Nicole Orford and Malcolm Rohon are determined to prove that they are better dancers than they showed at Canadian Nationals last season. The dancers, ages 16 and 20 respectively, will be competing in junior dance this season.
“We won novice dance at Sectionals last year and were second at Westerns,” Rohon continued. “but we didn’t do well at Nationals. This year we want to redeem ourselves. We’re going to come back with a vengeance.”
They opened their season at Minto Skate in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. “We started out really well,” Orford noted. “There were a lot of couples there but we were fifth in the compulsories and second in the original dance. We made some technical mistakes in the free and came tenth.”
The couple finished fifth in the free dance and sixth in the original dance in the Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships in August. “We were fourth in the open Westminster Waltz, sixth in the junior Westminster, fourth in the junior Argentine Tango, and seventh overall in compulsories,” Orford noted.
“Our goal is to earn a spot on the Junior Grand Prix circuit,” Orford stated.
Rohon started skating when he was seven or eight. “I was doing swimming and soccer at the same time,” he recalled. “I was a competitive swimmer from the age of four to 16. I was best at the fly and breast stroke. I played soccer from nine until 13 or 14.”
“My Mom put me in skating,” he continued. “She skated as a child. I liked skating because it was more artistic. Swimming was just racing the clock. With skating, I could be more creative.”
“I did singles up to the novice level,” Rohon said. “I got up to a double Axel and triple loop. I started to train in dance six years ago and the coaches said I had a lot of potential. I figured I had a lot more possibilities in dance than in singles so I stopped doing singles last year.”
“I skated with three other partners before Nicole,” he related. “With Taylor Moon, I made it to Nationals in novice dance. We were alternates and got the call at the last minute.”
“My Mom put me in skating when I was three,” Orford remembered. “She Let me do as many activities as possible to see what I liked. I tried ballet, jazz, tap dancing, swimming, and piano.”
“I’m still competing in juniors,” Orford said. “I won pre-novice in Sectionals in 2007 and qualified for Nationals. I got my triple toe loop this summer and will be competing in juniors this season.”
“Joanne McLeod and Jill Harvey are my coaches and choreographers in ladies,” Orford noted. “My short program is a classical piano piece and my long program is ‘Slumdog Millionaire’.”
“I started dance about 14 months ago,” she continued. “I always liked watching it. Then I was approached by Aaron Lowe to skate with this guy (Rohon). I tried it and liked it.”
“I like jumping, but I like the intricacies of dancing too,” she continued. “There’s different aspects of both.”
The couple started skating together in May 2008. “Lake Placid last year was our first competition ever,” Orford said. “We’d only been skating for a few months and got fourth in the open compulsory dances, much better than expected.”
The dances train with Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. Viktor Kraatz and his wife, Maikki Uotila, also assist periodically with their training.
They train on ice for about three and a half hours a day five days a week in summer, dropping to two and a half hours in winter. Orford also skates a little over an hour each day in freestyle. They do an hour off ice training daily.
Wing and Lowe also choreographed the couples dances. They are doing a Romanian gypsy folk dance to “Lautary” and “Nane Tsokha” by Valentina Ponomareva for the original dance and using music from the movie soundtrack of “The Mask of Zorro” for the free dance.
“I’m OK with anything that’s powerful,” Orford said. “I’ll skate to anything. Megan and Aaron gave us a choice of music but thought we could do well with both of these programs.”
Off ice, Rohon said, “I listen to mostly alternative, classic and electronic rock. I really enjoy music and played in my high school band. I started on piano when I was three and can also play the drums, guitar, accordion and viola. I’m in the Simon Fraser University jazz group on drums.”
“I also like to go out with friends or go home to Victoria to visit my family,” he added.
Orford said, “I like to listen to music, read, watch movies and spend time with my family.”
Orford is in grade 12 attending a public high school and hopes to study science in university. “I find science the most interesting,” she said. “I may be a sports doctor, but I’m not sure yet.”
“I’m in my first year studying at Simon Fraser University,” Rohon said. “I’m doing general studies in science now but I’m undecided about a major.”