Keren Ribansky, 17, of West Windsor won a gold medal at the U.S. Figure Skating’s solo dance competition in Colorado Springs last month. Ribansky, who studied gymnastics when she was young, took a learn to skate class at Iceland in Hamilton and took to the ice immediately. By age 10 she was doing free style skating. At Grover Middle School Keren was on the cross country team. Since that sport met after school, her skating practice was scheduled at 6 a.m. She is now a senior at High School South with no time for cross country.
Ribansky competed in Princeton; Laurel, Maryland; Lake Placid, New York; and Colorado Springs, Colorado, for the solo dance competitive season that began in March and ended at the end of September. Keren won five gold medals and two silver medals this season. “After winning Nationals, I plan to continue to compete in the international levels and am currently in search of a dance partner,” she says. “There are no competitions for me to participate in during the fall but with the upcoming winter and spring, the new competitive season will begin.”
Skating has been a part of her life for the past eight years. She began as a single ladies freestyler skater and did dance alongside it. “It was not until the summer of 2010 that I decided to follow my passion for dance,” says Keren. “I find it quite funny that I switched to dance because my very first coach, Lynn Massone, told me from day one that I would be an amazing dancer.”
Keren and her family moved from Israel 10 years ago. Her father, Arkadie, an engineer, works with a medical equipment company that moved from Israel to the United States. The company has since relocated to Alabama, but he works from home when he isn’t traveling.
Her mother, Luiza, did some skating as a young child in Israel. “It was a small town and it was difficult to find places to skate,” she says. Meanwhile she has been driving her daughter here and there for many years with lessons, competitions, and practice. “I am the supporting mom,” she says.
Keren’s brother, Simon, 23, graduated from High School South in 2006 and received a degree in architecture from Syracuse University. He is now studying civil engineering.
She practices with different coaches but most of her time is spent at Pro Skate in Monmouth Junction. “I am very grateful to have my current head coach, Gary Irving, who has been with me every step of this journey and who has inspired me in more ways than I could have imagined,” she says. “I am also thankful to be instructed by Natalia Linichuk and Gennadiy Korponosov. All three coaches and their success and wisdom have inspired me to work harder to achieve great feats in skating.”
She has been a volunteer at Pro Skate’s learn to skate program for two years. As a member of Princeton Skating Club, Keren skates at Iceland, Pro Skate, and Princeton Day School. “I am also proud to present the Princeton Skating Club in all my competitions,” she says. “It is also very encouraging to have the other coaches and staff members at my rink support me, especially coach Roland Burghart, whose humor always keeps the atmosphere in the rink upbeat.”
“I am enrolled in honor and Advanced Placement courses, which was and is very difficult to balance with the amount of time spent training,” says Keren, who plans to skate in college. “Luckily, I have a strong support group of friends both in school and on the ice.”