July 28, 2009

Rules of the Game

With my recent posting of the first ice show I did, I got to thinking about how I even survived it.

So I need to give a big shout out to Laurie Cole Benson, who had starred with Holiday On Ice for nine years and was known to be the best Alice in Wonderland to lace up a pair of skates. She sat me down before I left for rehearsals and told me the rules of the game. Of course, these were the unwritten rules in addition to the official ones, and if I hadn't have known them, I don't think I would have lasted a week.

Were they going to fire you? They just hired you didn't they?

Ah yes, while I was given a part in the chorus, you should know it didn't cost Holiday On Ice much upfront. All of the skaters had to pay for their own airfare to Switzerland and their hotel once they got there. Holiday On Ice hadn't invested much in me yet.

In other words, anyone was expendible, especially the newbies.

They reimbursed me the equivalent of train fare from Paris - my new home base - to Bern, Switzerland, which in reality, barely covered my cab fare from the airport. That's it.

Now, not all ice shows make you pay yourself to get there! But since there were hundreds of skaters from Eastern Europe who would have LOVED the job, I was in no position to make demands.

Okay, so here were the rules - which are probably still good guidelines if you're new and joining a show:

*Don't get caught looking at your watch or the clock
*Don't cross you arms and look bored
*If you're not in the number being rehearsed, keep watching it
*Don't stand if you can mark the steps
*Don't sit if you can stand
*Don't complain about how long your feet have been in skates

and the most important

*Don't ever think you're too good for the chorus

Thanks again Laurie!


D J said...

Laurie got me into HOI with a photo and her word! They never saw me skate...I arrived, they put make up on me (thanks Jean), painted my boots and taught me 3 numbers on the floor, et voila! My expectations having come from world of nursing, were nil. I so appreciate every memory! I thank Laurie always for them. She is Alice in Wonder Land...and we the 'cards in the chorus" who chased her nightly. I was a bit bold and broke a few rules such as sittin on the ice during David Baker's re-choreograhing rehearsal for Vienna. Ok, so I had run 15 miles that day and was a bit knackered..it was a long rehearsal...Fun to see this Ice Charades blog!!!! DebJoy

Ice Charades said...

Thanks DJ! Unfortunately, I never saw the Alice in Wonderland production, only heard about it. I did see Laurie skate in Minnesota and her style was incredible.

It's funny, it sounds like for you too, something that happened over 25 years ago still is a fresh memory.

The power of ice skating!

Please stop by the blog anytime.

Anonymous said...

My first show in HOI was the Alice/Flamenco production and Laurie was my room mate for a large part of my first year. I have so many fond memories of my years with Capades and HOI but I sure don't remember you. I read your book with great enjoyment and can identify all the people you mentioned, even the girl in the penguin. Can we have a sequel please? Nancy Anderson King