Beach Resident Skates to Championship
|by Bridin Reynolds|
|Synonymous with elegance and dignity, ballroom dancing steps are something one simply cannot fake. Add a shimmering ice rink as the dance surface and the challenge is compounded to a level accepted by the rare individuals who pursue competitive ice dancing.
Lewes resident Richard Carinci is counted among the best ice dancers in the nation. Together with skating partner Mara Schmittinger, Carinci brought home the bronze medal at the 2005 U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships, held April 17 in Overland Park, Kansas.
As his skates led him through the classic steps of the fox trotin stunning synchronicity with SchmittingerCarinci said he sensed victory. "Throughout the performance we could feel that we were accomplishing our goal," said Richard. Delivering a dance full of dramatic and innovative choreography, the pair secured third place in the highly competitive championship. "Competing against several of the best ice dancers in the country, we are thrilled to have taken the bronze," he said.
Carinci, an openly gay male, moved to the Delaware shore in 2003. He and Schmittinger met at the Centre Ice Rink at Delaware State Fairgrounds in Harrington through an introduction by Skating Director Deanna Vokes. "The partnership evolved quickly. It is rather extraordinary to find such a complementary match in ice dancing. The judges at Nationals remarked on continued improvement as a pair," he said. Carinci and Schmittinger are the first skaters to represent the Centre in national competition since it was founded in 2002.
As they continue to hone their skating style, the duo also teach popular ice dancing classes at the Harrington rink.
"This style of skating is ideal for all ages," said Richard. "There's no ex-treme impact to the body as the jumps and spins of freestyle; instead, it stresses timing and precision footwork."
In ice dancing, traditional ballroom dances comprise the core of skaters' programs. Competition requires both a compulsory routine with predetermined steps and music as well as an original routine where the footwork is up to the skaters.
"The original dance offers the greatest freedom of expression," he said noting that he and Schmittinger are currently polishing a sultry ice dancing routine performed to Latin rhythms for national competitions in 2006. Originally from Manhattan, Carinci has excelled at championship level competition while maintaining a career in jewelry design and sales. He also holds a degree in marketing and advertising from New York University and worked for Tiffany & Co. in North Carolina before relocating to Delaware with his life partner Kurt Hochstuhl.
A couple for 10 years, the two are familiar faces in downtown Rehoboth. As his fulltime job, Carinci manages Illusions by Christine in Penny Lane while Hochstuhl manages the Frogg Pond on First Street.
For Hochstuhl, watching Richard gracefully dance on the ice is a glimpse of his soul and a testament to his respect of athleticism, passion and dedication. "We met through his career in ice dancing and it has enriched our lives," At age 44, Carinci is among the oldest and also most accomplished skaters in the ice dancing circuit.
Richard said, "Much like any sport, when you are skating, the outside world is not your focus, although it is still very much reality. You are in your own space, doing the very best you can at something you love."
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 4 May 6, 2005