Young Ice Queens

Mia Erasmus and Nikita ... Photos: Provided

Mia Erasmus (left) and Nikita Calitz. Photos: Provided

High times and hard falls. This seems to sum up the life of a top ice skater. But if you ask WP ice skaters Mia Erasmus (15) and Nikita Calitz (16), both learners at Melkbosstrand Private School, if they would have it any other way they would say ‘no.’

The girls, both solo figure skaters, have been provisionally selected for the Junior Synchronize Figure Skating Team that will represent South Africa in the Junior World Championships in Canada next year. In order to be in top form Mia and Nikita adhere to a program that is very different from other teens’.

Mia and Nikita 'fly' over the ice.

Mia (right) and Nikita ‘fly’ over the ice.

Practice makes perfect
The ice skaters’ week starts 3.30 pm on a Tuesday at The Ice Station at Grand West. Tuesdays are dedicated to solo classes: choreography, jumps, off ice; while a novice synchro class fills the evening slot. Classes end at 8.30 pm. Thursday afternoons are dedicated to solo classes. Classes start at 3 pm and end at 6 pm. Friday’s classes start at 5 pm and end at 7 pm. The classes include core strengthening exercises, running around the rink and up and down stairs to build endurance. Both Mia and Nikita used to attend Saturday morning classes from 5-9 am but they’ve stopped this class. The girls attend the Sunday morning 5.30 am – 8 am class. In between all of this they practice at home.

Mia: grace and power. Photo: Breath of Heaven Portraiture

Mia: grace and power. Photo: Breath of Heaven Portraiture

All about control
Skating on ice is not something which comes naturally to the human body. In order to attain this kind of grace and power, control is of utmost importance. And you fall along the way. Lots of times. Hard. “If you are willing to fall so hard then you have to love the sport very much,” Deidre Erasmus, Mia’s mother, comments. The ice is hard and ice skaters learn this the hard way. They also know odd bits of info that no other South Africans know i.e. that the ice in Pretoria is harder than the ice in Cape Town because Pretoria is at a higher altitude. If you fall in a rink in Pretoria it feels like you’re connecting with tarmac. The Ice Station’s ice, which is looked after really well, will at least let you glide a bit …

Nikita glides like a swan.

Nikita glides like a swan.

When Mia and Nikita practice new jumps they anticipate that they might fall and so they wear bum pads. And when a funny bone on an elbow gets hurt, which happens a lot, that part of the body is protected by padding it. Another snippet of ice info: The ice rink’s ice is really thick. So, the old saying of ‘skating on thin ice’ does not apply in the world of the ice skaters.

A short career
When the girls dance and twirl and execute Death Spirals to the rhythm of music they look ethereal, princess-like. But all of this will have to stop some day. Says Deidre, “An ice skater’s career is short. They usually stop skating around the time they’re 23. There is no money in the sport in South Africa. They have to earn a living, too!”

Champs: Mia is on the right.

Champs: Mia is on the right.

Future plans? Mia is in two minds at the moment. Will she become a vet or a forensic pathologist? It is hard to say. Nikita knows that she wants to study medicine. But for now all of that is in the future. And the only reality is this one, bright, glittering, fantastic, on the ice rink.

You can make a contribution to the Junior Synchro Group. The Durbanville Golf Club will host a fundraising Golf Day on 7 October. Entry fee: R600 per person. Fee includes welcome pack, green fees, dinner and prizes. Email




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