April 24, 2008

Salute to Mr. Frick

What blog about show skating could go without paying tribute to Mr. Frick, who passed away April 14, 2008 at the sprightly age of 92. He was a skating pioneer.

I remember seeing him in Ice Follies when I was a kid. The highlight, of course, was his signature move and it always brought the house down. I also remember trying to pull off the "Mr. Frick", a.k.a. the spread-eagle cantilever, as a kid at the end of many a long or unproductive freestlye session. I could never do it.

But I'm sure I was not the only one to try and I'm sure this "goofing" off inspired some great interpretations to become today's class of hydroplaning. (I think we also need to give props to Charlie Tickner in the 80s for his signature hand-on-ice spin. Have I forgotten anyone else?)

Back to the granddad of comic show skaters - he and Mr. Frack started a great tradition. Cheers to Mr. Frick and to the ice shows of yesteryear.

April 17, 2008

Breaking News!

This came from a skating friend of mine ...

Ice Capades officially canceled the rest of the tour........ Planning on rescheduling for the fall and winter.

And if you go to their website and click on schedule, you'll see all those cities that were listed are gone. Rats!

I feel for the skaters, because they are probably out of jobs at this point. I hope none of them gave up a show that they really liked because they thought this show would have a long run. That happened all the time in my day and I guess it still does.

April 16, 2008

My Own Tribute to Dorothy

Since she was recently feted at the Figure Skating in Harlem Benefit, I thought I would add that the two best ice shows I ever saw both featured Dorothy Hamill.

She is, in my humble opinion, one of the few Olympians that became a stronger skater after her peak of winning the gold, due to her "Edge" work with Nathan Birch and Tim Murphy.

I think their "Edge Class" came about in the absence of school figures. She required her skaters to participate before every performance in Ice Capades (at the time she owned it) and it made her stroking, her balance, and (I bet if you asked her) her spins better.

Now back to the two shows, "The Next Ice Age" was at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and Gershwin On Ice in Atlantic City. This article from Skate Web focuses on the first, mentions the last and describes them much better than I can.

April 14, 2008

My Two Cent's Worth

First, I have to admit last week was the first time I watched Dancing With The Stars. So I don't know the history of the show. I watched specifically to see how Kristi dances. She's incredible. No surprises.

What I am surprised about is that they allowed her to compete. She's been a professional skater (so she got used to the spotlights after her competition days) and before that her amateur career wasn't just as any skater, but an Olympic Gold Medalist. That means a huge disadvantage for any other competitor.

And (please forgive me if this was brought up on the show) Kristi used to be a pair skater as well, so she is used to partnering. She and Rudy Galindo were US National Pair Champions in 89 and 90!

By the end of this season, she should compete to be one of the regular dancers. She could do it.

If you allow me to float a theory - a little secret dancers may not want to acknowledge - skaters generally do the same moves that dancers do (of course some positions are modified so we don't poke ourselves with toepicks) plus a LOT more.

I'll have more on the differences between dancers and skaters in future posts.

April 9, 2008

This aint your mother's Ice Capades

Click here for their website

It's back, it looks a lot like Cirque du Soleil and it could be coming to a town near you. Check out the schedule. Check out those tall skaters!

Did you miss Worlds?

Like I did!

Is it just me or does it seem like figure skating has lost some of its luster. The World Championships used to be all over tv promos and newspapers before, during and after the competition.

This time I had to hit the internet to find the results. It probably doesn't help that only one American was standing on the podium. Perhaps the papers in Johnny Wier's hometown put him on the front page. Maybe the front page of the Sports section.

But I predict that by the time the Winter Olympics roll around, the press will be pumping up at least one American in the Ladies category to crown as the next skating princess.

We'll have to wait and see.

April 2, 2008

Being Green

and I don't mean the environment.

My first show was one of the Big 3 and for that I am grateful. I was given A LOT of advice and tips before I even set foot in rehearsals, yet I still felt like I'd be sent home any day.

I was told not to get caught looking at your watch, crossing your arms or looking bored, not to sit down to watch if I were a swing, and never to ask when we'd be done. I obeyed all of these rules and still got singled out from the choreographer's bullhorn as much as any of the other rookies.

Every ice show I did after that was a piece of cake in comparison. So for that, I was grateful.

April 1, 2008

Getting the Show Started

I know there are a lot of websites about skating, but I hope this one will become a spot for discussion, reminiscing, and even gossip.

But first, we have to build up the readership. I encourage you to click on the comment box and tell your stories. Keep it anonymous or not.

Let me start by saying I've been retired from ice shows for over ten years now and I'm glad I'm not trying to make it as a professional today. The opportunities don't seem as plentiful. Back in the '80s there were a dozen amusement park show options, a few cruise ship and dinner theater gigs, a couple of Christmas shows (besides the perennial favorite - Charles Schulz's productions and later the Nutcracker tours), long-term contracts in Japan, and of course, the Big 3: Ice Capades, Disney On Ice and Holiday On Ice.

You still have the Big 3, of course, a long-standing show on Royal Caribbean and a few park shows that pop up here and there. But you also have Russian adding their skaters (very good ones too) to the mix.

So I wonder, how is it out there right now?


Well, a girl has to start somewhere, and April Fool's Day seems like as good a day as any. But this is no joke. This blog is for anyone who is interested in those who skated for Mickey, Dorothy, a giant cruise ship, a Mexican circus, a Japanese amusement park, a South African casino and all points between.

Please check in (and I won't fine you if you are late) every once in a while to see what we're up to.