Julianne Dardis is a junior at SUNY Brockport. She is 20 years old. She is on a competitive synchronized skating team.
Synchronized skating is a division of figure skating, where there’s between eight to 20 people on a team, but there can only be 16 on the ice. They work as a team to perform elements and moves to create a beautiful program. There are both short programs and long programs, but Dardis’s division is free skate. They choreograph a routine to music. There are also different levels, Dardis competes at the open collegiate and adult levels.
Dardis has been skating for nine seasons. When she was very young she entered a learn to skate program and did not enjoy it. A few years later Dardis tried a learn to synchro program and hasn’t stopped since. She started skating with a team in her hometown when she was 11 years old. In her freshman year of college she joined a team based out of Rochester. This team is Mirror Images. Mirror Images serves athletes from Syracuse, Buffalo, and Rochester.
“I like working as a team. I like having people around while I skate, and I love my coaches. I like the feeling of performing and being under the lights, and I love getting all dressed up to do it. I also like the freedom of expression while working with others,” Dardis said.
This season Dardis wants to work on her performance skills, qualify for this seasons national competition, pass her junior moves in the field test, and perfect her twizzles, a move she has had trouble with.
“I was never properly trained on how to perform field moves – and I’m not flexible enough to do some of them. Like the spread eagles, 180s’, and certain elements of freestyle moves that are performed in Synchro I am not very good at,” Dardis said.
At age 19 she got her first Easterns medal, she was a 2020 Empire State Winter Games ambassador, and won the gold medal in her division. Her adult team qualified for nationals last season.
Stephanie Felberbaum is Dardis’s best friend and synchronized skater. Felberbaum skates for Adrian College Varsity Synchronized Skating Teams at the Senior level.
“I started skating with Julie when I was a freshman in high school and even though we are on different teams now I have watched her love for the sport continue to grow which is shown through her skating and the hard work that she puts in for her team,” Felberbaum said.
Dardis recently returned from Boston where the team had their first competition of the season at the 2022 Boston synchronized skating classic. Dardis’s team placed third.
Dardis is currently the team manager for her open collegiate team for the second consecutive year. She was hand selected for this position by her coach Andrea Auer. Auer has been skating for 18 years.
“She makes sure the entire team gets to practice on time. She sends out information for competitions and makes sure that they are booking their hotels, bringing the required apparel, that they show up at the right time, as well as their car pool information. She coordinates fun things for them like Secret Santa. She basically keeps the entire team in line,” Auer said.
Dardis does not know if she will continue to skate after graduation.
“I don’t know where I’ll be after college, and I really don’t want to leave this organization. I definitely want to coach but I don’t know where I will be after I graduate. I do want to continue to skate at some point,” Dardis said.
Dardis’s coach, Auer, thinks that Dardis could be a great coach.
“Pretty much she’s the only one that can do it right (team manager), she came in freshman year and I was like, yep, that’s the one to take over for me,” Auer said.
Dardis’s ninth season has just begun, over the next few months her team will travel around the east coast in hopes of making it back to the national competition. In the meantime Dardis will continue to work on the moves she has trouble with and prepare for her upcoming skills test.
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