Q&A with Tarah & Danny – Season Recap and Update

Q1. How do you feel the 2019-2020 season went for you? What things are you most proud of? What things do you look back on and wish you could have maybe done something differently? Are you planning to use the things you learned from last season to help with your preparations for this coming season?

Tarah & Danny: We are happy with the past season and the growth that we have made within our skating. We understand that we did not always skate up to our full potential and we often left the ice feeling like we skated too carefully.  We think that, although our results did not show a huge improvement, this past season ended up being a huge confidence boost for us and was one of the most consistent seasons we have ever had.

Q2. This past season was cut short due to the Covid-19 outbreak and now everyone is having a vastly different type of off-season with all the social distancing. What types of things have you guys been doing to stay in shape and get ready for this new skating season?

T&D: We spent most of the quarantine together at Danny’s parents’ house in Illinois.  This gave us a safe place to complete at-home workouts, Instagram live ballet classes, Facetime lift and twist intensive lessons with our coach Dalilah Sappenfield, and we were even able to connect with our training mates through Zoom dance classes with Randi Strong.

Q3. You announced your 2020-21 long program music quite early this year (Carmen). Are you still planning to create a new long program to that music? Have you been able to work on that program at all throughout this off-season?

T&D: We still plan on creating a new long program to Carmen and are very excited to begin the process as soon as we can.   It is difficult to choreograph while off ice but we are currently working through planning and scheduling options.

Q4. Your SP to Clair de Lune became very popular after you debuted it at the 2020 US Nationals in January. Have you decided yet about your short program music for this coming season? Have you thought about keeping Clair de Lune for this coming season?

T&D: We love our short program to Clair de Lune and both feel strongly about it, so we have decided to keep the program so it can continue to grow. We feel it deserves a full competitive season.

Q5. On a more personal level, how have you been handling all the changes that have happened to the US in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic? Have you been using social media, video conferencing, or other means to keep in touch with friends and family?

Danny:  It is amazing how many more people, both friends and family, that we have been able to keep in touch with and catch up with because of this whole situation.  I know that there are a lot of negatives that have come out of Covid-19, but one positive aspect is the way that people were able to connect again and strengthen friendships even though they were not able to be in physical proximity.

Tarah: I have found quarantine and Covid-19 to be a very difficult process. I regularly work with a psychologist to help me through my mental health struggles and one of the things that helps me the most is surrounding myself with a positive support system. Being physically quarantined from my friends, coaches, and my family has been difficult, so I had to rely on other forms of communication. Facetiming with my mom, training-mates, and my friends was a big help, and I also really enjoyed connecting through dance. Every day I did Tiler Peck’s Instagram live ballet class and my friends would do it with me (Grant Hochstein, Caroline Zhang, Joe Johnson and even my past coach, Jim Peterson) and it gave me something to connect with them over, whether it was about how much we liked the music that day or how tough the combinations were. Caroline and Grant even joined me for 80’s themed aerobics and cardio dance classes!

Q6. What are you most hoping to accomplish in the upcoming skating season (fingers crossed that we’re able to have one later this year!) and have you set any goals for yourselves as a team?

T&D: As of right now, we would just love the chance to be able to show off our programs and our sport to help bring some joy and positivity to the world after life was put on hold for Covid-19.  We are planning on taking this time to push the envelope technically and improve our team in every way possible. Our goals are to skate well, but also to keep the renewed perspective that we have gained during our time off the ice and continue to find enjoyment in the process once training picks up. Additionally, we hope to help others find a little joy once we can perform for them again.


Photos Copyright @ Robin Ritoss