August 31, 2009

San Luis Potosi

Over the weekend, we drove 5 hours north to see an ice show in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. That may have been my longest drive to see an ice show, if you don't count the time I drove from Mason City, Iowa to Preoria, Illionois to see my girlfriend in Ice Capades - and then continued straight on to Chicago, because she wanted to go there.

I'm so glad we made the trip because the show was great. I was surprised to see such a big operation for a "Park" show. Really, this was no SeaWorld or Busch Gardens, this was more of a State Fair, with livestock and cockfighting - well, it is Mexico - and an ice show that packed in 3-5,000 people for every show.

We waited in line over an hour (the first time, then we got some preferential treatment - thanks Wendy) and we were nowhere near the front. Then after the show, we hung out with the skaters and my daughter got to meet some of them and see their costumes up close.

The size of the ice was much bigger than any park shows I've seen, almost Holiday or Disney On Ice size. That means the skaters can gather up a lot of speed and do all their jumps and tricks. We saw back flips, a bounce spin, double axels, double flips, incredible spirals, and a crowd-pleasing Thriller and Michael Jackson medley.

The show also came with a comedian, acrobats, and fireworks. Quite an elaborate production, free with admission to the park, which was 10 pesos, or less than a dollar.

I want to thank Wendy at Arena International on Facebook for all the photos. I'm excited that the show will be going to Leon, Mexico in January. I'll be ready for another roadtrip by then.

August 26, 2009

What Brian Boitano Did Do

Since he's got himself a hot new cooking show, I thought I would weigh in too. But I don't get the BRAVO network, so I got nothing.

Instead I'll talk about when I saw Brian skate live.

If memory serves it was about 1997 or 98 at the American Open Championship in Chicago. Brian was hosting the competition. This is a competition that is not usually televised and is open to ANYONE. So what you get is a mix of ex-Olympians that still want to do a competitive program and some excellent show skaters laying out all their best tricks and a lot of great, innovative skating by all.

They aren't bound to pulling off as many jumps as they can or doing a spin with as many positions they can cram in there. And yes, I am biased, because I think sometimes a really fast camel or flying camel spin, left alone and held for ten to fifteen revolutions is a beautiful thing.

What they also included in this competition was a game of "Add-on" with Brian competing as well.

For those of you not familiar with Add-on (hey, Ice Mom - does Ice Girl know this game? Do skaters still play this game?) is one skater does a trick, usually a jump. Then the next skater does that jump and adds their own. The third skater has to do the first two jumps consecutively and adds their own and so on and so on.

If you ask me, including this as an Olympic event would really help ratings. No program, no music, nothing subjective. Sure it's a lot like the night before the NBA All-Star game when they have the Slam-Dunk contest, but the judges would not be able to tilt this one. Okay, it's not for the purists and I know, I know, nobody asked me what would help skating in the ratings.

So back to Brian. Well this game of add-on was by far the longest and most challenging probably ever done, with the combo being something like: dbl toe loop, dbl loop, sit spin, crossover into axel, dbl toe, arabian into back sit, crossover, dbl toe, axel and maybe three more other things. Remember they can only take one step or crossover, if any, between all the jumps.

And I'll now cut to the chase ... Brian didn't win it. (Remember this whole thing for him was fun, not serious.) BUT, what I saw for the first time was how much speed he could generate after only three crossovers. He was 30 mph faster than the others. Why? Most, not all, of Brian's competitors in this game were what I would call the B-team, as opposed to Brian's A-team we're used to seeing - Scott Hamilton, Todd Eldrige, Brian Orser, etc. So all of those guys are fast, we just can't see it by comparison. Especially on television.

But at this event, I could. He had superior power and speed in his skating. And that's what Brian Boitano did do.

August 21, 2009

Like Ferris Wheels? Like Bratwurst?

We are looking for girls and boys for the Winter season in Europapark,Germany.

Rehearsals starting around 24th Nov 2009-27th Nov 2009
Show runs from 28th Nov 2009-10th Jan 2010.
3x 45minute shows per day plus 1 evening parade.
Accommodation and 1 meal per day provided
Travel expenses paid.

Please include video,photos or Youtube link when answering this posting.


Francis Demarteau:
Fiona Kirk :

I've got to say three days of rehearsals is not very long. The bad news is those three days will feel like ... well you know.

The good news - you'll get them over with in three days!

August 17, 2009

How (Not) To Pose and Miss Chicago- A Refresher

One of my earliest posts explained my own crazy theory of the "showgirl pose". You know knees bent and thighs turned in. It's all about the angle in which you make your legs look their thinnest.

Here is that post:

Check out Miss Chicago below -

In this photo I dug up, only Miss Chicago is working the bend and flex. And don't you think it makes her look thinner? If she had a higher arch in her left foot, her whole leg would look thinner because we would see more of her knee area, the thinnest part of her leg.

Yes, someone long ago thought to put one leg directly in front of the other - so we see only the width of one leg - twist her thigh slightly inward - to hide some of the fleshy part - and then keep the leg facing front from the knee down - this time hiding the bulging calf muscle. Too bad she couldn't patent that move.

But sometimes it is best to learn from mistakes - like this one. This time the "showgirl" pose didn't have to do with making my legs look thin.

And no this never appeared in Glamour magazine.

The bar over my face is not for the outfit - can't do anything about that, it's because the pose is all wrong. I was still a newbie when I posed here and a British gal who'd already been in the show for three years took me aside and explained. "You should never pose with your legs open like that, love. Just like you never sit down in a really short skirt with your legs open ... that crotch shot is just not ladylike."

