by Bruce Strand, Arts editor
A synchronized figure skating team including three Elk River girls competed in the French Cup near Paris on Feb. 1-2.
Emily Halvorson, 17, Alli Hansen, 17, and Alicen Whiting, 16, skated with for Edina-based Team Braemar, one of two teams representing the USA, after qualifying at a meet in Detroit.
Team Braemar placed sixth among 14 teams in the juniors division in the meet at Rouen, about 70 miles from Paris. A team from Finland placed first.
“We had a lot of fun,” said Halvorson. “We didn’t see much of Paris because we were too busy practicing, but we were there one day and saw the Eiffel Tower.”
Team Braemer was third after the short program, then slipped to sixth after having a couple falls in the long program. No such problem for the champion. “The Finnish team,” said Halvorson, “was really good.”
Team Braemar has 20 members including four alternates. They skated to music from
“Bonnie and Clyde” for the short program and from “Cleopatra” for the long skate.
The Elk River girls, longtime members of Elk River Figure Skating Club, were invited to try out for Team Braemer in April of 2012 by a team member who knows Sandra Johansson, coach of the ERFGC.
Since making the team, they have been practicing three days a week in Edina. Halvorson and Hansen have stopped competing in freestyle since joining synchro. Whiting continues to do both.
“I actually like (skating) a lot better as a team,” said Whiting, “because we are always helping and encouraging each other. When you’re (competing) by yourself, you don’t get that.”
Synchronized figure skating is similar to dance team in its various formations — boxes, pyramids, straight lines — while depending on individual skills for tuning, edges and footwork. There’s no jumps like in freestyle skating.
“Skating is a lot different on team,” said Halvorson. “I’ve always done individual. Now you have to worry about everyone around you, too. But it’s fun.”
Team Braemar has another big meet coming up, the nationals in Livoniva, Michigan next Thursday and Friday.
“And after that we’ll keep practicing for ice shows we’re in, too,” said Whiting.