Golden Skate

Karam and McGrath Rise in Canadian Junior Dance

The young team of Siobhan Karam and Joshua McGrath from Ottawa, Ontario are hoping to medal again at Canadians this winter.

The young team of Siobhan Karam and Joshua McGrath from the Minto Skating Club in Ottawa, Ontario are hoping to medal again at Canadians this winter.

After winning a bronze medal in junior dance last season at Canadians, Karam and McGrath, both 17, have had a good fall season. The dancers have finished fourth at two Junior Grand Prix events, the Sofia Cup in Bulgaria and Skate Bled in Slovenia. They also did well in 2002, winning the North American Challenge Skate in Huntsville, AL, taking the bronze medal at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in Bratislava, Slovakia and finishing fifth at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in Chemnitz, Germany. They also won the 2003 Eastern Ontario Sectionals.

For this season, McGrath said, “We want to skate well at all competitions and have better results then last year.” Karam said she hoped to compete until sometime in her 20s, depending upon the team’s accomplishments. She hopes to medal at Worlds and the Olympics, then skate professionally. “That is always the end goal but the Olympics is what I want the most,” McGrath added.

Karam comes from a skating family and began skating when she was three years old. “My older sister skated, so my mom thought I would like to as well,” she said, adding that “My 10 year old brother, Michael, plays hockey, three of my sisters all used to figure skate but not anymore, and my 4 year old sister just started CanSkate.” McGrath, on the other hand, is the first skater in his family since his grandmother skated as a child. She started him in skating when he was nine.

That was the same age as Karam began ice dancing. “I’m better at dance than free skate,” she said. “I’m not as nervous when I do dance and I enjoy expressing myself and dancing rather than jumping.” McGrath started ice dancing when he was ten. “I enjoy having the company on the ice and I enjoy the aspects of dance and the skills that are involved in it,” he said. “I used to do singles. It was a lot of fun. I believe my best result was third at sectionals in juvenile men.”

Karam and McGrath were matched as a team by Marina Zueva in 1997. They have worked with her for eight years. For the last two and a half years, they have trained with Igor Shpilband and Zueva at the Arctic Edge of Canton, Michigan. They usually spend 4-5 hours a day on ice and another hour off ice, which includes ballet and running. Shpilband choreographs the dancers’ programs. This season, they are using In the Mood by Glenn Miller and Moonlight Serenade for the original dance and Cats for the free dance. The Silver Samba and the Rhumba are Karam’s two favorite compulsory dances. “I like the faster ones like Rhumba and Quickstep,” McGrath added.

Music selection is a community decision. “The coaches give us ideas and we listen to the music and pick from there,” Karam said. “I like all kinds of music as long as there is change,” McGrath noted, “but I like quick ones.” Off ice, McGrath enjoys oldies, especially AC/DC and Bruce Springstein , while Karam noted that her tastes change every year. She enjoys hip hop, R and B, some techno and dance music. She also plays the piano.

Karam is in her final year at Holy Names High School in Windsor, Ontario, where she takes mainly mathematics and science classes. She also enjoys English and French. McGrath is also just a few courses short of graduating, after which he plans to attend the University of Michigan or Windsor. Eventually, both Karam and McGrath plan to become doctors.

To relax, McGrath likes going to the action and comedy movies and hanging out with friends. He also likes to read action adventure books. Each year, he also participates in the Relay for Life with his family. Karam likes to read mystery novels and tragedies and watch all kinds of movies, especially comedies and horror movies. Both of them also use the computer a lot to email friends, search the web, and do schoolwork. The skaters have a website at

McGrath said, “I love traveling and am extremely fortunate to be able to travel around the world due to skating. My favorite trip so far probably was Slovakia because I met a lot of nice new people.” He’d like to see Florida. Karam also likes to travel. One of her favorite trips was to Gdansk in Poland.