Golden Skate

Moore-Towers and Marinaro: ‘No stone unturned’

Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro

Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro perform their long program at the 2015 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships.

Canada’s Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro had a good showing this past season in their first year together as a team. The skaters paired up last June and were on the ice competing four months later at Skate Canada and Trophée Éric Bompard, where they placed sixth and seventh, respectively.

The team trains under Bruno Marcotte, Richard Gauthier, Sylvie Fullum, Cynthia Lemaire, and Julie Marcotte in Montreal, QC. Their objective this past season was to just “skate clean and reliable programs” without focusing too much on the results.

“We wanted to skate to the best of our abilities and see where we stacked up on the international field,” said Moore-Towers. “With an injury starting out our season, we didn’t start off as smoothly as we planned, and I think it was a bit more difficult of a concept than we had anticipated.”

One of the main areas the skaters had to work on was the technique of their lifts as there was a seven-inch difference between Moore-Towers and Marinaro’s former partner, Margaret Purdy.

“It’s still a work in progress,” Moore-Towers laughed. “After changing training locations, this was one of the biggest things we focused on. It’s mostly a matter of doing things a certain way for so many years and trying to break that habit. We have not completely overcome this, but we have certainly made leaps and bounds.”

“Bruno Marcotte really took us back to the basics off lifting,” said Marinaro. “We fixed a few key things that will make a noticeable difference to our lift quality and we are getting in a groove together.”

Another goal of theirs was to look different as a team than they had with their former partners. Moore-Towers had spent five years with former partner, Dylan Moscovitch, while Marinaro was with Purdy for seven.

“I loved our programs last year, but with the way we executed them, I’m not entirely sure we accomplished that particular goal,” said Moore-Towers. “It’s a massive change to learn someone’s new personality. While we have known each other for about eleven years, it’s an entirely different relationship when you are building a career and forming goals together. It’s not the same as hanging out at a handful of times a year at competitions.”

As with any new partnerships, this one didn’t come without sacrifice. Marinaro had to switch clubs, coaches, city, and choreographer. Nevertheless, he was committed to this partnership and even embraced the changes.”

“Kirsten and I are working really hard and are both extremely dedicated,” he said. “We are both willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish our goals. After this season ended, we decided we needed to make a few changes for the growth of our team. We needed to take the team in a new direction.”

The skaters, both 23, love training in Montreal and feel that all of their coaches bring something unique to the table.

“The caliber of the teams that train here also motivates and pushes us daily,” said Marinaro. “It is a great training environment.”

After the Grand Prix season, the skaters went on to compete at the 2015 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships and 2015 Four Continents Championships, where they placed fourth and seventh, respectively.

“Our first season was a challenge in many respects,” Moore-Towers admitted, “but I am proud of our showing at nationals. We put forth our best efforts and didn’t feel that we should have placed any higher. It was a tough event. We were not particularly proud of our skates at Four Continents, especially the free skate, but we learned a lot about each other from the experience and were able to take a lot from it.”

This upcoming season, the team will be skating to “‘If I Can’t Have You” by Etta James for the short program, while their long will be to selections from the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack. Both routines were choreographed by Julie Marcotte.

“We absolutely love working with her,” said Marinaro. “She is very unique and brings a lot to our team.”

“Neither of us had worked with Julie before, and our coaches felt it was important for us to come out completely new,” Moore-Towers offered. “Our schedules did not really allow us to see Mark Pillay, whom we love, as much as we needed.”

This season, the team has completely revamped their lifts, throws and death spirals.

“We started from scratch and completely rebuilt these elements with new technique,” said Marinaro. “At first, it was a very difficult and slow start, but we are bringing everything together now.”

“Two of our three free program lifts are different and more challenging for us, but we are surrounded by some brilliant lifters and learn a lot from them,” added Moore-Towers. “We have also changed our triple toe sequence to a three jump combo.”

The skaters have also focused a great deal on their skating skills as their choreographer is in the same city and they are able to do weekly work on their programs.

“We are trying to completely rebuild the partnership with a much more refined and polished look,” Marinaro explained. “We have been working with a couple of dance coaches to try and take our partnership to the next level. We made some key changes and are really working hard day to day to make a big leap in progress from last season.”

“We work with Sylvie Fullum several times a week on our basic skating skills and apply them to our programs,” Moore-Towers offered. “Hopefully our work will Julie and Sylvie will help us to show improvements in our artistry. As far as elements go, we are trying to leave no stone left unturned. This is much easier said than done!”

The team is currently slated to compete at Skate Canada and Rostelecom Cup for the Grand Prix season. Prior to that, they will be competing at the Quebec Summer Championships later next month.