Her life and love are shared in so many places.
Siobhan Karam was raised in Ottawa in a big family of seven. She is the second oldest with 4 sisters and 2 brothers. At the age of 15, she moved away to Windsor, Ontario to pursue a career in ice dance. She now lives and works in Toronto as a physiotherapist and skating coach, as well as a small business owner.
Here is a bit her story.
Founder and CEO, Concussion Lab Inc.
Physiotherapist, Cleveland Clinic Canada
Figure Skating Coach Toronto Cricket Club + Former Competitive Ice Dancer
Your career is linked to sports, health and fitness. Did your time as a competitive ice dancer have an influence on your choice of profession?
Yes, most definitely. My passion for sports and health was shaped early on in my career as an ice dancer. In order to excel as an athlete, I was focused on fitness, so a lifestyle centered around health came naturally at a very young age.
I would imagine that injury prevention is important to figure skaters or any athletes for that matter. But what I don’t think people realize is that in professions that use repetitive movements every day, like hairdressing, injuries can occur as well. How important are stretching exercises in the prevention and treatment of injuries.
Exercise, including stretching, is essential to all sports and many professions as well. Repetitive movements for prolonged periods of time are the basis of overuse injuries. Any jobs that involve manual labour, typing, lifting, etc. can lead to injury. It is important for professionals to have sufficient strength, endurance, and tissue flexibility in order to overcome the stresses placed on our tissues every day.
There are so many other aspects to figure skating aside from what takes place on the ice. When you were skating competitively, what was a typical week like?
As a skater, I would be up at 5:00 am, commute to Michigan (from Windsor where I lived) and train on the ice from 7:00-11:00 am. Practice was followed by an hour of off-ice training or dance such as ballet, ballroom, or a modern dance class. As much as skating was my whole life, I spent my afternoons in University studying Kinesiology, and the evenings waitressing to support my skating bills. Weekends for homework and family visits whenever I could get home to Ottawa.
How is it being on the other side of the glass – coaching instead of being on the ice competing?
I absolutely love coaching.
Stepping on the ice in the morning feels like home to me. And it feels a little less stressful now with a cup of coffee in my hand on the side of the rink. I am so grateful that I can give back to the world of ice dance, and am so fortunate to work with such an incredible team of skaters and coaches at the Cricket Club.
As a coach and choreographer, where do you draw your artistic inspiration?
I think that I’ve always had an artistic side in me – that is probably what drove me to ice dance as a young child and pursue it for 20 years. Being in tune with my artistic side is a balance and escape from my other more science-based work. Then again, physiotherapy is also both an art and a science.
The power and intricacy of both the mind and body have always mesmerized me.
I think I feel more balanced each day with a combination of both science and art in my life.
In hairdressing, when Stylists enter competitions, the hair is the foremost important part of the look but the makeup and fashion play integral roles as well. In the skating world, from your experience as an athlete and coach, how important are music, hair, makeup and wardrobe.
When you look good, you feel good! As an ice dancer, you are taught to put on a smile no matter how you feel. I believe that when you feel beautiful on the outside, it can turn on your light inside. Ice dancers represent beauty on ice, and this illustration is more powerful with elegance and the perfect selection of hair, makeup and costumes. Ice dancers are always telling a story, so the music and design of the wardrobe and program have to reflect that. The audience and judges need to see, hear, and feel the skaters’s emotions.
You started skating at a very young age – so you have been exposed to many different parts of the sport over the years – with your current career and as a coach. How has the sport evolved over the years?
The sport has grown tremendously since I competed. The technical side of ice dance has done leaps and bounds –a lot of this push is thanks to our incredible Canadian skaters and their support systems. The resources that skaters can now utilize are very different than when I was a skater. We didn’t have the same access to sports medicine, physiotherapists, nutritionists, sport psychologists, and the rest of the integrated support team like they do today.
It is amazing how fast a sport can reach another level when the system is designed to identify talent and support a skater’s whole well-being.
You have to travel a lot for competitions – over the years what have been some of your most memorable travel experiences?
I take a piece of every trip with me when I return. Over the years, I’ve been on some incredible trips to Japan, China, and Thailand. Asia is a complete culture shock, and I love being able to step out of my element and experience the world from a different lens where nothing feels familiar. Europe is always so beautiful – Italy, France, England, Croatia, Slovenia are some of my more recent visits. And I am grateful to be able to see so many fascinating cities right here in North America.
When you travel a lot, you sometimes forget how amazing your own doorsteps can be.
Do you have a daily beauty routine?
Each night I use a line of Filorgia products. Every morning I moisturize and just apply light powder, bronzer, mascara, and lipgloss. I save the eyeshadow, eyeliner, and lipstick for nights out!
What are some of your personal hair and make-up must haves?
I am pretty simple with my makeup products. I am loyal to MAC for my bronzer, eyeshadows, and lip products, Clinique for my mascara, and QUO for my eyeliner.
How would you describe your personal style?
Casual dress – I love blending a nice blouse or dress with flats, or putting heels on with jeans and a leather jacket.
What is your favorite way to pamper yourself?
Bath with Eucalyptus Epsom salts, exfoliating scrub, candles, and a face mask! Maybe with a glass of red wine too…
Finally – what three words describe you best?
Dream, work, live!