by Anne Calder
Klara Kowar & Thomas Schwappach practice in Colorado Springs with 2006 Olympic silver medalist Ben Agosto and choreographer, Katherine Hill. The workforce will make its U.S. National Championships debut in 2024.
Kowar has an older sister and two youthful brothers who all grew up determine skating in Aspen, Colorado. She is at present a school pupil learning finance by Purdue University.
Her earliest skating reminiscence befell in her hometown when she was three-years-old. She had the chickenpox and insisted on taking her stuffed purple dinosaur out on the ice whereas she competed.
She skated freestyle from age 5 to 13 when she fell In love with dance after a knee damage saved her from leaping. As the one ice dancer on the Aspen Skating Club, Kowar traveled to Denver twice every month for 5 years to work with 1984 Olympic ice dancer, Carol Fox.*
Kowar certified 4 occasions for the US Solo Dance Nationals. At her first competitors in 2016, she received the Juvenile Combined gold medal and was third in bronze patterns.
“Solo Dance helped me focus on individual skating skills and dance technique that provided a great foundation moving into partner dance,” Kowar defined. “Before competing with a partner, I took all of my partnered tests and remember feeling so out of my element skating so close to someone else.”
In 2020, the Aspen High School honors graduate deferred her enrollment and scholarship to Syracuse University in lieu of a niche yr to pursue her ice dance desires.
“I went to Denver for the summer to begin looking for a partner and training more seriously,” Kowar mentioned. “Ice availability was very limited in Aspen, and I wanted to immerse myself more fully into the skating world.”
In August she relocated to Massachusetts to accomplice with TJ Carey and practice on the Skating Club of Boston. The duo competed on the 2021 Lake Placid Ice Dance International and the Alpharetta Championship Series occasion. The partnership led to December 2021, and Kowar returned to Colorado.
Thomas Schwappach earned a global enterprise diploma in 2020 from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. He is the youngest of three kids who in his free time likes to sim race, go bowling, golf, construct legos along with his roommate and make puzzles with Klara.
“I’m also the biggest Star Wars nerd that Klara has ever met, while at the same time I was shocked that she’d never seen Star Wars before our partnership.”
When he was five-years-old, he tried each hockey and determine skating.
“I stuck with figure skating after my parents saw me practicing my crossovers in the middle of a hockey game on the opposite side of the rink from the puck,” Schwappach mentioned with amusing.
To enhance his skating abilities, his freestyle coach, Mia Hoeksema had him work with former Italian Ice Dance Champion, Stefano Stangalini.
“Stefano introduced me to ice dance and was extremely helpful in developing my skating,” Schwappach mentioned. “He really emphasized to me the importance of turns being correct and twizzles.”
While attending UCCS, the Denver native co-founded its collegiate skating workforce. The second and third years they certified for Intercollegiate Nationals with Schwappach profitable silver within the 2019 Junior Men’s division.
“During those years I had great success with patterns, which helped me rediscover ice dance – not jumping definitely helped,” Schwappach famous.
Prior to commencement in 2020, Schwappach linked with Coach Ben Agosto and started coaching to compete in ice dance. The world pandemic made it tough to discover a accomplice initially, however in 2021 he teamed with Sophia Domonoske. The duo competed on the Dallas Cannon Classic in July and three months later on the Championship Series occasion in Blaine, Minnesota previous to ending the partnership.
After unsuccessfully looking out on icepartnersearch.com, Kowar and Schwappach linked by a mutual coach in Colorado Springs.
“We had a great tryout and decided to become partners in May 2022,” Schwappach added.
“I was excited about the opportunity to skate closer to home and in the mountains,” Kowar revealed. “Training at altitude is a hard adjustment, but it’s so beneficial for stamina and makes preparation for competitions even stronger.”
The teammates have nice admiration for one another. Schwappach values Kowar’s friendship, attempt for perfection and pushing them to be higher on daily basis. Kowar respects her accomplice’s work ethic and compassion.
“We work really well together, and I have so much fun training with him every day,” Kowar added.
