The ice dancing world now has a third Reed sibling competing internationally. Allison Reed, the younger sister of Japan’s Cathy and Chris Reed, has teamed up with Otar Japaridze to skate for Georgia.
The new couple placed 12th in their first international competition, the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany in September 2009, qualifying the team for the Olympic Games and a chance to compete against her siblings.
“We’ll be doing some other competitions,” Japaridze said. “The Georgian Federation is happy to have a dance team.”
“My birthday was June 8, so I was just old enough to be in the Olympics,” Reed noted. “I had to be 15 by July 1.”
“We hope to keep going as far as we can,” Japaridze said. “Many teams will retire or finish competing after the Olympics, so we will have a chance to get in the top!”
Japaridze began started when he was seven because both of his parents were skated. He competed in men until he was 15 and then switched to dance.
He has competed with three different partners at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships: Marina Sheltsina (21st in 2004), Ekaterina Zaikina (21st in 2006 and 16th in 2007), and Isabella Tobias (14th in 2008).
Reed started skating when she was three. “My Mom was on a synchro team and my brother and sister were dancing so I was always at the rink,” she said. “I started out in singles but I always wanted to do dance because I wanted to be like them. They’ve always been my role models and it’s great to be able to go to them for help.”
She was always dancing off ice too. “I was in the New Jersey Ballet when I was five or six,” she said. “I still love to go to the Broadway Dance Center and do all the dances there.”
The couple started skating together in May 2009. “I’ve always been looking for a partner,” Reed said. “We had a mini tryout a few years ago but I was too small. When I finally grew a little taller, we decided to give it another try since we already knew each other.”
Evgeny Platov serves as both coach and choreographer for the couple. “When I first came to the United States, I started training with Evgeny,” Japaridze said. “Then I went to Nikolai Morozov’s group when I skated with Isabella but after we split up, I decided to come back to Evgeny.”
“There are only two ice rinks in Georgia,” he added. “They’re mostly for little kids and there are no other dancers so there is no way to train there. So I had to look for places to train in the United States and Canada.”
The dancers train for four to six hours a day five days a week in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey. Off ice, they have ballet and conditioning each twice a week.
“We really had to practice the compulsory dances this summer,” Japaridze said. “I had never done the Golden Waltz or the Tango Romantica before and Allison is just starting so she has never seen them either.”
“I always enjoy the compulsories,” he added. “A lot of people don’t like them but you learn a lot from doing them. The Tango Romantica is hard but I enjoyed learning it.”
The dancers placed second in the Golden Waltz and third overall in the senior compulsory dance competition at the Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships in August in their first event as a couple.
Reed had never had a partner, nor had she ever competed at any level in ice dancing before the event.
“Our original dance is a Georgian folk dance,” Japaridze said. “We didn’t want to do something other couples are doing. Georgia has its own style of dancing.”
“Our original dance music is from a very famous Georgian National Ballet, ëSukhishvilií.” Reed said. “The name of our first piece is ëBukinagarií and the second piece is ëIlourií.”
“The free dance is a mix of two pieces, ‘Crusaders of the Light’ and ‘Preliator’ from a new orchestral group, Globus,” Reed said. “It’s modern orchestral music with a little piano and they sing in Latin.”
“A friend gave me the music on a CD,” Japaridze said. “I liked it a lot so I put it on my iPod and started skating to it. Evgeny liked it so we put together a program using it.”
Japaridze teaches skating to help cover his costs. “I started last season when I was not competing,” he said. “I’ve been doing a lot of teaching and I really enjoy it. I plan to be a coach when I finish.”
Reed is home schooled and is in tenth grade. “I want to go to college, but I’m not sure what I want to study yet,” she said. “I want to skate as much as I can.”
Off ice, Reed said, “I’m a big fan of movies and I also like to ride horses. I used to compete in equestrian events and I’m hoping to get my own horse some day.”
She listens to hard rock and heavy metal music, while he likes whatever is popular at the moment. “I used to play the flute,” Reed added. “I’d like to learn the guitar.”
Japaridze enjoys hanging out with friends, watching television and playing computer games, soccer and tennis.