By Amber Gibson
Special to Figure Skaters Online
After a long day on the ice, Alissa Czisny had time for a quick chat as she waited to drive Adam Rippon home. Czisny lives in the same complex as 14 other skaters from her rink, and has been living with Rippon all summer since his apartment didn’t open until August. She’s still driving him home every day, but doesn’t mind because she said it’s nice to have company.
It’s nice to have company on the ice too, and training with top skaters like Rippon and Jeremy Abbott helps push Czisny to new levels with her own skating.
“I look around and there’s four boys doing quads on this session,” she says. “I’m so blessed to skate with that many good skaters.”
Czisny loves the camaraderie and support of the other skaters at the Detroit Skating Club.
“Adam and I were just laughing about that yesterday because we were both pretty sore and tired and I was saying that it was so hard for me but I kept pushing myself on the ice, because when it gets to that point in the competition you have to push through. Then, Adam said he was so glad I said that because he was really sore and tired too but we kept feeding off of each other and pushing each other”
Czisny says that last season was like the beginning of a new career for her.
“It was almost like I was a new skater,” she says. “Looking at the season now, it was pretty successful. I didn’t reach all of my goals but I gave the season my all and I had no regrets.”
At Champs Camp in August, Czisny was practicing both a triple lutz-triple toe combination and a triple toe-triple toe combination, although she didn’t include either in her programs there.
She does plan on including a triple lutz-triple toe when she makes her Grand Prix debut this year at Skate America.
“I’ve been sticking it in my short every day so that is my plan,” she says. “If it’s consistently clean enough to not lose any points.”
Her programs were well-received at Champs Camp and Czisny feels confident about the season going forward, happily reporting that she is injury-free.
“The levels and the jumps were there,” she says. “Feedback was mostly about growing the programs, the musicality, the things that we knew that I obviously have yet to work on.” With two new programs for the season, that is no surprise.
Czisny’s new short program is La Vie en Rose, inspired by the song in Sabrina. She says she hasn’t seen the film La Vie en Rose, where Marion Cotillard stars as Edith Piaf, so her interpretation is pure Audrey Hepburn.
“My short program took us forever and ever to decide what to do,” she says. “Pasquale kept coming up with good ideas but nothing was the right thing. Nothing jumped out at me. Then Yuka came up with La Vie en Rose and she and Pascquale put it together.” Czisny bears more than a passing resemblance to Hepburn, which can only help charm the judges.
For her long program, Czisny will skate to Valse Triste, by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. Pasquale Camerlengo chose the music and choreographed the program.
“Last year he did my long program [Selctions from Winter into Spring] and I loved it, so this year when he said ‘I have something for you’ I completely believed in whatever it was and knew that I would love it,” Czisny says. “When I heard the music at first, I was not sure about it, but I knew whatever he put to it I would love and I do love it,” she says earnestly.
Her costumes for both programs are still MIA but should be ready by Skate America. “I haven’t seen any finished products,” Czisny says, “So I’m keeping that undercover until I perform with them.”
You can see Alissa skate at Fashion On Ice this month at Hoffman Estates, Ill., where she’ll be performing her Moon River program, as well as skating to Aretha Franklin singing live. Her costume will be designed by either Gilles Mendel or Betsey Johnson, although she hasn’t seen it yet.
“I heard that supposedly it’s in the mail but I have no idea what it is or anything,” she says.
Czisny will also be the lone American representing Team North America with Joannie Rochette and Jeff Buttle among other skaters at the Japan Open at the beginning of October before beginning a rigorous Grand Prix series.
Photo courtesy of Leah Adams
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