The most recent addition to the ranks of Japan’s ice dancers is the team of Cathy and Chris Reed. The brother-sister duo switched countries from the United States to Japan last summer after winning the U. S. novice dance title in 2006. “Our mother is from Japan so we have dual citizenship,” Cathy said. “And our Dad works for a Japanese pharmaceutical company. We went back to visit Japan every once in a while and last summer, we talked to the Japanese Federation and showed them our free dance. They were very supportive.”
Skipping juniors because Cathy has turned 19, the dancers will be competing as seniors at Japanese Nationals in December. The Reeds competed for three years in novice in the United States before winning the title at their first Nationals. They were tenth in juvenile dance at Junior Nationals in 2001 but skipped intermediates. This season, Cathy said,” We just want to have a successful season and make ourselves known.”
The siblings began skating when Cathy was seven and Chris was five. “Our mom was always interested in elegant things like dance and skating,” Cathy said. “She couldn’t do it herself but she encouraged us and put us on the ice when we were little. We weren’t very good at singles skating so we switched to dance when I was 13 and Chris was 11.” “I couldn’t jump at all and because Cathy was two years older, I couldn’t do lifts so we couldn’t even try pairs,” Chris added.
Their first ice dancing coach was Rick Bird, but when he was injured in an automobile crash, they switched to Andrew Stroukoff and Susan Kelley. They worked with them for six years, then moved to Nikolai Morozov’s group in Connecticut in March 2005. They trained last season in Newington, then moved last summer to the International Training Center of Connecticut in Simsbury when Morozov’s group moved there. There they work with Morozov and his wife, Shae Lynn Bourne. The dancers train for 4-6 hours a day, five days a week in the off-season, but only 2-4 hours a week during the season. “We don’t want to get exhausted in training,” Cathy said. They also do about a half hour of stretching and other off ice work before and after on ice sessions. In the summer, Chris said, “We try to take as many dance classes as possible.”
Morozov finds the music for the couple’s programs and choreographs their numbers. “He has good taste in music,” Cathy said. “He brings several pieces and then we do footwork to the music to see which piece most fits our style.” They are using “Libertango” by Astor Piazzola for the original dance and “Prayer in the Night” for the free dance. “We wanted something powerful for our first season, something noticeable and memorable,” Cathy stated. The dancers don’t have a favorite style of music. “Dancers have to be able to dance to everything,” Chris said. “I like to try them all.”
The Reeds have to learn a new set of compulsory dances for this season. “All we’ve done before is the Westminster,” Chris said. “The rhumba and the Golden Waltz are new. The Golden is really tough. I’m not really a fan of compulsories.” “But the compulsories show your knowledge of edges and unison and the technical quality of your skating,” Cathy noted.
Cathy has graduated from high school but hasn’t started college. She is taking some additional high school courses to prepare for attending a university. “I’m going to go to a regular college, not study online,” she said. “I learn better that way and I hope it will improve my social life.” Cathy plans to major in marketing and advertising. “I like research and design,” she said. Chris is a junior in high school, doing his courses through distance learning via the Internet. “I like history the best,” he said, “especially 20th century history. But I don’t have a clue as to what I want to do. I guess I’ll have to start thinking about that.”
Chris enjoys listening to music, reading history books and playing computer games for relaxation. Cathy enjoys going to movies and reading. Travel is a favorite interest for both skaters, who have moved at least eleven times. They have lived in Australia, Hong Kong, and Japan as well as the U.S. but one of Chris’ favorite places was in the remote town of Dearborn, Nebraska. Both of the skaters also enjoyed Sydney, Australia, where Chris played in a recreational soccer league. “I like to travel,” Cathy said. “It’s exciting to experience different cultures. Our skating career really allows for that.”
The dancers plan to compete at least until 2010 and probably longer. “We want to go as far as we can,” Chris stated.