New Team Series: Romy Malcolm & Noah Lafornara
by Anne Calder | Photos by Daphne Backman
As our New Team Series continues, we meet Romy Malcolm & Noah Lafornara, who formed their partnership in 2020. Due to the COVID pandemic, the past several seasons have been challenging, so Team IDC decided to include new teams from the past two seasons in this year’s New Team Series.
Seventeen-year-old Romy Malcolm was born in Lethbridge, Alberta Canada and soon plans to study Public Relations at University. Eighteen-year-old Noah Lafornara is a Buffalo, New York native and high school senior who attends online classes through James Madison High School.
The team will make its International debut representing the USA at the JGP Solidarity Cup in Gdansk, Poland, September 28 – October 1.
Malcolm and Lafornara shared the genesis of their individual skating journeys.
“I have an older sister who used to skate, but now shows horses in Texas,” Malcolm began. “My brother is a freestyle skier, who loves the outdoors and adventure. My mother put me on the ice because she was tired of me running all over the rink when my sister was skating. I remember participating in an ice show at a young age. I got to wear the coolest costume and loved performing.”
‘I kept on skating and went into competing freestyle and synchro and also tested my dances. Some coaches suggested that I had the qualities that would make me a good dancer. I tried it and ended up loving it. I competed in a lot of sports, but skating was always my favorite.”
Lafornara began as a freestyler, but started testing pattern dances to become an overall better skater. He fell in love with dance, so tried it with a partner. Since then, he’s competed in both dance and freestyle.
“My mom is a skating coach and put me on the ice at a very young age,” Lafornara said. “I completely fell in love with the sport. I [still] enjoy every moment of competing and doing what I love to do. I remember early on skating around the Oval at Lake Placid with my family trying to go as fast as I could.”
When Malcolm was 14, she and her mother moved to Colorado to train with Davis Ortonward and Coach Tiffany Dombeck at the Monument Ice Rink. The team competed as Intermediates at Chesapeake, Lake Placid and finally at the 2019 U.S. Championships.
“It was my first Nationals, so I was very excited,” Malcolm said.
After switching to novice, the team’s final competition together was the Chesapeake Open in June 2019.
“After the partnership, I moved to Vancouver, British Columbia to train with Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe during my tryout process,” Malcolm explained.
Noah Lafornara was coached by Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov in Connecticut as a juvenile and intermediate competitor. As a novice, he and his partner finished tenth at the November 2019 inaugural Ice Dance Final in Hyannis, Massachusetts.
The following February 2020 at a senior ice dance competition in Oberstdorf, Germany, Coaches Aaron Lowe and Denis Petukhov discussed their two ice dance students who at the time were without partners.
“Our coaches met at the Bavarian Open and thought it would be good for us to try out,” Lafornara said.
“Aaron texted me before skating that day and told me that he and Noah’s coach both thought we should try skating together,” Malcolm noted. “So we had a tryout, and we clicked!”
Before the twosome could begin training, everything shut down due to Covid-19. Once the border closed in March, it was impossible for her to drive back to Connecticut.
“Noah and I then trained separately from March-September,” explained Malcolm. “I took my dog on runs as much as I could, did at-home workouts and attended on-line dance classes to stay in as good shape as possible.”
In September, Malcolm finally was able to fly to Connecticut. She arrived with one suitcase and her skates. They started training together off-ice while wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.
Due to the pandemic, U.S. Figure Skating had announced alternatives to its traditional qualifying season for 2020-2021. The entire series was eventually moved to a virtual format. The new team did not participate because of insufficient training time.
Malcolm & Lafornara made its junior debut in August 2021 at the Chesapeake Open. Two months later at the Championship Series in Blaine, Minnesota, the team qualified for the 2022 U.S. Nationals. They also competed at the Alpharetta, Georgia qualifier where Lafornara took silver in the novice men’s singles after winning the free skate.
In January 2022, they finished ninth at the U.S. National Championships in Nashville, Tennessee.
They continue to train in Newington, Connecticut.
“We start our mornings with three or four hours on the ice or a workout before sessions,” Malcolm explained. “After that we work with a ballet teacher on either our programs or on basic ballet training. We work with ballroom specialist, Enio Cordoba, who works on our Rhythm Dance with us. Enio does our choreography along with our coaches Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov.”
The team discussed its rhythm and free dances.
“For our rhythm dance this year, in order to stand out more, we chose a more modern Tango: Asi Se Baila El Tango, by Bailongo feat. Vero Verdier. The Flamenco is: Cantare by Pitbull feat. Lenier,” Malcolm said. “We have been working hard with ballroom instructors on our Rhythm Dance to get a good feel for both styles.”
“I like the Argentine Tango because of the sharpness and attitude. I also have a lot of choreography including my skirt which was very fun to learn. My least favourite part of this dance would be the clapping section, because when you are in a cold rink, your hands start to hurt after you practice a lot.”
Lafornara continued, “Our Tango and Flamenco rhythm dance this year is a style of skating I’ve never done before. It’s been extremely fun learning to recreate these styles and mesh them together with the help of very skilled ballroom dancers. I’m a big fan of choreography in general, so learning new programs and patterns has always been something I enjoy.”
“We wanted to try something new for our free dance this year, so we picked the musical theatre genre to challenge us,” Malcolm said. “It’s a piece from the musical, Chess, ‘You and I/Story of Chess/Epilogue’. We spent a lot of time picking music that would push us to get into character and has the potential to get the audience to feel something.”
“I enjoy skating our free dance,” Lafornara added. “It’s very different from our short program, so the challenge of learning to adapt to both styles has been very enjoyable.”
Malcolm & Lafornara have many interest outside the world of ice dance…
“I love being with my horse whether it is at a show or at home. He loves getting treats and especially likes to steal the spotlight in any picture he is in,” Malcolm said. “I also like designing dresses. It’s interesting to see all the combinations you can make with just the shape and outline of the dress.”
“Outside of skating, I enjoy swimming, hanging out with friends and spending time with my dogs,” Lafornara said. “I also enjoy spending time relaxing at home and watching shows and movies on Netflix.”
Malcolm & Lafornara shared their short and long term goals.
“My goal is to continue to get stronger and develop our connection throughout the season,” Malcolm said. “A long term goal would be to eventually grow into a strong senior team.”
“Our goal for this season was to present ourselves the best we could at competitions with hopes of an international assignment, so it is very exciting that this goal has become a reality,” Lafornara said. “The Olympics have always been a dream of mine since I was very young, so my long term goal is to make that dream a reality as well.”
The team is very thankful for all the opportunities and support they have been given.
Team Malcolm & Lafornara are excited to compete in their first Junior Grand Prix and International event.
“I’m looking forward the most to meeting new people and taking in the new atmosphere,” Malcolm said. “Also I’m excited to be just getting out on the ice and being able to perform our programs on such a big stage”
“I am excited to compete on such a big stage, as well as experience the opportunity to travel around the world doing what I love to do,” Lafornara added. “I am looking forward to the experience of competing against and meeting teams from different countries.”
All Junior Grand Prix events are streamed on the ISU Youtube Channel.