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HomeEntertainmentDanceAttending to Know: Vanessa Pham & Jonathan Rogers

Attending to Know: Vanessa Pham & Jonathan Rogers

by Anne Calder | Pictures by Daphne Backman

Vanessa Pham & Jonathan Rogers are the 2022 U.S. Nationwide Junior pewter medalists. They reside and prepare in Houston, Texas, which isn’t generally known as a hot-bed for his or her self-discipline.  So how did these two skaters develop into companions and transfer into the thrilling world of ice dance?

“We have been skating at completely different rinks as single skaters till each our coaches moved to the identical rink,” Pham stated. “They mentioned pairing us collectively in ice dance and arrange a tryout for December 2017.”

Rogers spoke in regards to the ‘association’. “I used to be below the impression that Vanessa wished to bounce and was searching for a associate, and I imagine she was below the identical impression as me. I don’t suppose both of us have been precisely wanting to do it, however we weren’t in opposition to it. Both approach, I’m grateful with the way it all turned out.”

Pham was already being coached by Roman Zaretsky a two-time Olympic ice dancer for Israel.  So previous to the try-out with Rogers, she had really taken some ice dance exams and was constructing abilities. Nonetheless, she resisted for months liking skating with a associate till she lastly realized it was much less lonely, and she or he really beloved it extra.

“I by no means thought I might have develop into a dancer as a result of I had by no means really been taken with it,” Pham famous.

The Early Years
Vanessa Pham grew up in Pearland, Texas simply outdoors of Houston. The highschool senior has three youthful siblings who’ve all participated in an ice sport, be it hockey or singles determine skating. 

She remembers being impressed by Sasha Cohen on the 2006 Olympics. 

“I beloved her iconic spiral a lot that I might do one wherever I went,” Pham stated. “Seeing how a lot I wished to skate, my mother lastly enrolled me in Study To Skate lessons.”

It seems, skating was not as a lot enjoyable at first for the teenager who was barely taller than the boards.

“Finally I realized to like going quick and doing methods,” Pham stated. “Skating in a rink was additionally a bonus since Texas will get approach too sizzling in the summertime. I began out as a singles skater, doing jumps and such. I competed as much as novice stage earlier than I stop to give attention to ice dance. I’ve positively progressed and achieved way more in dance than I ever may have in single skating.”

Pham’s long-term aim is to pursue graduate research after attending college. Each her mother and father are medical medical doctors, so that’s one path, however she’s additionally open to different professions akin to regulation.

Jonathan Rogers is a primary technology Asian-American and has by no means lived wherever however Houston. The 19 12 months outdated has an older sister who additionally skated and presently attends Purdue College. 

“My mom used to play basketball and volleyball, and my dad was a loopy child who was in a band,” Rogers stated. “I believe most of my athletic capability comes from my mom, however my wit and humor are undoubtedly from my dad’s facet.”

“Earlier than I switched to ice dance, I used to be a single skater,” Rogers defined. “Jumps weren’t my forte and neither have been spins, however I stayed with it. It wasn’t for me, but it surely was all I knew. Ice dancing wasn’t actually huge in Houston on the time, not saying it’s now.”

Rogers is a freshman on the College of Houston, the place he’s contemplating a significant in accounting.

“I’ve at all times had a knack for understanding the enterprise facet of issues, particularly financial-related actions: investing, saving, promoting. and so forth.,” Rogers defined.

Coaching, Music, Targets
Roman Zaretsky is their head coach. In addition they prepare with different specialists. Roger’s earlier coach, Val Prudsky does spins and lifts, and Evgeny Nemirovskiy works on artistry and ballet. Igor Shpilband and Pasquale Camerlengo choreographed their Moonlight Sonata free dance and assisted Zaretsky with the rhythm dance.

Their coaching schedule vacillates from longer in the summertime to shorter when the skaters are attending lessons.

“Throughout the faculty 12 months, we skate after faculty for 2 to 3 hours, six days every week,” Pham stated. “In the summertime months, we skate as much as 4 hours a day, 5 to 6 days every week. We do off-ice and ballet as soon as every week, however these are troublesome to constantly match into our schedules in the course of the faculty 12 months. We additionally take stretch lessons a few times every week in the course of the summer season.”

So far as selecting their music, Pham defined the method. “Jonathan and I discover music that we like individually earlier than we current it to one another. We search for music in our most well-liked kinds, holding in thoughts how properly we may skate to it. I personally love classical music in addition to tales of affection. My mother additionally helps me search for music and affords some concepts.”

