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Montgomery County ice dancers heading to World Juniors

By Colin Stevens, Staff Writer, Gazette.Net 2/20/2013

"It was noon on Friday at Cabin John Ice Rink and Quinn Carpenter and Lorraine McNamara skated in the Olympic rink, nearly alone aside from their coach, Alexei Kiliakov, and a handful of other skaters.

On Feb. 23, Carpenter, 16, and McNamara, 14, will travel to Milan, Italy, to compete for Team USA in the World Junior Figure Skating Championships.

Quinn&Lorraine_2013 This is an important step in their careers. They’ll be one of the youngest, if not the youngest, pair competing. At the junior level, boys can compete until they are 22 and girls can until they are 20. With so much time left to develop, Kiliakov believes bigger competitions are in their future.…"

Ice dancers Lorraine McNamara (right), 14, and Quinn Carpenter, 16, practice at the Cabin John Ice Rink on Friday.

Dan Gross/The Gazette


Ice dancing siblings from Bethesda perform with Olympic champions

By Jessica Ablamsky, Staff Writer, Gazette.Net 9/11/2012

"Sibling ice dancing pair Gigi Becker, 10, and Luca Becker, 12, wowed the crowd last Saturday at “Ice Champions LIVE!,” a fundraiser featuring a star-studded list of Olympic, world, and national skating champions.

…Their next goal is to qualify for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in January. They compete at the novice level against pairs who usually are 14-18 years old, said their mother Nicole Ugel.

“Our goal is to go to the Olympics and win,” Luca said.

The brother and sister team is on the ice two to three hours per day, six days per week, with the Wheaton Ice Skating Academy. Their training program also includes ballet, ballroom dancing, and muscle training…"
Gigi & Luca Becker
Gigi and Luca Becker performed
Sept. 8 at Ice Champions LIVE!,
a fundraiser that included Olympic
figure skater Brian Boitano.

Siblings are smooth on the ice

by Becky Kover, The Columbus Dispatch, January 19 2012

"WASHINGTON — Kids are busy these days with school, activities and family, but throw in elite athletics and you really have your hands full.

Parsons_2012 Michael Parsons, 16, and Rachel Parsons, 14, are siblings from Rockville, Maryland, who compete as an ice dance team at the national and international levels, often training up to 35 hours a week! Both go to public schools; Michael is a high school sophomore and Rachel is in eighth grade…"

Michael and Rachel Parsons perform during the free-dance event at the first winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria.

Photo Courtesy of Kerstin Joensson, Associated Press


Miller, MacMillan tango, waltz their way to lead

By Lynn Rutherford, special to, 1/22/2012

"The 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships opened Sunday morning with the novice pattern dances, where Whitney Miller and Kyle MacMillan took top honors in both the Argentine Tango and Starlight Waltz.

…The youngsters, who have skated together for 10 months, train at Alexei Kiliakov's Wheaton Skating Academy in Maryland, one of the nation's leading grass-roots ice dance centers. Last season's U.S. novice champions, Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons, train at Wheaton, and it has five teams competing here this week. It also fielded six teams at the 2012 U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships in December…"
Whitney Miller found her step in the Starlight
Waltz by imagining she was at a ball.

Photo Courtesy of Tom Briglia

Eliana Gropman and Ian Somerville - 2012 US Juvenile Ice Dance Champions

by Barry Gropman, Figure Skating, January 2012

Gropman-Somerville_2012 "…[Eliana and Ian] have medaled in every competition that they have entered. This season, their first in Juvenile, they won Gold Medals at both the Eastern Sectional Championships and the US Junior National Championships, and they received USFSA Special Achievement pins for their free dance performances at sectionals and nationals..."

Eliana Gropman and Ian Somerville
2012 US Juvenile Ice Dance Champions

Photo Courtesy of Barry Gropman


Rockville siblings to skate in Youth Olympics

By Jennifer Beekman, Gazette.Net, January 4 2012

"…The 2011 Novice Ice Dance national champions last January after just a year competing together, it was announced last month that the pair was selected by the U.S. Olympic Committee and the U.S. Figure Skating Association to represent Team USA in ice dance at the first Winter Youth Olympic Games, starting Jan. 13 in Innsbruck, Austria.

