Jim Fink Cuts a Great Figure On the Ice
SCC Technician Adds Another Kind of Skating to His Life
The next time you’re walking through the Shoreline Community College (SCC)
Technical Support Services’ (TSS) department, you just might be passing by an
adult ice dancing champion.
Jim Fink, who has worked at SCC for nearly 20 years repairing printers, desktops,
and other technical services, is now a competitive ice dancer.
Ice dancing is a branch of figure skating that involves high speed rhythmic and
synchronized dancing to music between male and female partners. It’s like ballroom
dancing on ice with many similar dances (Waltz, Paso Doble, Rumba, and Argentine
Tango). It’s somewhat similar to Pairs figure skating, but does not allow jumps,
lifts or other strength moves.
Competitions consist of three parts: prescribed pattern dances, an original set pattern
dance, and a free dance. The free dance allows for the most freedom and expression.
The routines are then scored by a panel of judges who look for artistic expression,
technical accuracy, footwork, posture, and artistic costumes.
Fink took up ice dancing about two years ago and what has followed has turned
into an absolute passion.
Fink became involved in ice dancing through Linda Mickelberry who also works at
SCC. Mickelberry is a pre-silver dance competitor. (Skaters are ranked in terms
of skill from Preliminary through Gold through a series of set tests. A very beginning
skater would have a Preliminary level; any skater at Nationals or the Olympics would
have a Gold.)
“She is my mentor,” Fink said. “She is very supportive and got me interested in it and
I just took to it.”
Fink routinely competes in ice dancing competitions in the adult ice dancing division
(25 and over) with his partner, Kim Starr. Starr, who was a good skater, didn’t
know anything about ice dancing until she met Fink.
“I asked her if she wanted to dance,” Fink said. They’ve been dance partners ever
Ice dancing is a fast-paced extremely difficult and demanding sport, which is a major
reason why Fink enjoys it so much.
Skaters are constantly moving at high speeds trying to remain in sync with a partner
while executing a variety of quick moves, all while dancing artistically to music.
“When it works its like nothing else,” Fink said. “It’s like flying. There’s nothing like
Some of Fink’s favorite dances include the Dutch Waltz, Canasta Tango, and the
Cha-Cha. There are over 30 different dances that he knows and practices.
One of Finks favorite tricks is called the ‘choctaw’, a two-foot front-to-back or
“The ‘choctaw’ involves a lot of really cool footwork with lots of edge work,” Fink
said. “It’s difficult to execute because your changing directions instantly with your
partner, but when it’s together it is so cool and looks really neat.”
For Fink, one of the best things about getting involved in ice dancing has been the
people he has met and the relationships he has developed.
“Adult ice dancers are a unique breed,” Fink said. “The camaraderie with ice dancers
is unique.” We’re in connection with each other to the point where we are each others
“Ice dance people are so loving and caring because of the difficulty of the sport,
everyone knows what you’ve went through to get there,” Fink said. “If ice dancing
was easy, it would be called hockey.”
Ice dancing however, was not the first form of skating that Fink was involved in.
Many people who have worked a SCC over the years will remember seeing him
flying around campus when the students were on break between quarters on a pair
of inline speed skates.
Prior to taking up ice dancing, Fink had been a competitive inline speed skater for
six years. He’s competed in four 26.4 mile inline marathons, with a best time of 1 h
44 minutes. Activity is something that is definitely a major driving force in his life.
Many people around SCC knew of his inline skating, but few knew that he added in
“It’s kind of new to a lot of people Fink said.” “They were surprised when they found
out I was doing dance.”
It was no surprise to Fink himself though that he took up ice dancing.
“It was always a goal of mine to skate inline and ice,” Fink said. “Now I’ve hit it.
Ice is the mother sport. It’s improved my inline tremendously.”
As of now Fink practices twice a week with his dance partner and also takes private
lessons to improve his skating skills. He plans on working and practicing hard to
climb up the ranks in the ice dancing community. “I hope to test up to how far I can
go,” Fink said. “Bronze, silver, gold. I’m on that path.”
At age 51, Fink shows no signs of slowing down. “It’s just a blast,” Fink said.
“I know skaters in their 80’s. It’s definitely a life sport. I hope to skate until my legs
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