by Anne Calder | Photographs by Daphne Backman and Robin Ritoss
“My first identify is Shin Lei. The skating neighborhood is aware of me by Lei Lei.” – Shin Lei Case
Shin Lei Case is a solo ice dancer who lives and trains in Dallas, Texas. She lately shared her story with IDC. In addition to skating, she loves mountain climbing, spending time with pals, volunteering and hanging out together with her canine Hershey.
An solely little one, she was born in Foshan, China in 2002 and adopted by her mother and father the next yr. She is extraordinarily grateful for all they’ve given her and all the things they do like her father’s willingness to be taught to skate to be her protector.
“I used to be little or no after I began skating, so my dad really began as effectively to stop me from getting run over throughout public periods,” Shin Lei revealed. “He nonetheless skates each week and competes in native ISI competitions.”
Her skating journey started shortly after seeing Sasha Cohen’s 2006 Olympic efficiency on tv. The four-year-old was captivated by Cohen’s flexibility, artistry, and skill to drift throughout the ice.
An invite to a celebration at a neighborhood mall with an ice rink had her all excited a couple of attainable skating social gathering. Sadly it was upstairs overlooking the rink. Afterwards she begged her mom to let her go on the ice.
“My mother caved and signed me up for a free introductory course,” Shin Lei recalled. “We discovered the smallest pair of skates they’d, and I took off operating. Since that day, I’ve by no means seemed again.”
The younger Texan started with singles. By 2013, she had partnered with Maxim Zharkov and two years later they competed on the 2015 U.S. Nationwide Championships in Greensboro, NC.
“It’s my favourite skating reminiscence,” Shin Lei mentioned. “It was our first aggressive season collectively, so we had been thrilled to have certified. The expertise of competing on the similar venue because the athletes I’ve seemed as much as since I used to be little was wonderful.”
“I went operating over to the principle space the place Madison Chock and Evan Bates had been working towards and was utterly star-struck. From seeing all of the media groups to using within the athlete shuttles, it’s undoubtedly one thing I’ll at all times keep in mind.”
The next yr the workforce gained the Juvenile Dance pewter medal on the 2016 U.S. Nationals in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Though Shin Lei shortly realized she loved the dance facets of skating greater than singles, she continued competing in them up by means of Novice. In 2017, she switched solely to bounce.
After a second partnership ended, she nonetheless wished to do dance. That’s when her Coach, Logan Giulietti-Schmitt, recommended solo dance. She knew little concerning the self-discipline, so was a bit reluctant, however determined to offer it a attempt.
“After my first season in solo dance, I used to be hooked,” Shin Lei mentioned. “I actually loved the camaraderie and over all environment. It’s a really tight-knit neighborhood, and everyone seems to be so supportive of each other.
“I like the technical side of solo dance – with the ability to give attention to my edges and refine them is one thing I’m actually drawn to. After I competed in partnered dance, my focus was much less on edge high quality and extra on determining find out how to skate alongside one other particular person with out falling. I don’t have to fret about partnering or getting my blades snarled with another person’s. I like the sensation of being free and skating on the ice on my own.”
Shin Lei attended Texas public faculties all by means of her coaching and in 2020 graduated from James W. Martin Excessive Faculty in Arlington.
When it got here time for faculty, the College of Texas, Arlington was an ideal match. The campus was solely 16 minutes from the rink the place her coaches Logan Giulietti-Schmitt and Brooklee Han taught. She studied biology with an emphasis in pre-medicine. As well as, she took on a number of management roles in a number of campus organizations. Shin Lei graduated in 2023.
“Throughout my final semester, I took 18 credit score hours – which was essentially the most I had ever taken,” Shin Lei defined. “It was tough balancing faculty with skating and my extracurriculars. I keep in mind not getting dwelling till 9 p.m some days and being utterly exhausted each mentally and bodily. Nevertheless, wanting again, faculty taught me find out how to handle my time, keep organized and never stress concerning the little issues in life.”
These previous two seasons have include some main adjustments in her coaching routine. Coach Han had moved to New Hampshire in Might 2021, however was returning periodically to work together with her and another skaters. Originally of the 2022 season, Giulietti-Schmitt left Dallas to educate on the Broadmoor World Area in Colorado Springs, CO.
“Fortunately, when Logan left, my packages had been already choreographed,” the dancer identified. “Brooklee additionally graciously agreed to return again to Texas to assist me qualify for the 2022 Nationwide Solo Dance Remaining.”
