Ice dancing pair aim for the top

Isabelle Guise and dance partner Dashane Du Plessis are national champions in ice dance. Photos: Supplied
Isabelle Guise and dance partner Dashane Du Plessis are national champions in ice dance. Photos: Supplied
Each month Southern Rural Life catches up with a young person, out there and getting among  it all. This week we talk to Isabelle Guise and Dashane Du Plessis

Isabelle Guise: I’m 17 and I live in Aparima, Otautau. I’ve been home-schooled since I was 9 or 10 and I’ve got three sisters and one brother, but only one sister that is close in age.

Dashane Du Plessis and Isabelle Guise.
Dashane Du Plessis and Isabelle Guise.
Dashane Du Plessis: I’m 17. I live on a dairy farm near Invercargill. I’m home-schooled as well and I have two brothers.

Q What sport do you do?

Isabelle: We ice dance.

Dashane: It’s a discipline of figure skating where a man and a lady skate together on the ice. While it may look similar to figure skating pairs, ice dance has some key differences that make it more enjoyable for me.

Q What are your big achievements in this sport?

Isabelle: We have competed and won in our category at nationals for 2018 and 2019. And getting to nationals requires us to qualify in other competitions. We also attended a training seminar in South Korea in August by invitation.

Q What and who do you credit your sporting talent to?

Isabelle: Hard work really, just putting a lot of time and effort in. And of course to my mum for driving to and from the rink most days.

Dashane: I’m home-schooled so my hours are flexible for training. We’ve worked with great coaches and our families are very supportive of us.

Isabelle is also very encouraging and challenges me to try new things on the ice.

Q What do you most enjoy about your sport?

Isabelle: I love the feeling of just gliding on the ice, and I always liked dancing growing up so putting that on ice is always fun.

Dashane: Ice dance is like ballroom dancing on ice. It’s all about footwork, timing, musical interpretations, presentation. It’s a graceful sport, it’s entertaining to watch and it’s entertaining to do. I love to put on a show and make people go ‘‘Wow! That looks cool!’’

Q Is there anything about this sport that you don’t enjoy so much?

Isabelle: Probably just that there’s not many competitions in New Zealand which means you have to travel which gets quite expensive. And I always tend to have bruised knees from falling.

Dashane: Spins and twizzles (which are like moving spins). I’m still not very good at them and I fall over to them more than anything else. And falling hurts.

Q What skills have you learnt which you think will help as you head into adulthood?

Isabelle: Teamwork, patience and persistence.

Dashane: Things like determination, perseverance, confidence. I’ve learned how to carry on and stay positive even when I’m having a rough day. I can also do coaching as a side career.

Q In what ways does farm life help you, both personally and in sport?

Isabelle: Farm life has taught me the value of hard work.

Dashane: I’ve been able to help pay for expenses for my sport by working on neighbouring farms. Things like coaching fees, snacks for long training days, and soon I’ll able to pay for my fuel. The physical nature of farm work has helped to keep me fit for work and skating.

Q What do you like to do when you’re not busy competing or training?

Isabelle: In my free time I like to hang out with my friends, play any sort of game, really, or watch movies.

Dashane: I like to read and write, play video games and play piano. I’m currently writing a short novel and composing a song for a mobile game. I also work part-time on neighbouring farms to help pay for ice dance lessons and other sport-related expenses.

Q Do you have a goal you would like to achieve?

Dashane: We’re working towards skating internationally soon and we hope to join the junior grand prix in 2020 or 2021. That will allow us to compete all around the world.

Do you know a motivated, can-do kid worthy of a profile? Drop Alice Scott a line:

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