“After Jonathan and I pay attention to one anothers decisions, we get rid of these we dont collectively like.  Those that we agree on and each like, we current to our coach, who offers his approval.”

Jonathan added, “Vanessa takes a extra direct position in selecting music as a result of I’m fairly down for something. Nonetheless, when the Rhythm Dance theme was hip-hop, I used to be selecting music left and proper.”

Pham and Rogers share the identical aim for the 2022-2023 season. They need to formally make Staff USA and get a global Junior Grand Prix project. 

“I additionally need to enhance as a skater and crew general,” Pham stated. “I need to stroll into each competitors with the aim of skating as greatest I do know that I can whereas having fun with the second.”

Rogers added, “Though this might sound foolish to say, I wish to have a Degree 4 spin at each competitors this season, as there has at all times been one thing that has stored us from attaining it.”

Pham & Rogers have skated collectively for over 4 years and have had ups and downs like all {couples}.  Every shared its favourite high quality in regards to the different associate.

“My favourite factor about being Jonathan’s associate is our friendship,” Pham stated. “It’s like skating with my greatest good friend. We are able to speak to one another about something, and we perceive one another so properly. There are some occasions we get agitated in direction of one another, however we at all times discover ourselves stronger and higher for it. We remind ourselves that we’ve one aim as a crew: to be the most effective we might be and to attain our targets one step at a time.”

One of many qualities I really like about Vanessa is her capability so as to add construction to not solely our skating, but in addition my life off ice. She has a way of duty and picked up character that’s unmatched, but she is aware of how and when to steadiness it with pleasure and creativity. She is aware of learn how to hold me in examine, hold me decided on the ice throughout coaching and general learn me as an individual. It’s a particular trait. I’m grateful and recognize her abilities.

As Pham & Rogers partnership has grown, so additionally has their love for ice dance and its group.

I like the liberty essentially the most. I’ve at all times beloved the liberty,“ Pham defined. “I really like how I can put my very own contact and interpretation on a step that’s given to me. I get to combine being artistic with being a perfectionist inside my packages. When I’m skating, nothing else exists to me apart from Jonathan, me and the ice.”

“In addition to the liberty of it, I like having a associate to share my skating experiences with. In single skating, it will get form of lonely coaching and going to competitions, however with a associate it makes every little thing sweeter.”

“I believe one of the crucial enjoyable issues about ice dance is all of the touring and superb individuals you get near,” Rogers added. “Its such a particular factor to have the ability to sit down with individuals youve skilled with and even competed in opposition to and develop into good buddies off the ice.”

There may be one factor the Texas duo didn’t agree about. If given the hypothetical alternative to ask dance groups to Texas for a personal lesson, their favorites have been completely different.

Pham stated, “I might select [Gabriella] Papadakis & [Guillaume] Cizeron or Maya & Alex Shibutani for a solo lesson. Papadakis & Cizeron would give nice perception on skating abilities/methods with the benefit and beauty they skate with. I might additionally be taught in regards to the dynamic that works for them, and the way they take care of obstacles or challenges they’re introduced.” 

“As for the Shibutanis, I might acquire quite a bit from their methods. I might additionally learn the way they handle having enjoyable off the ice whereas additionally being centered throughout skating.”

“Palms down, Jean-Luc Baker & Kaitlin Hawayek,” Rogers stated. “I imagine Vanessa and I actually mirror the calm sophistication of their skating, combined with hints of what could be Jean-Luc’s and my spontaneity and comedic wildness. Plus they’ve a novel type and character commitments that I imagine usually outshine the extra technical groups within the ice dance world, a top quality I’d prefer to be taught and develop from their classes.”

Constructing for the Future
In closing, Rogers and Pham mirrored on their ideas standing on the rostrum on the 2022 US Nationals.

“There was an ideal sigh of aid figuring out wed completed our jobs,” Rogers stated. “We didnt go for a medal; we went to skate our greatest. The medal was simply an added bonus. Most of all although, I felt immense gratitude for Vanessa and [Coach] Roman. I knew this wouldn’t have been attainable with out them. I do know Im not the best to take care of, however these two have constantly stayed by my facet. Im so grateful for them.”

Going into the competitors with out another targets than skating clear and never anticipating to medal, I used to be very happy,” Pham stated. “To be one of many 4 groups on the rostrum was value all the coaching we had been via that season. It fueled my fireplace, and it made me need much more for subsequent season.”

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