It will mark the Parsons’ second international appearance; they finished ninth of 21 teams in the 2011 Baltic Cup in Poland last summer in their first international Junior Grand Prix Assignment.

The Parsons, who represent the Wheaton Ice Skating Academy, are among the youngest competing at the junior level in the U.S.

…The Wheaton Academy had a strong showing at the 2012 Junior Figure Skating Championships last month — for juvenile and intermediate skaters. Eliana Gropman and Ian Somerville won gold in the juvenile ice dance; Gwen Sletten and Elliot Verburg took silver. Gigi and Luca Becker won the intermediate dance competition..."
The brother and sister ice dancing pair of Michael and Rachel Parsons of Rockville were selected by the U.S. Olympic Committee and the U.S. Figure Skating Association to represent Team USA in ice dance at the first-ever Winter Youth Olympic Games starting Jan. 13 in Innsbruck, Austria

Photo Courtesy of Howard Mager

Gigi and Luca Becker - 2012 US National Intermediate Ice Dance Champions

By Jo Ann Schneider Farris, Guide, December, 2011


"Gigi and Luca Becker became ice dance partners when they were seven and nine years old. Two years later, they became the US Intermediate Ice Dance Champions…

Wheaton Ice Skating Academy is an ice dancing program for children based in Maryland. Skaters are trained in groups. The Beckers were invited to join the Academy in early 2009. Their coaches are Alexei Kiliakov, Elena Novak, Dmytri Ilin, and Ramil Sarkulov..."

Gigi and Luca Becker

Photos Courtesy Nicole Ugel


Gropman and Somerville ride 'Moon River' to gold

By Renee Felton, special to, 12/14/2011

"Gropman and Somerville considered their "Moon River" free dance as close to perfect as it could be and were credited with 45.69 points for their efforts. The skaters, who are members of the Washington FSC, totaled 83.71 points for the competition, eclipsing their winning score at the Eastern Sectional Championships by five points..."
Eliana Gropman and Ian Somerville danced
away with the juvenile gold medal.

Photo Courtesy of TSS Photography

Becker siblings rule intermediate ice dance
Brother, sister duo from WA FSC completes dance sweep

By Julia Nagy, special to, 12/14/2011

"Michael Jackson's "Jam" and "Stranger in Moscow" played as Gigi Becker and Luca Becker skated across the ice during their program. The pair came in first place in the intermediate dance with a total score of 96.21 points at the U.S. Junior Championships.

Coaches Dmytri Ilin and Alexei Kiliakov were impressed with the Beckers' skate..."
Gigi Becker and Luca Becker won both pattern
dances and the free dance en route to gold.

Photo Courtesy of TSS Photography

Beckers take slim lead after pattern dance

By Renee Felton, special to, 12/13/2011

Beckers_2012 "…Gigi Becker and Luca Becker (Washington FSC), who are the reigning U.S. juvenile silver medalists, lead with a total of 48.32 points.

"I think those were our best pattern dances ever," Luca said as his sister nodded in emphatic agreement.

Though they enjoyed exhibiting their pattern dances Tuesday, the real fun comes when they perform their free dance to a Michael Jackson medley...."

Gigi Becker and Luca Becker combined for 48.32 points in the intermediate pattern dance.

Photo Courtesy of TSS Photography


Cool: The unique thrill of ice skating in summer

By Lauren McLendon, The Sentinel, July 7 2011

"…W.I.S.A.’s skaters gracefully dance on the ice, completely in sync with their partner before most kids their age are even old enough to attend a school dance. While most of their peers are still only finger-painting, the skaters use the ice as a canvas and their skates, legs and arms all as paintbrushes to perform works of art…

Since it’s start in 2003, the W.I.S.A. has produced some of the best young skaters not only in Maryland, but also the nation. Skaters from the academy, such as 2011 AT&T U.S. National Championships gold medalists in Novice ice dance 13-year-old Rachel and 16-year-old Michael Parsons, have done more than made a name for themselves with their success at a young age, competing regionally and nationally. However, success is not the only goal of the academy as the skaters explained they’ve not only learned to skate, but also learned discipline…"

