Ellen Laincz, 72, is a shining example of how to cut through the ice and live life on the edge.
Throughout her life, Laincz has had a number of titles; She has been a teacher, artist, and seamstress of dancing costumes for belly, Flamenco and ballroom dancers. More recently, she has taken on the title of a medal winning figure skater. But it all started through the dance.
Laincz took belly dancing classes for 20 years, and was looking for something fun to keep her active.
“I wanted regular exercise, but didn’t want to be in a gym,” she stated. “I always loved dancing.”
When she was 66, Laincz decided it was time to follow her love of dance and combine her dedication to exercise with a lifetime interest in figure skating.
It was the initial trip of taking her granddaughter for group lessons at the ice facility at BodyZone, Wyomissing, where she thought learning to skate might just be the final piece to the puzzle.
Laincz skated for fun on frozen ponds and ice rinks as a child in Mass. but never took lessons. “I wouldn’t dream of asking my parents for lessons,” she said. Starting an activity like figure skating a little later in may not be the easiest thing for everyone, but Laincz is one to follow through.
She responds, “Why not give it a try? I always wanted to learn.” She began coming in on her own for public skating.
“It’s been 50 years since I’d been on the ice. I didn’t fall down... this might be what I’m looking for.”
After four of five months of coming in to skate once or twice a week, she signed up for group lessons.
“It was me and about seventy children,” she said with a laugh.
Laincz dedicated herself to figure skating and continued with private lessons, signing up with ice skating instructor Ray Laub. Laub has been coaching for 49 years, teaching those ages six to over seventy on how to maneuver on the ice.
Being around the same age and fans of the figure skating sport, Laincz and Laub quickly hit it off.
“I have been a figure skating fan my entire life, and followed the careers of skaters,” she said. “We would talk about the same skaters.”
Laub has been working with Laincz for the past five years now. “For a lady who started in her late 60s, she’s great,” Laub said.
“He puts his heart and soul into coaching, and loves teaching -- he can’t stop! I feel very lucky to have him,” Laincz said.
Their passion for ice skating and staying active are one of the same, finding it crucial to remain active. “The more you don’t use your body, the brain follows,” Laub said. “Every day you’ve got to do something that keeps you moving and your brain strong.”
“If you stay in good shape, your risk of falling keeps going down,” Laincz said.
Her “why not” philosophy recently led Laincz to a Bronze Medal win for her age category at the Keystone State Games for Figure Skating.
This senior is driven to keep fit by staying active with regular exercise. At The Heritage of Green Hills, she attends fitness classes, on top of her regular practice on the ice twice a week.
Ellen and her husband Paul have been residents at The Heritage for three years, and are originally of the Kutztown area.
“Oh, he thinks it’s great,” she said about what her husband thinks of her skating.
Her dedication to figure skating has even resulted in a fan club of residents.
“They refer to me as ‘our figure skater,’” she said with smile.
For performances and shows, the fan club is bussed over to their reserved seats. “They’re very supportive,” she said. “If I don’t skate, they don’t come.”
For Laincz, figure skating is about the challenge and she “plan[s] to do it as long as [she] can.”