New Team Series: Hana Maria Aboian & Daniil Veselukhin


On-ice photo by Melanie Heaney

Welcome to IDC’s New Team Series! For this series, we interview athletes who will enter the upcoming 2024-25 season in a new partnership, or debuted last season. In our second interview, we check in with Hana Maria Aboian (14) & Daniil Veselukhin (17).

Tell us about your individual skating journeys, including any early special memories. 
Hana Maria Aboian (HA): At the age of three years old, I watched the movie Frozen. Frozen was very popular and I enjoyed watching it because of the scene Anna and Elsa skated together on a pond. I wanted to learn how to skate like that so when I saw a figure skates in the local newsletter advertising lessons, I brought it to my mother and showed it to her pointing eagerly in hopes that she would take me to lessons.

She was not convinced so I repeated my request multiple cycles and eventually by the time I was 3, I had my first steps in the ice. It was not smooth sailing because I completely fell off my feet and my mother held my hand the entire session, but I had a blast. I got my first skates, a really nice Zuka bag, and the iconic Mondor clothing and started Learn to Skate at Nazareth Ice Oasis in Redwood City, CA. I soon started as a freestyle skater with coaches Zina Kovalenko, Cherylynn Sebastian, Susan Blaisdel, and Charlie Tickner. I started competing in ISI at 5 years old. I had many successes in the categories of Pre-preliminary and preliminary. Yet, due to my mother’s job, we had to move to New Haven, Connecticut. There, I started training with Svetlana Kulikova. She moved me to the Juvenile category of ladies singles. I competed there for one year, meanwhile competing in Juvenile Ice Dance with my former partner and her son Steven Moore. At first ice dance came to the conversation, because it would help develop my skating skills, and level me up as a freestyle skater. Over time, combining singles and ice dance became difficult. I remember one of our competitions in Blaine, MN. I had to do a warm-up in my dance outfit and then ran over to the other rink to do my freedance competition and then right after that I had to do my freestyle.

For the next season, I decided to focus on Ice Dance because I loved the dancing and focus on expression that is prevalent in Ice Dance. Also, the National Development Team camp was an incredible experience me. I got to work with amazing ice dancers and coaches such as Tanith and Charlie White and Judy Bloomberg. After that, I was incredibly motivated and driven to continue working even harder than before. I competed with Steven for 3 years in levels juvenile, intermediate, and novice. I really enjoyed Ice dance because I could truly show my passion for dance, which I had developed during my younger years through rigorous training in the Vaganova technique in ballet and during my years in competitive rhythmic gymnastics.

My novice season was cut short and was then followed by an extensive search for a partner. Due to the ice dance partner search website, I was able to identify a partner who is a perfect match for me and my coaches. I also transitioned to homeschool to focus on training 6-7 hours per day. Now after skating for 6 months together, we prepare for our first season together as a junior couple.

Daniil Veselukhin (DV): I started skating at the age of 4. Initially, it was simply for health, without any particular goals or aspirations. At the age of 7, I was invited to try ice dancing, and that’s when my true journey into the world of figure skating began. It was then that I realized I wanted to become a professional and achieve success in this sport. Over the years, I had to move several times to continue developing and improving my skills. Figure skating has become something I deeply love and value, and I am dedicated to putting forth my best efforts to succeed.

What drew you to ice dance?
HA: Ice dance allows me to express myself and to tell stories to the audiences through music. It is a very precise sport with careful attention to detail and technique. It requires grace, musicality, and excellent technique. I feel challenged and inspired when I dance on the ice and I never get tired of learning.

DV: I really like the feeling and emotions experienced during performances. I love to watch famous ice dance couples perform on national and international events in the world. I want to be work to reach their level of excellence and to keep growing in my skating and performance skills in figure skating. I started figure skating because of my parents. I was sick a lot as a child and the doctors recommended to my parents to introduce me to figure skating lessons. As I started skating, my health has improved and I fell in love with the sport.

Tell us how your partnership started. Describe the tryout.
The partnership started when Daniil’s parents found Hana through Ice Partner Search website. After the parents had a discussion, we did a tryout at our local rink with our coaches, U.S. Olympians, Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov. The coaches recommended that we were a very good fit, because they liked that we were both very hard working and teachable. After a few more weeks of training and skating together, we did a filming with OnIcePerspectives and officiated our partnership.

What is it that you already like most about dancing with your new partner?
We really like that we have a good working relationship on the ice and understand each other. We are both very dedicated and work with focused intensity. Both of us want to achieve a lot in sports.

What experiences do each of you bring to the partnership? 
HA: I have very extensive training in ballet and rhythmic gymnastics with significant experience in a variety of performance arts. This taught me how to express music and theme behind different stories.

DV: I bring significant experience into our partnership because I have been doing exclusively ice dance since an early age and competed in multiple international competitions in this discipline.

What has been the biggest adjustment for each of you so far in the partnership?One of the biggest adjustments we made was the adjusting our mindset to a new technique taught by our coaches and the high level of skating that is expected of us now. We also had too adjust to the new level of intensity and speed of skating.

Tell us about your training site. 
We train at Newington ice Arena for six to seven hours daily. We have personalized gym training, ballroom instruction, and ballet every day. We also have unlimited ice time with daily personalized training from our coaches Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov.

Who are your coaches?  Did either or both have to relocate? If so, tell us about the move(s).
Our coaches are Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov who are former Team USA Olympians. Daniil relocated to Connecticut to train at our training center. To train with Daniil full-time, I had to start online school in December.

Who is choreographing your programs. Is someone else arranging your music? If so, please share those experiences.
Our Choreographers are Melissa Gregory and Denis. Our music is arranged by Alex at

If you could have a lesson with any ice dancer past/present, who would it be? Why?
If we could take a lesson with any guest coaches, it would be from Grishuk and Platov. They brought a certain level of excitement to the world using artistry and magic, all combined with speed.

What is each of you looking forward to most this skating season? What will be your biggest challenge(s)?
We are looking forward to showing our progress to the figure skating community. Our biggest challenge in the next six months will be to learn how to compete together and overcome obstacles that usually occur during competition season.

Please share anything you would like our readers to know about you as a team?
We are looking forward to this debut season and enjoying every moment with our coaches, families, and friends.

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