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INTERVIEWS: LORRAINE MCNAMARA & QUINN CARPENTER
     


McNamara & Carpenter at the
2008 Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships
Photo by Katie Weigel

 

 

1) How long have you been skating together? Did you have any previous partners?

Lorraine: This is our third year of skating together. I competed with someone before Quinn for about 5 months when I was 6 years old. 

Quinn: I have been skating with my current partner, Lorraine, for 3 ½ years. I had another partner for one season before that. 
 

2) When did you start skating and how long have you been ice dancing? 

Lorraine:
I started skating when I was three years old. My mother would dress me in my snowsuit and stand me in the corner by the door while she skated. At first I didn't even move, but soon I started shuffling around by myself. It wasn't long before I became very comfortable on the ice. I started with group lessons, and then I met Elena Novak. The rest is history. I wanted to be an ice dancer just like her. 

Quinn: I started skating when I was two or three when my parents put me in skates and helped me around the rink. I had my first group lesson when I was four and became interested in competitive speed skating after watching the 2002 Olympics. I started figure skating with my coaches, Alexei and Elena, just as they were starting their skating academy. 

3) What made you choose to specialize in ice dancing? 

Lorraine:
Ice dancing gives you so many different dance choices. It is so beautiful to watch, and it is so fast on the ice. I like the music and the different emotions that you show in the compulsory dance. I like free dance because we can choose the elements and even act in our program. 
 
Quinn: I decided that I liked ice dance better than speed skating because there's more footwork and complicated steps -- and of course music is a big part of it. And the academy is great because you get to skate with so many friends. 

4) Do you have a favorite compulsory dance?

Lorraine: My favorite dance is the Paso Doble even though we cannot compete it yet. We have learned it, and I like it because it is so fast. My favorite international dance is the Yankee Polka. Someday I hope we can perform it.

Quinn: My favorite compulsory dances are Paso Doble, Peanut Polka, and Finnstep. I like Paso because it has fast powerful music and smooth flowing steps. Peanut Polka and Finnstep are both fast and have lots of intricate footwork, and they are also new dances. 

5) You competed in the Open Finnstep at Lake Placid, which was the first time this dance had been competed. What was this experience like for you? What made you decide to compete this compulsory, especially since it is skated by the competitors at the senior level?

Lorraine: It was a challenge to learn the Finnstep, but we had fun at the same time. It was the fastest dance we have learned so far. It was very exciting to be the first ever to compete it. There were so many people in the rink to watch, even at the practice! We decided to compete it because our coach, Alexei Kiliakov, thought we were capable of learning it. He was very patient with us and spent a lot of time polishing it.
 
Quinn:
Competing Open Finnstep at Lake Placid was a little nerve wracking, although it was our second year doing a high level open dance -- we did Starlight Waltz at Lake Placid the year before. This year was different because there were so many judges and coaches watching. It made us feel special to be a part of skating history. Originally, we thought we were going to compete Open Austrian Waltz, but then we found out that Austrian wasn't being competed at Lake Placid and were thrilled to do Finnstep instead. 

 
6) What is your favorite dance element?

Lorraine: My favorite dance element[s] are the lifts in our free dance this year. I like our rotational lift the best because we have a very difficult change of position, and I have to stay in the character of a doll.

Quinn: It's hard to pick a single favorite element. I like our free dance spin and our synchronized twizzles because I love to whirl. I also love to do lifts. I get to spin around during the rotational lift, and in the straightline lift I get to glide in a spread eagle position. 

7) What do you like best about skating with your partner?

Lorraine: We always have a good time skating. We help each other, but what I like best is that he is always there when I am confused or do not understand a step.

Quinn: I like skating with Lorraine because she can always make me laugh. She's always concentrating and helps me figure out how to do certain exercises and dance steps. She's always there to spur me on if I lose track of what I'm doing on the ice, and she always wants to make sure we get things right. 

8) What do you like best about training in your group with your coaches Novak & Kiliakov?

Lorraine: What I like best is that they always make us work hard, but they always make it enjoyable. 

Quinn: I like training with my coaches because they are strict, and they never let us get away with skating something the wrong way. They always inspire us to work as hard as we can. Sometimes when I feel like I can't do something, or when I'm having a really hard time, they believe in me and help me achieve the goal. They are very serious about skating but also very friendly and generous. On Monday mornings my coach Alexei picks me up at 5:45 a.m. and I ride with him to the rink for practice. 

9) What are your hobbies?

Lorraine: Some of my hobbies include beading jewelry and sewing on my new sewing machine. I also take piano and flute lessons. I love going to my brothers' sports activities whenever I have time.

Quinn: I have many hobbies outside of skating. I play the Irish Fiddle in a band, I swim every week, and I'm in a chorus class. I also enjoy reading, playing other instruments, video games, and I love learning new card tricks and card games. 

10) Who are your role models?

Lorraine: My role models are my coaches at the academy. They all had very successful skating careers. Their technique is so beautiful to watch. Someday I will be just like them. 

Quinn: I don't really have any specific skating role models, but I love to watch all of the Olympic and world champions skate. They convey so much energy and expression to the audience that it makes me want to skate like that, too. 

11) What is something that ice-dance.com readers may not know about you? 

Lorraine:
Readers may not know that I am the youngest of six children (one sister and four brothers). My sister is a ballerina. I love it when she comes to my competitions and does my hair and makeup. My four brothers all play ice hockey. When I'm off the ice I'm like a normal girl in a normal family. But when I'm on the ice, I pretend that I am a champion. My family members are my biggest supporters and my best fans! 

Quinn: I've always been homeschooled, I'm a vegetarian, and our family just adopted a baby girl from China. I am an exuberant optimist with a never-be-glum, feel fantabulous kind of attitude, and I think that anyone can do anything if they really set their mind to it!