Quinn Carpenter and Lorraine McNamara dance on the ice dramatically to the tune of a tango song. They are currently working on their ice skating routine at a Wheaton, Md. ice rink. They're in the first year of senior level skating, the highest level anybody can go. The pair has been working together for 12 years.
"I remember the first time we skated together neither of us saying anything because we were so young, but now we practically know each other better than know ourselves," Carpenter, a native of Wheaton, said with a big smile.
From watching them, you could mistake them for brother and sister. Their chemistry’s so strong the Maryland natives communicate without any words.
"I know when he’s gonna put me down just by the feeling of him that he gives," McNamara said. "We can sense each other."
That connection’s led to countless awards. They won the U.S. Junior titles in 2015 and 2016 plus the world title in 2016. The secret to their success besides hard work? Gyrotonics, which is a unique movement method that helps improve flexibility and range of motion through circular motions. It combines, yoga, martial arts, and dance all in one.
Alesia Fowler, Quinn and Lorraine's gyrotonic instructor at the Balance Pilates & Yoga Studio in Bethesda, says it's a beautiful thing to take part in.
"It’s a little bit like watching dance in a therapeutic way," she said.
"It helps us become more in tune with body," McNamara added. "We can sense if there'’s something a little bit off."
While the ice dancers only train once a week in gyrotonics, it plays a big impact on their skating ability.
"So much of what we do is an extension and hitting positions, how high you can lift leg, and making yourself look graceful," Carpenter said. "Gyro really helps with that because of the stability."
The two started gyrotonics two years ago, the same time the championships started coming in. Coincidence?
"Probably not," Carpenter comments with a laugh. "It's had a big impact on our skating."
"I think it’s something we will keep in our pocket," McNamara says.
Just 18 and 21 respectively, Lorraine and Quinn dream of making it to the Olympics one day. With gyrotonics in their arsenal and giving them that edge, you can bet they’ll cash in and store some more medals in their pockets.