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Skate Today

Canada’s MacCuish Tries to Reach Junior Worlds in Second Discipline

Carolyn MacCuish and Tyler Morris

Canada’s Carolyn MacCuish has already reached the World Junior Figure Skating Championships in pairs with Andrew Evans in the 2007-08 season, placing eighth. Now the dark-haired beauty is trying to do the same in ice dancing with new partner, Tyler Morris.

The dancers, who have been together only since the spring, began their competitive careers at Minto Skate, then won the Pike’s Peak Invitational in September. They placed eighth in their first international event, the ISU Junior Grand Prix Pokal der Blauen Schwerter (Blue Swords) in Dresden, Germany in October, then finished 11th at the ISU JGP in Turkey two weeks later.

Only 17 and 18 respectively, the duo have good prospects on the international junior ice dancing scene. “This year, we just want to make a name for ourselves in ice dancing,” MacCuish said. “We’d like to make top five at Nationals,” Morris added.

MacCuish started skating when she was four years old. “My parents put me in Canskate because they wanted me to learn how to skate,” she said. “I was doing ballet before I started skating and until I was about nine. I also played soccer, just for fun, for about four years.”

She competed in pairs with Evans for five years, winning a silver medal in pre-novice in 2005, a bronze in novice in 2006 and gold in juniors in Canada in 2007.

“I started dancing with Tyler last summer,” MacCuish stated. “I really wanted a change, a new challenge. I thought that ice dancing was really beautiful and I wanted to give it a try.”

Morris was only three when he first went on the ice. “My mom was a skater and my dad worked at the rink and drove the zamboni,” he recalled. “I started private lessons at three but I tried pretty much everything in the way of sports — soccer, basketball, lacrosse, everything. I played triple A hockey from the time I was eight until 16, mainly defense but sometimes as a goalie.”

“I competed in freestyle up to pre-novice,” he said, “but I was better at skating so I started in dance when I was eight. I skated with Kelsey Valentine until last year when she decided to concentrate on school. We got up to novice, where we placed sixth in 2008.”

“We went through the partner search and David Islam matched Carolyn and me together,” he added.

The dancers train at the Mariposa School of Skating in Barrie, Ontario, with a team of coaches headed by David Islam and including Tyler Myles, Pavel Porac, and Kelly Johnson. They train for about four hours a day, five days a week on ice and another two and a half hours daily off ice.

“Learning the compulsory dances was a new experience for me,” said MacCuish, who likes the Latin dances. “I like the marches,” Morris stated. “I could do the Killian all day every day.”

Porac choreographed the couple’s 2009-10 original dance. They are doing a Scottish folk dance for their original dance using “The Vikings” by Michael Flatley. “My stepdad found the music,” Morris noted, who wears a kilt in the dance.

“We wanted something Scottish because of his coloring,” said coach Tyler Myles, referring to Morris’ red hair.

Myles and Johnson choreographed the duo’s free dance. They are skating to Andrea Boccelli’s “O Mare E Tu”.

“Kelly brought the music in and we loved it,” MacCuish noted.

“I used that music years ago,” Myles noted. “We knew we wanted to do something Spanish because Carolyn is pretty expressive and Tyler did a tango last year.”

“I like skating to dramatic music,” MacCuish added.

Porac and Johnson choreographed their gala program to Michael Buble’s “Feeling Good”.

“I like to skate to fun, peppy music,” Morris said, “like animated character music.”

Off ice, Morris, who plays the drums, listens to heavy metal, while MacCuish, who used to play the piano, likes all kinds of music.

MacCuish is finishing her final year of high school and plans to attend university but hasn’t figured out a future career. Morris, who has graduated high school, works at the skating club and does dance partnering to earn funds to pay for his skating. He hopes to become a skating coach.

Both skaters enjoy hanging out with friends and visiting family when they have time off.

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Skate Today was created in November 2004 to showcase the people of the skating world, skaters and coaches and others, who make figure skating and ice dancing a pleasure to watch for fans from around the world. The goal was to create a site that would give viewers an insight into the personalities of the people involved in this sport and to give you a more personal connection when watching them live at an event or on the television. Our staff knows how much time and dedication is put into this sport and that's why Skate Today was created.

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