Earlier this month, 2016 U.S. national pairs champions Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea announced their program music for next season in a blog on their official website. On the occasion of this announcement, their webmaster, Heather Carrelli, came up with an idea to let figure skating fans ask their own questions of Kayne and O’Shea. No journalist questions were allowed! So using the hashtag #AskTarahandDanny, Figure Skaters Online gave the opportunity to fans via Facebook, Twitter and email to ask away. Below is the list of questions that Carrelli compiled and Kayne’s and O’Shea’s responses, ranging from serious to humorous.
@LadyWave4: How do you maintain a strong friendship off the ice when things on the ice aren’t going well?
Tarah Kayne (TK): We have had a lot of practice! We have learned to maintain two different relationships on and off the ice! On the ice, we are both very ‘type A’, we both know what is right and how to fix what is wrong – sometimes that can lead us to butt heads. Off of the ice, we are much more easygoing and tend to lean on each other for emotional support about the tough day we may have just had at skating. We like to reconnect by hanging out together off the ice so we can approach the next day of training with a positive mindset.
Danny O’Shea (DO): Maintaining a strong friendship is so important because we lean on each other every day and we are around each other more than most married couples. We are able to do this because of how closely our goals align and how long we have been friends. Training every day can be grueling and intense, and so when we get off of the ice we often make time to do things that don’t have to do with skating, like see movies or take (puppy) Snow to the park, which can be very stress relieving.
@DadeMeghan: Well, we know what your music is next year, so tell me about the costumes! What are you thinking? Color? Style?
TK: I would hate to give up the surprise! I have been joking about creating one dress that is half black and half white, and wearing it for both programs. 😉 My costumes are usually inspired by the runway or by something I have seen on the stage, so I’ll be pulling from those two sources.
DO: Now, now, we can’t give away everything too early, can we?? Our costumes will be designed by Tarah and Mr. Peterson and constructed by Dawn Imperatore and they will be as beautiful and unique as the people who put their heart into creating them. 😉
@ClaireCloutier: Tarah/Danny, how did you choose your choreographers this season? And what did you learn from working with them?
TK: Our coach, Jim Peterson, helped pick two choreographers that he thought matched our personalities and skating styles.
Jennifer Leung-Chu: What ever happened to your Amy Winehouse short program? Will we see it as an exhibition in the future?
TK: We performed the Amy Winehouse short program on THE ICE tour in Japan (last summer), but had a hard time connecting to the music, despite the fact that we liked the program. After returning home to the U.S., we had a meeting with our coaches and decided to return to our previous season’s music.
DO: Sometimes there are pieces of music that intellectually you really like, but that don’t bring out as much emotion when you are on the ice, or sometimes they bring out emotion, but don’t have a musical structure that flows into an easy program. It was music that we all enjoyed, but that just didn’t quite work as a short program. I wouldn’t rule it out as a show program in the future though.
@WHITECAROLINA1 : What song would you like to skate to? Hi from Perú!
DO: Hello there in Peru! We will be skating to Swan Lake (FS) and Phantom of the Opera (SP) this year for our programs and can’t wait to show them off!
@inabauers: How is rise boy doing?
DO: #Riseboy is doing great! He is ever a supporter of our skating and of his sister Elli and her partner Jonah. He doesn’t come into the rink quite as much as he did when he was younger, but whenever he does it is a treat for us all!
@tricia_surber: Who is your favorite OTC (Olympic Training Center) intern?
DO: That is like picking a favorite child, we all know that there is a favorite, but it must remain unspoken for the sake of the others. 😉
@BootlegSkating: If you could steal 1 element from another pairs team, what would it be? What is the strongest element you have now?
TK: I think I would nab Aliona (Savchenko) and Bruno (Massot)’s triple twist!
DO: I would steal that (Weijing) Sui/(Cong) Han quad twist for sure. Our strongest elements would have to be our lifts and throws, and I would say that our strongest qualities are our determination to push past setbacks and remain positive.
@DancingEVA: @TarahKayne will you do my makeup?
DO: And if Tarah isn’t available, I can always be of makeup assistance!!
