Friday, January 4, 2013

Miles and Natalia thrill the Blades crowd

Septemberís winners


With partner Natalia Zaitseva, Miles Fink-Debray celebrates after winning the Battle of the Blades competition. Photo by Willy Cook

Basically, Miles Fink-Debray said he practiced for two weeks with partner Natalie Zaitseva prior to the Battle of the Blades competition Sept. 8 at Sun Valley Skating Center.

They ended up winning the competition out of the nine teams before a packed house.

“I’d never done skating before that, but it was fun learning something new,” said Fink-Debray. “Skating is one of the toughest sports. You learn one thing, and you find there are 50 more things you need to learn.

“We did the lifts and spins. Natalia was so brave. Most of that stuff, you can’t ease into. You just have to do it.”

Zaitseva is in her third year teaching skating at Sun Valley, and her second year teaching beginning ballet for the Sun Valley Ballet School. She is originally from a small town called Lipetsk in Russia. Natalia first came to the U.S. in 1995. She said two suitcases constituted her home. Since she has traveled the world.

She spoke about her experience with Miles this week from Tampa, Fla., where she was performing in an ice show. Zaitseva, having skated since the age of three, has worked 14 years with Disney on Ice and has played the Disney Princess role many times in shows.

About their choreographed number, she said, “We skated to ‘Boyfriend’ by Justin Bieber. The music was almost three minutes long. This song was suggested by Lisa Marie Allen and Gia Guddat (choreographers for the show). It felt like music wasn't long enough to show everything that Miles had learnt in such a short time.

“Miles is very athletic and focused, but also very humble and shy. He was open and willing to learn, very easy to get along. I liked him as a partner!

“As an athlete he is built well and has a great sense of balance. It definitely helped his skating and pairs skating. Learning to skate by yourself is not easy, and lifting while skating is definitely not for the beginners.

“At times I was forgetting he had just recently started skating as I threw more pair tricks at him. He would never say ‘No!’ I felt I could push him harder and he’d be all right.”

“At the time I was doing shows for Sun Valley on Ice and had to practice for my show with my regular partner. Plus coaching skating. With Miles we usually tried to skate six days a week after I was done with my lessons. Skating at night in Sun Valley on the outdoor rink is my favorite time to skate, it's so magical!”

By placing first, the couple earned $2,000 for their chosen charity, the World Cup Dreams Foundation that gives some of the nation’s best alpine ski racers financial support.

Since that time, Fink-Debray said he has continued skating a couple of times a week and has taken lessons. He performed in the Christmas Eve ice show.




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