The art of ice dancing 1

Chandler native Karina Manta 
Is skating towards her dream

For some, it can take several years, even a lifetime, before they find their true passion. But for Karina Manta, that was not the case. Since the age of five, Manta has pursued her love of skating. She explains that it all started when she attended a friend’s birthday party at a skating rink and enjoyed the experience so much that she begged her parents to sign her up for skating lessons. She spent the next several years in Chandler, building her talent and immersing herself in the city’s wonderful skating community.

Manta was a singles skater until the age of 15, when she switched into ice dance. Wanting to transition into partner skating, she auditioned for months until she found a partner in Colorado.  She then had to make the decision to leave Chandler, her home for 12 years of her life, and embark on a new adventure. Manta now resides in Colorado where she can practice with her partner and the rest of her team, as well as pursue more skating opportunities. However, she often goes back home to Chandler to visit her family and friends.

Success in Colorado

During her first few months of skating in Colorado, Manta crossed paths with her current partner, Joseph Johnson. Coincidentally, when it was time for Manta to find a new partner, Johnson was doing the same. Manta auditioned with him and they have now been skating together for two years. They are also assisted by a coach and two choreographers (one for short dances and one for free dances). Working together, the team prepares for various competitions, taking two to three months to finish a program’s choreography. In a year, they can compete anywhere between five and eight competitions. The partners made it to the national competition in St. Paul, Minnesota and, as of last year, have become a part of Team USA. Through Team USA, Manta and Johnson represent the United States in international competitions. Their first competition as Team USA members took place last year in Canada.

This sport has been a part of Manta’s life for the past 15 years. There are countless reasons why Manta loves skating, but one is that it allows her to partake in something that is both a sport and an art. She also appreciates the detail-oriented nature of skating. The activity requires intense focus and dedication to perfecting her routines. This is important to Manta as she enjoys the opportunity to always be able to improve.

Off the Rink

Before Manta directed her skating talents toward ice dancing, she enjoyed spending time dancing off the ice. She practiced ballet for years, allowing her to have a base of dance skills to bring to the ice. She currently works part-time at a daycare and is a student at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. When she’s not skating, working, or in school, Manta enjoys the little free time she has doing yoga and relaxing. She also makes sure to find time to go back to Chandler, home to her family and the place where she first discovered her passion.