The new workforce’s preliminary precedence was deciding on music and creating choreography for his or her two applications.
The theme for the 2023-24 Rhythm Dance is “Music and Feeling of the Eighties”. The Free Dance music is the workforce’s private alternative.
“We were initially inspired by Dirty Dancing for our Rhythm Dance,” Kowar mentioned. “We began the choreography, but discovered the majority of the soundtrack was written in the 1960’s.”
Going again down right into a music rabbit gap, Chantelle [Kerry] Donohue, who had skated for Australia and was working with them in Colorado beneficial they fight music from the 1980’s Australian rock band, INXS.
“We were excited about her idea and collaborated with our coaches to create choreography for “Never Tear Us Apart” and “Need You Tonight”.
As for the workforce’s likes and dislikes for the 80’s decade, each just like the music and the fashions, however differ on the women hairstyles. Schwappach undoubtedly dislikes them as a result of Klara’s hair is consistently seeking to poke him within the eyes, whereas Kowar thought studying to crimp her hair was a problem, but it surely’s undoubtedly enjoyable.
“For our Free Dance I came to Klara with the idea that we should do something character-based and suggested James Bond,” Schwappach defined. “We dove into capturing the characters by watching the Daniel Craig James Bond films. We went for Klara becoming the villain and I bringing Bond (of course). It’s been fun to see how it has changed [and developed] throughout the year.”
Thinking forward to future applications, each ice dancers have given the topic some thought.
“I would really like us to skate to Gladiator at some point,” Schwappach disclosed. “The emotion conveyed in the story and the music are so beautiful. I think our style would make it a very special program.”
Kowar added, “I find picking music to be a very tedious process. That being said, I think it would be really fun to use a Jazz or Blues piece for a future Free Dance. This would pose a challenge for us and push us in our performance.”
When requested about having a personal lesson from any ice dance workforce, Kowar thinks it might be superb to have it with Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir as a result of the longevity of their profession is inspirational.
Meanwhile, Schwappach recalled already having had a useful and difficult expertise again within the spring working with retired U.S. Champion Zachary Donohue and his spouse, Chantelle [Kerry] Donohue.
“It helped push me mentally getting me to a place where I was able to overcome mental blocks that had prevented me from qualifying for Nationals.” he confided.
As the workforce anticipates their U.S Championships debut, Schwappach mirrored on two particular skating reminiscences from this season.
In August, the duo competed for the primary time at Lake Placid in the identical constructing the place the 1980 U.S. hockey workforce made Olympic historical past. For him it was surreal.
“Miracle on Ice is certainly one of my household’s favourite motion pictures, a lot in order that for my brother’s bachelor occasion, we watched it and quoted as a lot as we may. To skate on that ice was an expertise I’ll always remember and hope to skate on it many extra occasions.
“Another favorite memory of the season is the most recent Ice Dance Final. It was so satisfying to see all our hard work and all the challenges sent our way this year.”
Kowar and Schwappach are enthusiastic about making their U.S. National Championships workforce debut in Columbus, Ohio in late January.
“I am looking forward to a new competitive experience and growing as a competitor,” Kowar famous. “I am excited to compete along side Thomas and take another step forward in our technical and artistic performances.”
Schwappach continued. “I’m really excited to take the ice for my first Nationals and the first with Klara. I’m also excited to go out there with nothing to lose and everything to gain and put all our hard work out on the ice. We love both of these programs and are excited to show them to the largest audience we will have competed in front of.”
The workforce is already trying ahead to ice dancing collectively within the coming years. They shared their targets.
Kowar spoke first. “I would like to continue pushing our technical capabilities as a team and compete on the international stage.” Schwappach concurred. “My long run aim is to get on Team USA with Klara and compete internationally.
Kowar has a message about ice dance to those that usually are not but followers of the self-discipline.
“I would encourage you to focus on the creativity and the beauty of the sport. While the technical aspect may be harder and not be interesting to everyone, I think that the emotive qualities and different characters dance teams have the ability to portray, are really special.”
* Carol Fox & Richard Dalley are 2019 US Figure Skating Hall of Fame inductees.