Ice Dance Duo Find On-Ice Chemistry

Natalie Robinson and Chase Ireland Heidt ice dancing

Chatham-Kent ice dancers Natalie Robinson (Ridgetown) and Chase Ireland-Heidt (Chatham) skate at a recent competition – Contributed Photo

It didn’t take long for Ridgetown’s Natalie Robinson, and Chatham’s Chase Ireland-Heidt to find chemistry on the ice. Many ice dance pairs bounce between partners, or struggle to find their groove for years. This local duo however, has been skating together for just over a year, and now they’re making waves on the Provincial, and hopefully soon, the National stage.

Recently selected for the Elite Select Team, which includes the top ten dance teams in Ontario, Robinson and Ireland-Heidt are competing at the Autumn Skate in Ottawa this week, in preparation for the Western Ontario Section Competition in early November.

“Natalie and Chase are developing very quickly into a strong dance team,” says coach Connie Toth, who has been working with the duo since they started ice dancing together last year.

“If they continue to improve at the pace they did last winter they will have much success. They work well together and are a pleasure to coach.”

With their ultimate goal set on qualifying for the Canadian Championships at the Pre-Novice level, which will be held in Quebec this December, according to Robinson, the pair aren’t looking too far in the future, rather, they’re focusing on simply improving each time they take the ice.

“Our goal for this year is to try to the best we can and achieve the highest level on components and elements of our routine, and working on being stronger skaters,” says the 15-year-old Robinson, who attends Ridgetown District High School, and has been skating since age three. “So we are giving more effort and focus on the ice.”

Making the Elite Select Team in itself was an incredible feeling for the dance team, who have been spending countless hours on the ice training this year.

“Feels awesome and inspiring as we can watch the top teams and learn from them,” says Ireland-Heidt, a 16-year-old student at Ecole Secondaire de Pain Court, who also coaches gymnastics at the Chatham Gymnastics Centre.

“It is totally surreal, as I never thought of us in this way,” added Robinson of being honoured with a spot on the Elite Select Team.

With high expectations from others, and themselves for this Fall and Winter, Robinson and Heidt-Ireland aren’t worried about the pressure, because of the trust they’ve formed on and off the ice, and due to the confidence they have in each other.

“Natalie is focused and determined, and has her sights set for a higher level of skating,” says Ireland-Heidt of his partner. “She is very task oriented and keeps me focus on what we are working.”

“Chase always tries his best, and he is a very caring individual who always makes me laugh and makes skating enjoyable for myself and other on the ice,” reciprocates Robinson.

Despite their accomplishments on the ice, and goals for the future, as long as Robinson and Ireland-Heidt get to spend time together on the ice, they’ll be happy. They love the sport of ice dance for the challenges it presents, and the feeling it gives them on the ice.

“Ice dancing is harder than it looks, lifting my partner takes a lot of focus and energy,” says Ireland-Heidt. “The sport is an amazing accomplishment for myself. I love to skate and show others how too.”

“It makes me feel alive,” says Robinson of stepping on the ice to dance, “and I enjoy how we move on the ice and can make others feel as they watch us.”

As Ireland-Heidt, and Robinson take to the ice together this season, they’ll be looking to spread that feeling to even more people in the ice dance world.

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