Point Edward figure skater Asia Dang-Hill has been skating since she was three, but her coach believes her time in the ballet studio was a major factor in her gold medal performance at the Provincial Championships.
“Her biggest asset that kind of pole-vaulted her to this point is that she’s danced. She’s done ballet her whole life,” said Sonia Rivard, head coach of the Point Edward Skating Club.
The 13-year-old St. Francis Xavier student has become known for posting strong scores for artistry, including transitions between maneuvers and interpretation of the music.
Dang-Hill agrees ballet has helped with those elements, as well as her ability to “feel the music.” Nevertheless, she was surprised by her most recent performance.
“I wasn’t really expecting to get gold, I was thinking more top 10,” she said.
Dang-Hill earned first in the Women’s Star 6 category, and was one of two skaters from the Point Edward club to bring home hardware from the Skate Ontario Provincial Championships in Port Colborne.
Peyton Bishop, 12, won bronze in the Women’s Pre-Juvenile class.
The seventh-grader from Rosedale Public School had the “skate of her life,” said mom Tina Bishop.
“She had no deductions … she had never had a clean skate before, and she knew the only way she’d get on the podium would be to have a clean skate at pre-juvenile level.”
Bishop has been skating for 10 years and consistency is her strength, Coach Rivard said.
“When she practices she works hard. She skates all year round. She skates as much as we can provide for her, and she’s really consistent.”
Though the Provincial Championships signal the end to another season that doesn’t mean a break from training for either of the girls.
New skills will be added this summer with up to three hours daily of training on and off the ice.
“If you want to be at that level of skating you need to skate all year round,” said Rivard. Spring, summer, fall and then our winter season, you need to follow a yearly plan that we set out.”
Canada’s 2010 national junior champion and current world-ranked pairs skater Michael Marinaro got his start at the Point Edward club as well.
“It just shows that whatever we’re doing is working,” Rivard said.