Canada’s 2001 junior dance champions, Tara Doherty and Tyler Myles, made a successful transition to seniors this season, finishing sixth. All of the couples ahead of them were multi-year veterans in senior dance and all had competed at Grand Prix events in the past. The talented team’s goal is “to make the Senior National Team this year, ideally medal at 2003 Canadians and aim for the next winter Olympics in 2006,” Doherty stated.
Myles began skating when he was five. He began concentrating on dance when he was 15, after a knee injury required surgery. In 1998, Myles won the novice dance title at Canadians with Tara Schaack. Doherty started skating when she was six. “My older sister did free skate singles up to the age of 18. My parents wanted me to learn how to skate so that I could enjoy the sport as a recreational activity,” she said. “I had a love for dance from a very early age and excelled at it during my years as a test stream skater.” But she didn’t have much luck in finding a boy with whom to compete.
“I had been looking for a couple of years for a partner but without a prior track record it is difficult get people interested in meeting you. Following a tryout in 1999 a coach called David Islam and suggested that he call me for a tryout with Tyler Myles. Tyler had been novice champion in 1998 and so I thought there wouldn’t be a chance but wanted the experience of another tryout. After three visits David Islam decided to give me chance to prove myself and I moved to Barrie the following week leaving my home, my school and my friends. But it was worth it!”
The new team began training in April 1999 at the Mariposa Winter Club in Barrie, Ontario, with David Islam, Kelly Johnson and Pavol Paroc. Kelly Johnson does most of their choreography but they used Bernie Ford in 2000 and Igor Shpilband this season for their original dance. They used “Leyenda” and “Querer” from Cirque du Soleil for their original dance this season. “We always participate in the choreography and try to work on some of our show programs alone,” Doherty added. “Our program music selection is a combined effort once we decide on a theme. Tyler and I love to skate to a theme that we can portray. Our original dance in 2000 was to a fun number: “All That Jazz” by Chicago and this year our free dance was to “My Drag” by Squirrel Nut Zippers. Both of these allowed us a great opportunity to perform as character skaters.”
“Our favorite dances are the Cha Cha and various tangos and blues,” she continued. “I find the waltzes most difficult because the mood is difficult for me to feel and portray.” During their training, the couple takes ballet and modern dance classes as well as some ballet, although neither has formal ballet training. For off ice entertainment, Doherty’s favorite music is R&B and dance. Her favorite groups are Destiny’s Child and Boys To Men.
Doherty said she has “not thought seriously about skating professionally after my competitive career. “I do not wish to coach or do choreography at this time. I hope to become a fun schoolteacher as a career.” She is currently a part-time student in her first at York University where she is majoring in French Studies. The dancers were both recipients of the Petro Canada Olympic Torch Scholarship, which is given to 100 athletes across Canada who are at university or college and who are on the National team.
As for off ice pursuits, Doherty noted, “I don’t have time for much of anything else except school and skating.” She used to ski, both on water and on the snow, but had to give it up due to the risk of injury. She likes to watch comedies at the cinema, read mysteries and adventure stories, and collect teddy bears. For holidays, she said “I love to go to the family cottage to vacation or to England to see my cousins. (She was born in Taunton, England.) I love to travel and have had the opportunity to go to Kiev, Bulgaria, Oberstdorf, Germany and Zagreb, Croatia the past two years to skate. Oberstdorf was my favorite.” She would like to visit Greece again. “I love the sun and the water there,” she said.