@rsmittay: What’s your pre-comp. ritual?
TK: My pre-comp. ritual is to take a nap between my practice and competition. But I’m not sure if that is really a ritual or just a byproduct of being sleepy.
DO: My pre-competition rituals are pretty relaxed, almost to the point that I wouldn’t call them rituals. I spend the day relaxing and watching something funny on Netflix, and when we get to the rink, I find a place that we can put on some music and dance while we get warmed up. Dancing is a large portion of our ritual, because it warms us up and keeps us relaxed. And when I say dancing, I don’t mean that I dance well, LOL, just that I dance.
@missmaraskate: 1. Do you have perfect vision? If not, did you ever have to skate with glasses? What was that like?
2. What do you do after the 6-minute warm up while you’re waiting for your turn to skate?
3. What Hogwart’s House are you in?
4. Best book/movie/show/song you’ve read/watched/listened to in the past year?
5. Is it weird to see someone use music you used previously?
TK: 1. I definitely don’t have perfect vision, but I’ve never had to skate with glasses (I do have them for when I need them).
2. It depends on what number we have drawn in the warm up. If we are later to skate, I take off my skates so my feet don’t go numb. I use the time in between taking my skates off and putting my skates back on to jump around, talk to my coach and walk through any parts of the program that I want my body to remember.
3. I’m a Slytherin, but sometimes I catch myself doing Hufflepuff things. Best of both worlds.
4. I really enjoyed the show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”. It’s so silly but if you like musicals (I’m a huge fan) you’ll probably enjoy it. Danny and I also both enjoyed Ariana Grande’s album.
5. It definitely brings up a lot of memories when you see someone using music that you have skated to before. Personally, it depends on how attached I am to that specific piece as to whether it is weird for me or not. I am a lot more invested in some of the pieces we have used than I am in others!
DO: 1. I do not have perfect vision, I wear contacts. There is actually an interesting story, at Nationals in Boston as I caught Tarah in the twist while we were competing our short program, one of my contacts fell out and I skated the rest of our short program with one contact. I guess you can get the job done with one good eye.
2. That really depends on what number you skate after the warmup, but most of the time I just re-tie my skates and stay focused and together with Tarah.
3. I am most definitely a Griffindor.
5. Music is great at bringing back memories, so for me, it isn’t weird, but it can definitely bring back some strong memories.
FSOnline Email Submission: Most skaters call their coaches by their first name (Raf, Kori, Peter and Darlene, etc), so why do you guys refer to your coach as “Mr. Peterson”? Have you ever called him just Jim?
TK: We call him Mr. Peterson because that is what he prefers to be called by his students, and it is a form of respect.
DO: To us, it is just a sign of respect. It is something that he did with his former coaches of Mr. Leitch and Mr. Ludington, and that we continue now. We also bow at the beginning of the day to all the coaches and at the end of every lesson.
FSOnline Email Submission: What is one thing you love about Snow, your puppy, and what is one thing that Snow is known to do that drives you crazy?
TK: I love everything about Snow, but I especially like how she will get up and follow me around the house. It makes me feel like she loves me. One thing that Snow does that drives me crazy is when she knocks over the trash can to sift for goodies (the WORST thing ever!!! SUCH A MESS. WHAT DID SHE EAT??? Cue panic mode)
DO: I love everything about Snow!!! Ahh, but if I had to pick one, I love when she lies down and rests her head on your lap. Sometimes Snow loves us so much and gets so excited to see us when we get home that she pees a little bit… haha I will be happy when she outgrows that completely.
FSOnline Email Submission: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose and why?
TK: I really enjoyed my time in Japan, so maybe I would like to experience Japanese culture for a more permanent length of time.
DO: I don’t want to be stationary anywhere! I want to live many places and travel and experience as many different cultures as I can. I would eventually like to settle down, probably in the Midwest, but don’t hold me to that!
FSOnline Email Submission: If you weren’t a figure skater, what career would you choose for yourself?
TK: I wish I could pursue a career in Musical Theater, but I don’t think I have any musical talent. I think voice acting would be really cool option because the characters are always larger than life.