2023 U.S. Solo Dance Finals by Charlotte Manfield

Hi there! My name is Charlotte Manfield, and I am competing in the Senior Solo Combined event and the International Solo Pattern Dance event in the 2023 National Solo Dance Final in Chicago, Illinois! I started skating when I was four years old and am now a junior in high school. These past three years, I have competed in solo dance, and in the 2021 National Solo Dance Final, I placed second in the Gold Solo Pattern Dance event. My amazing coaching team over at the University of Delaware FSC consists of Suzy Semanick-Schurman, Colin McManus, Anastasia Cannuscio, and Anne Militano. I am so grateful to be competing in my third solo dance nationals this week, and I’m excited to take you all along with me for it!

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

This morning, I had to wake up, go to school, and take a quiz in first period. Fortunately, I think I did pretty well on it considering I made sure to prepare for this quiz, and afterwards I attended three more classes and ate lunch with my school friends. They all said goodbye to me for the week and wished me luck with solo dance nationals, which was much appreciated. I then got picked up by my dad who was working from home, and we went to Saladworks, where I ordered a custom favorite of mine. I ate that in the car since we were limited on time and I was only going to be able to do two sessions at my home rink, the University of Delaware Ice Arenas. 

I got to the rink and quickly put on my skates to have my last lesson of the season with my coach, Colin McManus, and we did a free dance runthrough and a Yankee polka runthrough. Both runthroughs felt solid to me, and after his lesson, I did my last two runthroughs, which were my rhythm dance runthrough and my rhumba runthrough. I ended my session with tiny sections of elements I wanted to work on and immediately jumped into the car afterwards as we had to get home to pick up my mom and drive to the airport.

Thankfully, all my packing was done, so leaving the house wasn’t chaotic, giving me time to say bye to my grandmother and to my cats. From there, we drove to the Baltimore/Washington International Airport and waited for our flight. We got some sushi for dinner, which was delicious, but then found out our flight was delayed. It was already past 8 p.m. at this point, and the flight is about 2 hours and 30 minutes, so we were hoping we could board soon. When we were finally able to board our plane, there was barely anyone on it, so everyone got to spread out, which made everything easier. However, the pilots had some routing difficulties as there was a huge storm in our way, and it took about another 30 minutes until the plane took off. We got to the Chicago Midway International Airport at around 11:30 p.m. CST, and as we were leaving the airport, I found one of my coach’s favorite popcorn places but sadly they were closed. It took around an hour to get to our hotel, and when we arrived, I got ready for bed and planned out my day tomorrow as I will only be skating on practice ices and have no events yet. Overall, it was a very tiring travel day, but I am so excited to skate on my practices tomorrow and see my friends again!

~ Charlotte

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

2023SoloFinalsBlog CharlotteManfield Blog 2 6

Today I woke up at 7:30 a.m. and got ready for my unofficial practice ice. We left the hotel at 9, and I got to the rink ten minutes later, as our hotel is super close in proximity to the rink. At the rink, I was greeted by my friends from my home rink and my other skating friends that I don’t see as often. I was so excited to see everyone, as being able to socialize with friends is one of my favorite aspects of competitions, and I was happy to reconnect with friends who live far from me that I haven’t seen in ages. From there, I checked in with my coaches and put on my skates for my practice ice at 10:00 a.m. in Rink B. For this practice, I worked on parts of my combined programs and did a pattern or two of each of my international patterns. I got off the ice at 10:30, since each practice is 30 minutes, and checked into my events. Here I got the nationals jacket I ordered, my credentials, and a cute little solo dance nationals bag.

We had some time between my practices, so we stopped at this bakery called Tous Les Jours, which was absolutely beautiful, and grabbed some pastries and coffee as breakfast/lunch. Afterwards, we drove back to our hotel, where I hung out with some of my friends who were staying in the same hotel as me, and we had fun chatting and playing games. Everyone had to start leaving for practices, so I went back up to my hotel room and did my competition makeup for my official practice ice. My coaches wanted me in my hair, makeup, and dress for my rhumba to do my official practice ice in, so when I got back to the rink, my friend’s mom helped do my hair, and I changed into my rhumba dress. I put my skates on and went to my second unofficial practice ice at 2:30, which rolled right into my official practice ice at 3, on Rink A, the rink everyone will compete in. 

In the first practice, I set my elements for my combined programs to make sure my patterns felt good. Then on my official practice ice, I did a runthrough of my rhumba, worked on it afterwards, and worked on my polka. Everything felt pretty solid, and I got off the ice for 30 minutes before going back on to Rink B for two unofficial practice ices from 4-5. My friend and I went to Walgreens, where we picked up a bunch of squishmallows as good luck charms, and then we went to a Lululemon outlet 20 minutes away to shop a bit, which was super fun, and eventually we made it back to our hotel. For dinner, we ubered Panera to the hotel, where I got a Fuji apple salad with chicken, and then I showered and got ready for bed. Then I went through my schedule for tomorrow with my parents to sort out driving, events, and everything else. I am so happy to be here at nationals, and I’m incredibly excited to compete my international solo patterns tomorrow!

~ Charlotte

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