Winning pair's routine is anything but

By Amy Shipley, The Washington Post, January 30 2011

"…Earlier this week, Rachel and Michael Parsons of Derwood won the gold medal in novice dance (112.82); Chevy Chase's Ross Gudis and Elliana Pogrebinsky were fourth (105.91); Silver Spring's Morgan Grant and Luke Skala earned seventh (94.38). Laura Bonacorsi and Fulton's Travis Mager earned the silver in junior dance (127.39); Germantown's Lorraine McNamara and Wheaton's Quinn Carpenter placed ninth (102.99)…

Parsons siblings ride "Firebird" to novice title

By Lynn Rutherford, special to, 1/24/2011

"While they just missed winning today's free dance, Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons' inventive routine to Stravinsky's "Firebird" gave them the U.S. novice title.

…The siblings, who train at the Wheaton Ice Academy in Maryland under Alexei Kiliakov, Elena Novak and Dmytri Ilin, skated with other partners until this season. Now, they're firmly committed to building a career together. "We really want to move up to juniors next season and maybe start traveling internationally," Rachel said.…"
Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons topped
the novice dance field in Greensboro.

Photo Courtesy of Paul Harvath

Parsons siblings lead after novice compulsories

By Lynn Rutherford, special to, 1/23/2011

Parsons2_2011 "…Kiliakov's top novice team, siblings Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons, led the 12-team pack with wins in both the Blues and Paso Doble, two dances that date back to 1930s Britain, when George VI sat on the throne..."

Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons have a
good lead headed into the free dance

Photo Courtesy of Michelle Harvath


Novice Free Dance Report coverage, 2011 U.S National Championships, 1/22/2011

"For the third time in three years, Rachel Parsons will stand on top of the medal podium. This January she shares the honor with her brother, Michael, as they are crowned the 2011 U.S. novice ice dance champions. Skating to “Firebird” by Stravinsky, the siblings executed each element with precision, and as the music built, so did their speed. There were several program highlights including their twizzles, which the second set was mirrored, a complex straightline-into-rotational lift, and an around the back entrance into a low lift. They finished second in the free dance, but retained first place with a final score of 112.82..."

Gigi and Luca Becker - Wheaton Ice Skating Academy Skaters
2011 U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships In Salt Lake City, Utah, 12-17-10

Beckers_2010 "Gigi and Luca Becker won the silver medal in the juvenile dance division at the 2011 U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships in Salt Lake City.

They train at the Wheaton Ice Skating Academy, which is an ice dancing program for children based in Maryland. Skaters are trained in groups. The program is open to skaters of all ages and levels...."

Wheaton Ice Dance Academy Skaters, Gigi and Luca Becker, Smile With Their Mother at the 2011 U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships In Salt Lake City, Utah - December 17, 2010

Photo Courtesy of Photo by Jo Ann Schneider Farris


Lorello, Dean in first after pattern dances

By Renee Felton, special to, 12/17/2010

Juvenile ice dancing
"A pair of teams separated themselves from the rest of the field. By displaying unison, deep edges and strong interpretation of the music, they both finished the segment with over 38 points each.

…Siblings Gigi Becker and Luca Becker sit in second place after totaling 38.01 points. They represent the Washington Figure Skating Club."

Wheaton club skates to national glory
Academy sends seven ice dancing teams to nationals

by Jennifer Beekman,, November 24 2010

"…The Wheaton Ice Skating Academy specializes in ice dance, and made its mark on the national scene Nov. 10-13, when all seven of its entries in the U.S. Figure Skating Association Sectional Championships qualified for Nationals…
…Some WISA athletes could be on the Olympic track. To compete at that level, skaters must train five to six days a week. Kiliakov and Novak donate their time as coaches and have their students pay only for ice time…"

Wheaton Ice Academy wins big at 2010 junior nationals

by Amber Parcher, Gazette.Net, January 13 2010

"Wheaton Ice Academy's intermediate ice dancers returned to Wheaton this week brandishing their gold and bronze medals they won at the 2010 U.S. Junior National Championships in Cleveland, putting the Wheaton skating program at the forefront of the national skating scene in the process.

