OK, somebody has to start this thing. I'm probably not the best candidate, but here goes.....it all started two years ago when Denis and Elena first moved to Richmond...I'm an adult skater from Richmond. My regular coach was going to be out of town for a few weeks doing a skating show in West Virginia. Denis and Elena were new to SkateNation, so Chris contacted Denis to see if he would work with me for a few weeks.
Denis called me to arrange the lesson, which was set up for a Saturday morning. Of course I hadn't actually met Denis in person yet, so the day of the lesson I was very apprehensive about what it would be like for a less-than-expert skater to work with an Olympic medalist!
When Denis arrived at the rink I introduced myself to him, and he was very, very nice. But we weren't on the ice yet. When I got onto the ice, I recall thinking "How in the world am I going to manage to look like someone who knows how to skate?" I'm not awful, but I'm certainly not good, either. And this was two years ago, so I was just learning how to do flips and loops.
When Denis came out on the ice to get together with me, he suggested I start with a "spin." Denis' English was OK at that time, but not great. So, when I said, oh a scratch spin, he says "No, this one" and promptly went into a very beautiful back scratch spin.
Keeping in mind that I was totally unable to do even one revolution of a back spin, I mustered up my courage and did what was supposed to be my spin entry. And promptly fell at Denis' feet...And what could I do but burst out laughing and say "Well, I guess that wasn't quite right!" Just at the same moment that one of my skating friends skates by with a look of absolute dread on her face!
So, the "ice was broken", in a manner of speaking, and I thoroughly enjoyed working with Denis. We had several lessons over the next few weeks, and he's awesome as a coach.
I had an opportunity to work with Denis again for a few weeks this past August while my regular coach was in Scotland. We worked on some pairs spins and throw waltz jumps. And guess what else we worked on? That darned elusive back spin that I still can't do!!!!!
It has been a wonderful opportunity to have Denis and Elena skate at the same rink as I do. They are amazing to watch from rinkside!
OK, enough about my encounter...who has others?
Thanks a lot, much appreciated!
This past summer my wife and I were moving from North Carolina to Washington state. We had to travel through Richmond VA.. I had sent Elena a package a month before with a poetry book, some tea and honey, and some scents and potions to help reduce stress. When we stopped by Skate Nation just to observe Elena and Denis practice I actually had a very brief conversation with Elena. She was very nice to speak to. She thanked me for the gift and was very appreciative. I was a little star struck to be able to approach her so easily (especially as a 42 year old guy). She mentioned her e-mail address on AOL but I never wrote it down, how would I contact her? This all happened on 16 July 1999. It was a very nice meeting.
Okay.....as we browse your website, we had a ball reading what other encounters everone have had with Elena and Denis. So we had to put in our small two cents worth, being the "Official Old Pair Team" from North Carolina. In training, let me say that you most definetly get your money's worth if you take lessons from them. We have had many coaches in the past, but have never met the likes of them. Every ounce of time we spend with them, whether it is on the ice or up in the ballet room is worth all the pain we go through. We are treated with respect and dignity and they are two of the nicest people we have ever met. In North Carolina we call this sucking up, just in case they ever come to this site. And if she does come here before the next lesson.......Elena we really are trying.........remember the crash pad?