It has been nearly a year since Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, the most decorated ice dance team in U.S. history, retired from eligible skating. Style On Ice had the opportunity to speak with Ben Agosto while on a break from Stars On Ice rehersals.
SOI: How has it been for you this season?
BA: There’s a definite learning curve to transitioning out of competitive skating. Right after we decided that we were going to retire we were very busy doing shows. We went to Korea, we went to Japan and we had a great time. Then everything really went into transition mode. Tanith moved back to Ann Arbor, MI and I moved out to Seattle, so that has been a big change. Instead of being together and skating together each day we kind of commute back and forth to get programs done. There has been a lot of traveling and a lot of skating in different places for us. I t has been pretty exciting too because with the time we have away from each other, I think it makes skating together now that much more special. I’m so happy that we decided to retire when we did. It was really at the right moment for us in our careers. I feel very content with the direction that our skating is going in and also the direction that my life is going in. I’m starting school online, with an interest in sports medicine. I obviously have a long way to go with the education aspect. I do feel that I’m already a little bit ahead though because of all the therapy I’ve had over the years from various injuries. I look at that as my learning experience towards a future career. I’m also hoping to do a bit of voiceover work. I’m just really excited to go and explore new avenues and to find new ways to be creative.
SOI: Who influenced you as a young skater?
BA: Very early on I was impressed by Liz Punsalan and Jerod Swallow. When Tanith and I first starting skating together we skated at the same club where they trained. Right off the bat they were a good, solid example of how you should work with your partner.
SOI: What would you like audiences to take from your performances now?
BA: I hope people can see just how much we enjoy performing. The thing I love the most about skating is performing and interacting with Tanith and the audience. The stories that we try to tell make each time on the ice unique for us. The more the audience gets drawn in, then the better we perform and that circle keeps growing. Hopefully, live people can take more emotionally from our programs. I also hope they appreciate basic things like the actual speed and flow of skating.
SOI: How is the Stars On Ice tour this year?
BA: Well, it’s the 25th Anniversary Tour so it’s a very special year for the production crew and just everyone involved since its inception. The cast now, grew up going to see Stars On Ice as kids and we are so excited to actually be in the show. The whole show this year is really a big celebration of the past and present of Stars On Ice. It’s a very upbeat show and it also really celebrates the fans. They’ve been amazing for 25 years now, they just keep coming back and enjoying the show. It’s because of them that we feel so very lucky and blessed.