Meet Anastasia Shpilevaya – the Russian ice dancer aiming for a breakthrough season (PHOTOS)
This is the world junior star Anastasia Shpilevaya that is now aiming to break into, after teaming up with Grigory Smirnov as they bid to shine at elite level.
Being the sole figure skating event where jumps are not performed, ice-dancing requires delicate skills from skaters, who should float across the ice to receive high technical and component scores.
With no complicated jumps and throws at their disposal, dancers often choose extraordinary images and even provocative costumes to make their programs stand out for fans and judges.
Shpilevaya, 20, and Smirnov, 22, are among the skaters to have their signature manner of skating, captivating the crowd with electrifying performances which set their performance apart from the competition.
The pair started skating together in 2012 and immediately attracted the attention of pundits with their perfect technique and expressive emotions.
In 2016 they won the Winter Youth Olympics in Norway, establishing themselves as among the most talented junior ice dancers.
A year later the duet were expected to make their senior debut, however they were forced to skip the season due to health problems.
Having missed a year, the pair returned to the figure skating circuit aiming to make a breakthrough at their first fully-fledged senior season.
At the home Grand Prix stage Rostelecom Cup earlier this month the couple finished sixth, stressing that an enforced one-year hiatus affected their rankings.
“Of course we dropped in the rankings, but this season we have been constantly competing without being distracted by health issues,” Shpilevaya said after the Rostelecom Cup.
“We didn’t feel anxiety because we love to perform in front of the huge crowd,” she added.
Now that they have had a taste of life among the elite, the future seems bright for this young pair from Russia.