured for six years. I’ve an 11yr previous sister that additionally skates. She is at present skating within the Pre-novice stage.

How and when did your partnership start? (Associate Search, coaching mate, and so forth.) Describe the tryout? 
(AW): After we broke up with my previous ice dance companion, my coach discovered me Nikolai, from Canada. At March this yr, after 10 days of making an attempt out, we determined to skate collectively as a crew. Our journey with Nikolai began 5/17/2023 when he relocated to North Carolina.

(NB): Mathew Gates, our coach, contacted my mother and father by e-mail after seeing my profile on Associate Search. My mother and father met Anna’s mother and father on Zoom, and there was an instantaneous connection. Anna’s household was so heat, pleasant, and her Mother might talk simply with my Papa as she is speaks Russian. We organized a time for me to go to North Carolina the place I attempted-out with Anna. I used to be there for about 2 weeks and I actually loved not solely skating with Anna, however the coaching surroundings and coaches Mathew Gates and Sasha Zaretsky.

What do you already like most about dancing along with your new companion?
(AW): Nikolai is a tough working man, he has superb skating expertise. He likes to skate loads, like me. We each love skating and we get alongside nice!

(NB): I actually loved how we picked up the dance spins and transition actions
rapidly. Anna can be stuffed with vitality and is tremendous pleasant. She is straightforward to get together with and I feel that she’s going to assist carry out my enjoyable aspect as I’m quieter and extra shy.

What are you every most enthusiastic about for the brand new partnership?
(AW): I’m very excited for the brand new season with Nikolai, excited to progress in new skating expertise and to hopefully impress everybody! We want to qualify for finals and likewise to qualify for Nationwide Improvement Group!

(NB): I’m most enthusiastic about competing to see how far and nicely we are able to to collectively.

The place do you prepare? (Location, services, dance mates, courses, and so forth.)
(AW): We’re coaching at Excessive Ice Middle, Elite Coaching Group, Indian Path, North Carolina. Now we have a mixture of freestyle & ice dancers at our rink. There are at present 7 groups coaching in our crew from pre-juvenile stage as much as Senior – World/Worldwide stage.

(NB): We will probably be coaching on the Elite Skating Academy within the Excessive Ice Middle in
Indian Path, NC. I don’t know many skaters but, however I sit up for assembly all of them quickly.

Describe your coaching schedule. How usually do you skate? Do you additionally go to highschool? 
(AW): Favourite topic? We’re skating 6 day every week, 4 hours a day. Additionally, we’re doing ballet, ballroom, energy and conditioning. We additionally assist with Be taught to skate courses at our rink . I’m doing a homeschooling program. My favourite topic is Arithmetic.

(NB): We will probably be skating about 5 to six days per week, and round 4 hours per day, together with on and off-ice coaching. I will probably be doing home-school subsequent yr and my favorite topic is French and Bodily and Well being Schooling.

Do you every have a favourite sample dance? Why?
(AW): My favourite sample dance is Rocker Foxtrot, as a result of I just like the patterns and key factors in it.

(NB): My favourite sample dance is the Argentine Tango as a result of the steps really feel snug and circulate collectively.

Who’re your coaches? Did both of you or each need to relocate? In that case, inform us in regards to the transfer(s).
(AW): My most important coach is Mathew Gates, together with Alexandra Zaretsky and Alina Efimova. Nikolai relocated to North Carolina all the way in which from Vancouver, Canada.

(NB): My coaches are Mathew Gates and Sasha Zaretsky. I’ve to relocate to North
Carolina from British Columbia, Canada. I really feel nervous to be away from my household for thus lengthy, however I’m excited to start out my ice dance journey with Anna.

Should you might have a lesson with any ice dancer previous/current, who wouldn’t it be? Why?
(AW): Madison Hubbell!

(NB): If I might have a lesson with any ice dancer, it might be Shae-Lynn Bourne. She has choreographed a few of my favorite packages and she or he has the wonderful functionality to create all packages to each sort of music. She additionally appears so stuffed with vitality, and has fantastic fashion.

What’s your debut competitors this season?
Our debut competitors was in intermediate stage (sample dances) at Chesapeake open after we skated collectively for about one month. We competed on the Dallas NQS in Texas and completed third.