Learning to chill out

Figure skater Oriana Camara doesn’t let nerves get in the way on the ice

  • Oriana Camara is a ConVal high school student who also performs in the world of figure skating.
  • Oriana Camara is a ConVal high school student who also performs in the world of figure skating.

Strength. Flexibility. Balance.

Three skills necessary to become a successful figure skater, according to Peterborough’s resident ice performer Oriana Camara.

“Take other components from different sports, combine them into one, and you have skating,” said Camara in an interview on Tuesday.

It wasn’t until recently, however, that she was able to show off her sporting skills to her friends. Camara, 16, learned to skate when she was five. “When I was little, my mom started me off with a bunch of sports to see what I liked,” Camara said. “Skating ended up being the last of the bunch.”

Camara took group lessons until she was 10, when she began private lessons. The private lessons and hard work paid off in the form of her first solo during a show at age 13. “That was pretty nerve-wracking, but I was proud of myself,” Camara said.

Nerves are something Camara has struggled with since she began to perform. “I get really nervous [before performing],” Camara said. “Usually the nerves don’t go away until the end of the performance.” Camara does her best to cope with the nerves by attempting to distract herself. “I try to think about other things,” Camara said. “It probably doesn’t help, but I think about the people who are watching.”

Camara’s biggest fan and supporter is her mother, Deborah, who comes to all her performances. For years, Deborah was the only one allowed to attend Camara’s performances, “Last year was the first year I actually let friends come,” Camara said. “I always kept [skating] private.”

Now a junior at ConVal High School, Camara skates with the Cheshire Figure Skating Club out of Swanzey. Figure skating is categorized by different skill levels. Camara is considered “Pre-Juvenile.” In order to level up, she must accomplish one of her immediate goals, to work on and land an axel. An axel is a jump in which the skater takes off and spins one and a half times in the air.

Camara usually skates from fall to spring, taking a break in the summer. “This year, because I can drive myself, I can skate through the summer,” Camara said. “That’s exciting!”

Camara doesn’t skate in competitive events, choosing instead to perform in shows like “It’s a Small World on Ice” and her upcoming “Tropical Getaway” show, scheduled for March 15.

“I’m a competitive person, but I’d rather work at [skating] for myself and be proud of myself, than to work at it to be better than others,” Camara said.

Eleven years into her skating career, Camara has met a lot of new people and enjoys using her peers as a measuring stick. “A lot of them I’ve grown up with, so it’s interesting to see where they are verses where I am, and to see what they are working on.”

In her free time, Camara enjoys hanging out with friends, going shopping and traveling, citing Paris as her favorite destination thus far.

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