Thursday, 21/6/2018 | : : UTC-7
Skate Today

GROPMAN & SOMERVILLE MOVE ON UP

Eliana Gropman and Ian Somerville are one of the many promising dance teams that trains at the Wheaton Ice Dance Academy (WISA) in Maryland.

The diminutive thirteen-year-olds were matched up by the coaches in 2009 and immediately won gold in the pre-Juvenile division at the Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships.

In 2010, the Somerville family moved to France for nine months.  Although they lived on two separate continents, the youngsters continued to train, Eliana at WISA and Ian at a Skating Academy in Lyon, France.

They reunited in 2011, and won the Juvenile and Intermediate Divisions in 2012 and 2013.

In 2014 at the US Nationals in Boston, Gropman and Somerville won the Novice silver medal before cheering family members and friends.  Eliana’s parents are from the Boston area.

“It was really nice to have my family there at the competition,” Gropman said.

The team moved up to the Junior Division for the 2014-15 season and are adjusting to the new challenges.

While there is opportunity for international assignments, competing against older and more experienced ice dancers can be stressful for the youngsters.

The duo assessed the situation. “Now we have to do a Short Dance,” pointed out Gropman, while Somerville countered, “It’s not as much fun when you’re not at the top.”

In June, the team attended the Chesapeake Open Camp presented by World and Olympic Champions, Tanith Belbin and Charlie White.

“It was our third camp with Charlie.  It was awesome,” said Somerville.

The skaters are eighth graders at separate private schools in the DC area. Somerville has been in a French immersion program for 10 years and is fluent in the language.  Eliana enjoys creative writing and designing costumes.

“If Eliana designed and made our costumes, we wouldn’t have to travel to get them done,” grinned Somerville.

Gropman and Somerville will perform at Ice Champions LIVE! on September 21 in Laurel, MD.  The event celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the Michael Weiss Foundation fundraiser.  Somerville is a 2014 scholarship recipient.

 

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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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