Thursday, March 13, 2014

Adult Nationals Weekly Series #3: Meet Dawn

About Dawn

Dawn Feest is a Yarmouth Ice Club member from Harwich, Massachusetts who began skating when she was just 8 years old and never looked back.  She skated competitively for many years and joined the Ice Capades after college.  Touring and performing in ice shows were fun and a lot less pressure but a part of Dawn missed competing.  She skated with the Ice Capades and other producers until 2002 and then took some time away from the sport.  On Dawn’s 40th birthday, she ran into her childhood coach and she was introduced to adult figure skating.  Her return to competition began at Sectionals in 2012 and now at age 44, Dawn will be competing in her first Adult National Championships this April.

One of Dawn’s regrets as a figure skater was that she stopped competing.  After touring with the Ice Capades, she viewed figure skating as a personal challenge.  She got back to training and everything including the jumps came back fairly quickly. 

Dawn’s Injury

Dawn was skating a lot: jumping all the time, performing doubles, and she found she was landing very hard.  Over time she developed sciatica and started seeing a chiropractor but this was not fixing the problem and actually making it worse.

From the sidelines, Briana Lackenby, Cape Cod Rehab physical therapist & Yarmouth Ice Club coach, would watch Dawn on the ice and noticed her stiff landings.  Dawn was introduced to Briana who not only treated her injury but also switched up her whole style of skating adding longevity to her career.

Physical Therapy & The Burdenko Method

For Dawn, it was all about meeting the right people at the right time.  She began physical therapy at Cape Cod Rehab’s Hyannis location and with a combination of The Burdenko Method's land and water therapy and finding what works best for Dawn, she was able to get back on the ice pain free.  During rehab, which also meant about 6 weeks off the ice, Dawn was frustrated she could not just and train the way she wanted to.  Briana and Dawn found that the Burdenko Method combined with overhauling her jumping style was the only way to treat Dawn’s sciatica.  The pool worked wonders although Dawn fought it all the way!

Once Dawn was back on the ice, the focus shifted to quality over quantity.  She switched coaches and started working with Briana for both technical and choreography.  They worked on a lot of stretching and preventative exercises as well as the quality of Dawn’s skating technique.  She changed her whole approach to skating with softer landings on jumps, new choreography by Briana, and less hours on the ice (only about 2 hours per week) and hasn’t run into any problems or setbacks since.

While off the ice, Dawn works a very busy full time job, enjoys spending time with her sister and niece (which included her and her sister running a half marathon in Thailand!) and coaches Learn to Skate for adults.  She credits Briana for extending the longevity of her skating career and is looking forward to getting on the ice to compete at Adult Nationals.

Adult Nationals

To qualify for Adult Nationals, Dawn competed last weekend at 2014 Eastern Adult Sectional Qualifying Event in New Jersey where she took home two bronze medals and an 8th place finish in the free skate.  She will be performing 3 programs at Nationals: 2 showcase which focuses on audience appeal, costume, and dramatic theatrical performance and 1 technical free skate.  Her music ranges from Baliwood’s “Oh la la” to an emotional performance to Christina Perri's Human and music from Fame.

Adult figure skating is very unique.  Adults are skating for themselves.  Whether they had regrets and unfinished business or just love the sport.  Dawn has a passion and enjoys setting goals and seeing improvement both in practice and from competition to competition.  “It’s you vs. you out there and no one can take that away.”

Dawn plans to keep skating for a long time joking, “The day I retire is the day I can’t get up from that slide!”

Stay tuned for next week’s post featuring Rebecca Hamlin & her coach Renee Roos...

Blog post by Jen Skiba.

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