On Saturday, September 22, 2012, Jessica Williams won gold at the 2012 National Solo Dance Championship which took place at the Colorado Springs World Arena.
Williams was an accomplished competitive singles skater until she was twenty-two years old competing through the senior level. In 2009, she moved from Texas to Denver to attend college. She began ice dancing when she joined the intercollegiate skating team at the University of Denver.
“I actually had little interest in learning ice dance before that point, but now, I absolutely love ice dancing and I think I like it even more than freestyle,” says Williams. “It’s always the highlight of my day.”
Some of the things Williams loves about ice dancing include the way deep edges feel and sound, how many different combinations of edges and different choctaws that can be done in dance that aren’t done in freestyle, the way twizzles look and feel, and combining skating elements. Skating and dancing with the music, instead of just skating to music, brings Jessica much joy.
Under her coach, Stefano Stangalini, Williams has tested through the silver test level pattern dances and junior solo free dance. 2012 is the second year she participated in the National Solo Dance Championship. In 2011, she was the Pre-Silver Pattern Dance Champion, and in 2012, she became the Silver Pattern Dance Champion.
Williams also qualified to compete in the junior solo free dance event. Her free dance is a rhumba/mambo/samba mix, choreographed by two-time national ice dance champion, Trina Louise Pratt.
“I absolutely love my free dance every time I skate it,” says Williams. “Competing that free dance is probably the most fun I have ever had skating and competing and I like to think it shows.”
Williams was disappointed to not qualify for the final free dance round at the 2012 Solo Dance Championship, but was pleased with how she skated and how much she learned and achieved as an ice dancer. In fact, the National Solo Dance Championship was the highlight of William’s competition season. She rates the event as her most fun skating competition ever.
“This year was much bigger and harder than last year, but all the hard work was definitely worth it. We traveled to Lake Placid and Ann Arbor to compete, looking for more competitions outside of Colorado so I could qualify. I also had about four critiques with various judges and it was very exciting to see my hard work pay and traveling pay off when the results were posted!”
Williams and other 2012 National Solo Dance Championship winners were thrilled to have the 2006 Olympic ice dancing silver medalist, Tanith Belbin, give out the gold medals and flowers.
“I love this competition because it’s fun to see ice dance becoming more popular as well being given a chance to compete at a national level even if you don’t have a partner. I plan on participating again next year, but at the senior free dance level and either at the pre-gold or gold pattern dance level. My long term goals are to test my international dances and to compete with a partner if one ever comes along. I just want to see how far I can take this sport since I have just been introduced it and have fallen in love with it.” – Jessica Williams
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