Ice dancing duo keeps cool in the spotlight

ner. “Because I have to grab my legs in my hands and I’m not usually doing that.” She much prefers “the twizzles”portion of their routine, which involves each of them whirling about side by side while at the same time moving backwards or forward. “Because I like spinning.” Zach smiles when he admits that he finds the spinning the most difficult part of the routine for him. When they’re not competing or practising or doing their schoolwork, the young ice dancers may be found doing extra fitness routines either at home or at the YMCA. A good part of their time they spend playing games on Wii with each other or, in sum- mer, soccer with their friends.


CLARENCE CREEK | Figure skating is both a family affair for Marika Brunet and Zach- ary Whittaker and the most fun the two young artists of the ice dance can imagine. “I feel free, happy,” Brunet said, explaining the attraction figure skating has for her. At 12 and 11 respectively, Whittaker and Brunet have figure skaters for eight and seven years each with the Clarence Creek club. They are also two of the most talented skaters the club has ever produced and per- haps the first championship-potential ice- dancing pairs skaters to come out of Clar- ence Creek in a while. As already mentioned, for these two young skaters, they are carrying on their families’ passion for ice skating. “We put him in because we’re also in- volved in skating,” said Steve Whittaker, re- garding his son, Zachary. “It’s a family tradi- tion.” “My parents wanted me to learn how to skate,” said Brunet. For the past four years now the two have paired together to dance and dazzle their audiences. Next February, they get to make their mark in the big spotlight for the first time ever in the juvenile dance category at the Ontario Winter Games in Orillia. “It’s the first time I’ve ever been there,” said Zachary, regarding their Winter Games

Photos Steve Whittaker

debut. His partner, Marika, is just as excited at the prospect of performing before aWin- ter Games audience. Their competition involves two standard pattern dances they must perform plus a free dance round which their coach pre- choreographs for them along with choos- ing the music. The more complicated a routine, the more points it can score in the estimation of the attending judges.

Zach looks forward to impressing the judges with his ability at the ‘lift’ as part of their ice dance routine. This maneuver sees him in a crouch holding his partner up off the ice while momentum carried them for- ward across the ice. “It’s the first time I’ve done it, and it’s rare to see a person lift and hold that position for thirty seconds.” Marika is not as fond of the lift as her part-

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