Parsons_MacMillan_2010 Local ice dancers Rachel Parsons, 12, and Kyle MacMillan, 13, defended their 2009 Junior National Championship title by taking home the gold again this year. However, the 2010 championship marked the first time the young skaters competed as intermediates. In 2009, the pair were crowned champions in the lower juvenile category.

Rachel Parson, 12, and Kyle MacMillan, 13 of the Wheaton Ice Dance Academy skate in their gold-medal performance in December at the 2010 U.S. Junior National Championships, the premier skating championship for junior-level skaters, in Cleveland. This is the second national gold for the pair, who competed in the higher intermediate level ice dance category for the first time.

Photo Courtesy of Ewell Photography

The Wheaton Ice Skating Academy's other national-level ice dance team, Elliana Pogrebinsky, 12, and Ross Gudis, 14, also had an excellent showing at this year's Junior Nationals, taking home the bronze medal in the intermediate category as their first year skating together as a team..."


Elliana Pogrebinsky, 12, and Ross Gudis, 14, who took home the bronze and helped put Wheaton skating on the national map.

Photo Courtesy of Ewell Photography

Athletes from across the U.S. attend Junior Figure Skating Championships

By Amanda Garrett, Sun News, December 25 2009

"STRONGSVILLE -- Athletes from across the United States packed Hoover Arena last week for the 2010 U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships…

…Skater Ross Gudis, 14, who lives in the Washington D.C. metro area, was relaxing Friday afternoon after a come from behind finish in the finals of the intermediate ice dance. Gudis and his partner Elliana Pogrebinsky, 11, moved from fifth place after the compulsory dance to finish in third place after the free dance on Friday morning. The pair’s mime-themed free dance, in which they dress in black-and-white costumes, earned strong numbers from the judges…"

Parsons, MacMillan take intermediate dance title

By Becca Staed Bishop, special to, 12/18/2009

"Intermediate dance team Rachel Parsons and Kyle MacMillan won their second straight U.S. Junior title Friday with a 107.49 competition mark. The duo was the juvenile ice dancing champions at last year's event in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Parsons_MacMillan_2009 Parsons, 12, and MacMillan, 12, train under Alexei Kiliakov, Elena Novak and Dmytri Ilin, at Wheaton Skating Academy in Maryland and are in their second year together. They finished first in both compulsory dance events, the Foxtrot and American Waltz, and then rounded out the event with a 55.84 free dance score en route to the gold medal…"

Rachel Parsons and Kyle MacMillan won the intermediate ice dancing title in Strongsville.

Photo Courtesy of Becca Staed Bishop


Tough love makes top contenders
Wheaton academy skaters edge out competition

By Amber Parcher, 12/17/2008

K_A_09_US "Most of the skaters at the Wheaton Ice Skating Academy can't even drive yet, but many of them say they're already veterans when it comes to competing on the national scene…"

Andrew Hickey of Silver Spring poses during the free skate competition with his partner, Katherine Gourianova of Potomac, at last month's Eastern Sectionals Championships in Boston, where he and his partner qualified for the U.S. Junior National Figure Skating Championships in Lake Placid, N.Y. Hickey, 13, was competing at the national level for the first time after joining the Wheaton Ice Skating Academy two years ago.

Photo Courtesy of


Local Skaters Get Big Results in Weekend Events

By Amy Shipley,, 12/15/2008

"Local ice dance teams, meantime, won two medals and earned three of the top six placements in the intermediate and juvenile categories at the U.S. junior figure skating championships in Lake Placid, N.Y. …"

Gamelins win sibling face-off in intermediate dance
Phams take silver, roughly four-and-a-half points out of first

By Lynn Rutherford, special to, 12/13/2008

inter_09_US "...The silver went to another brother-s title to qualify for U.S. Juniors.and-sister team, Danvi Pham and Vu Pham, who train under the husband-and-wife coaching team of Alexei Kiliakov and Elena Novak at Maryland's Wheaton Ice Skating Academy…"

Parsons, MacMillan reign in juvenile dance
Family affair in Lake Placid for both skaters and parents

By Lynn Rutherford, special to, 12/13/2008

"Rachel Parsons and Kyle MacMillan, who train at the Wheaton Skating Academy in Maryland, won juvenile dance gold at the 2009 U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships on their first try…"