On the occasion, Shin Lei gained the Worldwide Solo Sample Dance bronze medal.
“Since final September, I’ve been coaching by myself. It’s been an enormous adjustment studying to push myself in observe relatively than have my coaches be that driving pressure,” Shin Lei famous. “I used to be going to campus day by day for sophistication and ending my final yr of school, so shifting to Colorado or New Hampshire wasn’t an possibility.”
Throughout this Solo Dance season, Shin Lei and Coach Han did FaceTime classes. They exchanged LiveBarn movies of weekly practices for suggestions. Periodically Han went to Dallas to work together with her and different skaters.
The scholar-athlete additionally took a number of journeys to Colorado Springs and New Hampshire throughout faculty breaks. She lately began working with Daniil Barantsev regionally in Dallas to assist together with her sample dances and skating expertise, which she credit for being an enormous assist.
Shin Lei lists blues and cha cha as her favourite rhythm dance music kinds. Since she prefers contrasting the 2 packages, she often gravitates towards delicate, lyrical music for the free dance.
“This season the rhythm dance type is Latin,” Shin Lei defined. “I’m skating to “My Love”, “Dreaming of You” and “No Quiero Saber”. I actually just like the quick, upbeat, cha cha parts of the Selena-inspired program and discover that it enhances the rumba portion. For my free dance, I’m skating to “Pay attention” by Beyoncé.”
“The rhythm dance was choreographed by Coach Giulietti-Schmitt. In February I labored with Randi Robust on the Solo Dance Camp to offer this system a “Latin” really feel. Coach Han had already choreographed the free dance final September after the 2022 Nationwide Solo Dance Remaining.”
Again in 2020 when the usSolo Dance Sequence and Remaining had been cancelled as a result of Covid pandemic, Shin Lei was in search of one thing to work on. She determined to check by means of her Worldwide sample dances. On the time, a neighborhood dance decide recommended that she begin trial judging.
“I noticed this as an exquisite alternative to offer again to the game that has taught me so many life classes, and to my dwelling Dallas FSC that has supported me by means of my complete skating journey, so I began the method of turning into a check decide.
“I used to be fortunate to have the ability to get my Gold Dance and Singles check appointments regionally and never should journey wherever. I’m at the moment engaged on my dance competitors appointment and hope to signify the U.S. at worldwide competitions sometime.”
For the reason that ISU lately voted to incorporate Solo Dance as a self-discipline for worldwide competitors, Shin Lei has a very good probability of efficiently reaching this aim.
“I’m excited for the alternatives worldwide competitors will convey to the neighborhood. The self-discipline has been rising exponentially right here within the U.S. and now hopefully worldwide,” she famous. “Solo Dance gives one other avenue of aggressive skating, and I’m desperate to see the place it will likely be 5-10 years from now,”
Shin Lei’s skilled aim is to attend medical faculty and develop into a doctor. After her Might commencement, she is taking a few hole years to check for the MACT and discover different pursuits outdoors of college.
Whereas the ice dancer has been lucky to not have had any main skating accidents up so far, some freak accidents have piqued her curiosity and uncovered her to the medical discipline.
“After I was little, I flipped the wrong way up and landed on the ice face first, so I obtained to see the within of an ambulance,” she disclosed. “Then after I was 12, my dance companion ran over my finger, and I ended up within the emergency room. The physician was tremendous good and calming, which made the truth that he was about to suture my finger with only a needle and thread, lots higher.
“In my senior yr of highschool, I began volunteering at a medical clinic, which gives free healthcare to underinsured and uninsured sufferers. I’ve been capable of shadow quite a lot of totally different specialties and acquire publicity to the scientific facet of medication.
“Throughout faculty I turned concerned with the Minority Affiliation of Pre-Medical College students (MAPS). My favourite expertise with the membership was visiting a cadaver lab. With the ability to view the complexities of the human physique and maintain somebody’s coronary heart within the palm of my hand was fascinating.
“My present pursuits are in sports activities medication, bodily medication and rehabilitation (PM&R) and anesthesiology.”
Shin Lei stood on the rostrum at a number of USFS Solo Dance Sequence occasions this season, which certified her for the 2023 Nationwide Solo Dance Remaining, September 14-17 in Glenview, Illinois. She’s going to compete in Senior Solo Mixed and Worldwide Solo Sample Dance.