Indeed, now when I look at this pose, it's as if I'm scratching my nose with only my middle finger. Just not natural or ladylike.

And I never posed that way again.

August 13, 2009

Vivi-Anne Hulten and Bobby Pins

I second the nomination of Vivi-Anne Hulten for one of the greatest skating moments that was recently posted on Axels, Loops, and Spins.

Have any others?

She is also a great example of someone who skated her entire life. She performed well into her 70s and her silver hair, always in a bun, was never out of place. I admit I'm biased because I grew up skating at her rink, among others.

Anyway, she wasn't my coach, so I didn't know her that well, but I'll never forget when she chastised me one day for my bobby pin falling on the ice. I would like to believe that it wasn't my bobby pin, because I was angry and embarrassed, but I think it was and she was right. This was before I went into any ice shows and the lesson always stayed with me.

A bobby pin stuck to the ice can end a skater's career. Once your blade hits it, you stop gliding immediately. For a pair team, this could cause a horrible injury as well.

That's why in ice shows you are instructed to ALWAYS cross your bobby pins (use two in an "X" shape).

And now I'm about to admit something I've never told anyone before ... I just hope the statute of limitations for bobby pin fines has run out on me. Here goes - after a few ice shows, I stopped doing it.

I still feel awkward admitting this. It wasn't because I was rebellious or lazy, it was because I thought crossing them would make them more vulnerable to falling out. I felt the outer bobby pin could get too stretched out. So instead, I made sure that each bobby pin was secure and I want to add that nobody ever fell because of me. Phew!

Now I'm not recommending ignoring the "cross your bobby pins" rule or any other, I'm just saying the result you want is no bobby pins falling out.

August 7, 2009

Gene Kelly On Ice

sort of ...

Okay, so I signed up for a week-long, 2-hours a day intensive dance class "Broadway Musicals" thinking I'm going to get some great exercise, when I walk in to see the other dancers sitting on the floor with notebooks in their laps and pens in their hands.

Uh-oh. Something was wrong.

Sure was - I had signed up for a dance theory class. And all in Spanish too.


But it worked out that I understood about half of the lectures and ALL of the video clips - thank goodness.

One day the teacher introduced Gene Kelly to the 20-something dancers - how could they not know who Gene Kelly was? Oh, right, they were 20 years old - by showing us the video of him roller skating in the 1955 movie "It's Always Fair Weather".

I was struck by the thought that Gene Kelly would have been a hell of a figure skater. He had the edges, he had the technique. Back crossovers even! Remember at that time, skaters weren't doing triple axels yet.

Then digging around to find the video for you, I discovered that Figure Skating thought the same thing. Just click on the hyperlink.


August 3, 2009

Miss Ice Charades Is Not Proud

As I mentioned in the last post, Disney Sobre Hielo was in town and I was so excited when I first heard they were coming. I daydreamed of going backstage, hanging with the cast, and soaking up the world of show skating.

But like I said, I was not proud of what I tried to do ....

First off, I learned that my old company manager from a past show was now a company manager with Disney and I thought GREAT! I've got my in ... give me some names and I'll be having the fairies from Pixie Hollie over for cockails in no time. But he didn't know anyone in Fantasia de Mundo, so I got no names.

Okay, so I'll hang out in the hotel lobby, spot the skaters, and invite the cast over for BBQ. But they weren't there.

So, me and my daughter will go to the show and I'll try to talk to someone during intermission and a few days later I'll be driving skaters to the best coffee shop in town.

I started with the Concessions Stand guy. I was dropping show names, skater names, all sorts of insider lingo. I chatted him up while buying a program to get the names of the skaters. Well, the program had nothing. The $18 program had nothing and Concession Stand guy wasn't giving up any information either.

I had forgotten the old ice show rule, unless a concessions guy is interested in dating one of the skaters, they don't care about the skaters.

So I waited until the end of the show and chatted up the lighting Guy. I dropped even more names and he was more helpful. He gave up the name of the new hotel where the skaters were at, but didn't bite when I asked if there was anything I could do for the cast.

I offered rides, info about where to go around town, and the golden egg of ice shows - free laundry at my place.


I could have and should have stopped there. Cut my losses, but I kept trying.

I shamelessly scooped up my five-year old and headed to the hotel lobby to wait for skaters. We talked to Pumba from the Lion King, who had skated with Disney since 1987! That has got to be some kind of record! And also chatted with a very nice Tinkbell understudy who had a bag of dirty clothes in her hand. Yep, the dressers of the show did laundry for the skaters.

Rats! My mission failed and I finally let it go.

Let what go?

I was hoping for three things: 1) a chance to interview one of the skaters for this blog - to let the readers know about current life on the road instead of me blabbing on and on about decades old anecdotes. 2) getting my skates sharpened ... okay, I know this one if selfish, but my blades really need a good sharpening and down here I don't know where to go or how to say it when I do find someone to sharpen them. And finally 3) I was hoping that my daughter could meet Tinkerbell and Ariel and the other fairies in costume. She has seen pictures and video of me skating, but she'll never get to see me doing it for real. I was just hoping she could see them in costume because she gets so excited during the show.

But do you know what happens in this biz? If you aren't currently skating or about to do a new show, you don't fit in the bubble of a touring ice show.

You're like damaged goods.

It's not the skaters in Disney's fault, I did the same I think. You can't help it, you get caught up in a little world that exists on its own no matter what happens in the outside world.

I'm sorry I can't bring you any interviews, but next month I'm going to another ice show and let's see if I can't stalk, I mean talk to someone there.