Interviews: Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter, 10/17/2008

"You competed in the Open Finnstep at Lake Placid, which was the first time this dance had been competed. What was this experience like for you? What made you decide to compete this compulsory, especially since it is skated by the competitors at the senior level?…"


2008 Lake Placid Ice Dance

Photo Courtesy of Katie Weigel

Gilles, Donohue shine in Lake Placid

By Alexandra Stevenson, special to, 8/03/2008

"…Closing these championships on Saturday evening was the intermediate free dance. An incredibly cute brother-and-sister duo, Vu and Danvi Pham, who are 9 and 11 years old, won a field of 14 pairs by a significant 5.91-point margin over second-place duo Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter.

Both couples train at the Wheaton Ice Skating Academy in Maryland, near Silver Springs.

The Phams also won the $500 Jim Yorke Memorial Award for "Excellence in Choreography and Expression at Intermediate Level." Their routine, set to the Polovtsian Dances from Alexander Borodin's opera, Prince Igor, was intricately designed, enthusiastically performed and showed tremendous promise. Their twizzles gained Level 4 and both lifts were Level 3."

Behind the scenes at Lake Placid

By Jo Ann Schneider-Farris, special to, 8/02/2008

"…In the afternoon, I returned to the arena for the juvenile and intermediate free dance practices. During the practice, I had a wonderful conversation with Josh Carpenter -- the father of Quinn Carpenter -- the 2008 U.S. national juvenile dance pewter medalist and the winner of the intermediate compulsory dance group A event here at Lake Placid. Quinn skates at the Wheaton Skating Academy under coaches Alexei Kiliakov, Elena Novak, and Dmytri Ilin. It is truly amazing to see these coaches and their skaters in action. It is just "plain neat" to see young children enjoying ice dancing.

I learned that, much of the time, the skaters at Wheaton learn and train together in groups. Most of the costume design is done by Novak. Each of the coaches do the choreography for certain skaters. There are off-ice and on-ice sessions. The children compete in many different competitions. Although the atmosphere at the Academy is strict, the children have fun and become friends. Most of the children training there are solely committed to being ice dancers since the required time commitment at the Academy largely precludes involvement in other branches of figure skating..."

Russian coaches succeding with young dance teams

By John Markon, special to, 7/03/2008

WISA_on_icenetwork "Elena Novak has a wonderful command of English, but her Russian roots were showing when she was asked if there was a large "fun" element built into the flourishing teaching and coaching program…"

Pham siblings lead juvenile dance field
Pairs from Washington FSC take three of four top spots on the day

By Jared Eborn, special to, 11/30/2007

USjun2007 "Two by two, the skaters coached by Alexei Kiliakov, Elena Novak and Dmytri Ilin took to the ice and didn't come off until they had wowed the judges and audience…"

Young Skating Surprise

By Levan Reid, 9-SPORTS NOW, 10/9/2007

"WHEATON, MD (USA) - They glide across the ice to songs that were produced before they were born…"


Young Skaters Begin to Figure in the National Scene

Gazette.Net, January 17 2007

lorraine_gazette "Determination, hours of practice lead to U.S. Junior Championships for Wheaton Ice Skating Academy group.
...Quinn Carpenter, 10, of Wheaton and Lorraine McNamara, 7, of Germantown, who competed at the U.S. Figure Skating Junior Championship, perform at the ice show.
The brother and sister team of Vu and Danvi Pham, ages 9 and 7, perform Dec. 23 at the Winter Ice Show 2006 at Wheaton Ice Arena."

Figure-Skating Pair Wins Gold Medal

Washington Post, March 12 2006

kristina_post "Kristina Rexford, 9, and Michael Parsons, 10, won a gold medal at the South Atlantic Regionals figure skating competition in Tampa Florida..."

Athletes Moving on the Cutting Edge of Competition
Ice Dancing Academy offers skaters a chance to put talents on ice

Gazette, March 17 2004

"Wheaton Ice Dancing Academy instructor Alexei Kiliakov watches as Chevy Chase resident Ross Gudis practices an ice dancing move on a Friday night at Wheaton Ice Arena…"