December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Repost from 12/25/09

There were many times when I skated on Christmas Day ... the Nutcracker in Honolulu was especially nice ... doing three shows in freezing Germany was not so much.

Of course it was sad to be away from home and away from family, but it was fun to be with my family of skaters. We always did a Secret Santa or some massive party because everyone felt we had to make it really, really fun and festive or there would have been a big ol' bunch of depressed skaters out on the ice who were away from home and and away from family.

Nobody wants that.

So for all of you showskaters working today, give the gal next to you a little pinch and remember to enjoy the day. It will help the hangover. But remember, New Year's Eve is right around the corner.

December 12, 2012

Supr'Ice is right!

Saw an ice show this past weekend at an amusement park.

You too?

There are a lot of them out there right now. Ice shows and Christmas go together like salt and pepper, like peanut butter and jelly, or if you're a fan of Talladega Nights, "like cocaine and waffles."

I finally got to Europa-Park in Germany, which was all decked out for the holidays. Europa-Park has a theme similar to Epcot with several countries from Europe sprawled out among the grounds. It was fun to walk from Iceland to Spain in less than five minutes.

So it was in Greece that I saw their Christmas show "Surpr'Ice." I hope that's not a bad omen.

It was a very good show. I loved the most of the music they skated to and the skaters were excellent. But I must be getting old, because my main complaint was that the music was too loud. It's good to have loud music, no doubt, I think it makes you feel more included in the show, BUT not too loud. It was so loud, it was coming across the speakers distorted. OR, that was my eardrums. Like I said, I'm getting old.

The principal skaters, like I said, were excellent. Watch out - here comes Finland. Both female principal skaters were from Finland.

But it was the male principal skater that did something I'd never seen before ... EVER. Kind of interesting.

His solo program had no jumps. Tricks - like Russian splits, hitchkicks, and lots of backflips - but NO jumps. Not an axel, not a double axel or triple toe loop which is standard fare for a male principal.

Can you think of a number that you watched where the skater didn't have any standard jumps? He did have two backflips in his solo and a backflip for the finale, so the guy can jump. AND he had excellent spins - including a beautiful flying camel back sit and an interesting position on a sit spin that had a lot of speed.

Almost every skater that can spin that well and throw in backflips to boot, can jump well too. There is no reason to think that he can't.

So why didn't he???? My theory is someone (the execs in the park, the choreographer, or the skater) decided the backflips would be better for the crowd than the jumps.

What do you think?

December 4, 2012

Urgent Casting Call for the Seattle area

Cirque du Noel

looking for
6 Ensemble Girls
1 Solo Boy
1 Solo girl
1 Adagio Pair
Cirque Acts that skate
The Show is December 21 Seattle Washington Arena. Will fly Dec 18 rehersals 19,20,21 will provide salary, transportation,accommodations, & meals.
If you are interested Please contact A.S.A.P Rosstyn at 561-436-0128 or Laurilee at 561-436-0142
e-mail at or

Only three days of rehearsal ... how bad can that be?

November 29, 2012

Facebook Friend Requests: What Would You Do?

or as the guys from South Park asked: WWBBD?

... as in Brian Boitano, who shows up in my "Friends You May Know" list when I requested my long lost cousin to be my friend. So does Katarina Witt and Jayne Torville.

I credit Oksana with this. She's my gateway skater leading me to all sorts of untouchable Olympic Champions. First Oksana, then Tai, then who knows?

So, would you (or have you) befriended Brian or Katarina?

November 20, 2012

This Made Me Laugh

... how about you? So true.

I discovered this gem courtesy of the Chive listed under today's Daily Morning Awesomeness. Go check them out ... and be awesome. :-)

November 6, 2012

Bond, Skate Bond

About a month ago I was talking with a fellow show skater who said that Holiday On Ice wasn't doing well. I had to wonder because they don't have a new show coming out this year. That's not a good sign.

So, I've got an idea for HOI ... oh and you're welcome.

Much like when Feld production (the folks of Disney on Ice) produced a pretty successful ice show called "High School Musical On Ice". It sold well in the first and second years.

I think a skating show about James Bond has great potential. So many of the theme songs from the movies are fantastic and would be great to see with skating.

Bond, Skate Bond - what do you think?

Who didn't love Yu-na Kim's short program in Vancouver? Could it work in an entire show like High School Musical did?

I'm putting aside all of the licensing issues - I know it costs a lot to use the music, but I'm hoping the profits would take care of that.

Doing Bond is trickier in some respects. High School Musical On Ice followed the plots of two shows, so there was a natural progression that you wouldn't have with Bond. We're doing theme songs here, so there has to be a variety to keep people interested.

On the plus side, the theme of James Bond is instantly recognized. So let's make it into a show shall we?

Here's how I'd do it:

Opening - to me it would have to be the main "007 Theme" that starts out most of the movies (not to be confused with the "James Bond Theme" - who knew?). Your principal male skater would be this Bond and the chorus could be between robbers (villians) and other spys (gals in trench coats could be very stylish).

The Second number would tie in the newest movie "Skyfall" by Adele with your principal female skater.

The one problem I could see with a James Bond show is that most of the songs are the big ballad types and one after another in the line-up would get boring. So you've got to mix it up.

The third number could be Madonna's "Die Another Day" which has a modern, funky beat that will break up the slow tunes. I'm not crazy about this song though ... personally I don't think it's her best work. But you need this number for the variety. Full chorus for this number, put in a good ol' pinwheel and kickline for good measure.

You could blend this song with the second half of "The World Is Not Enough" by Garbage which has a rich orchestration that we're used to with most of the Bond songs.

Next, as great as all of the Shirley Bassey tunes are, they are the oldest and the audience may not recognize them. My suggestion: put "Goldfinger", "Diamonds Are Forever" and "Moonraker" in a montage with three different skaters in very different outfits. Gold, silver and blue, perhaps, and in that order.

Now we have four to sixish numbers so far, which doesn't make enough to get you through to intermission. The first half needs to be about 40 - 45 minutes at least. So I would add a couple non-Bond songs, like a Scottish-bag pipe song that reminds one of Great Britian, home of the spy. Another location song could be a beachy theme with Bond girls in bathing suits set to a Greek-style folk song. Or Italian accordian? Think the Riveria.

But in terms of this blog post, if you haven't stopped reading already you will soon if I don't speed up my show.

So, for the second half, you would want to include Sheryl Crow's "Tomorrow Never Dies" then Duran Duran's "View to a Kill" and a-ha's "The Living Daylights" to bring in a faster beat. I would have my last two ballads be the more well-known "For Your Eyes Only" by Sheena Easton and Carly Simon's "Nobody Does It Better" - a personal favorite - that could be the last solo number before the big finale.

The finale should restart the "007 Theme" blending with the "James Bond Theme" and blending into my personal favorite Bond theme (it's my show, so I get to pick the closer, ok?) "Live and Let Die."

So that's the show, plus or minus a few tunes. Like I said earlier, if you're still reading this, let me know what you think?

October 31, 2012

The Figure Skater Won

... best actress in a German Soap Opera, "Alles Was zählt."

photo of Ann-Katharina Samsel

Back in September, I blogged about the figure skating plot of a German soap opera, "Alles was zählt", that I catch from time to time. You know, your typical figure skating champion who is wanted for murdering her coach - or did she?

Well, I didn't realize that the figure skater in the storyline had won Best Actress at the 2011 German Soap Awards!

Not only that, I didn't realize that Anna-Katharina Samsel has some cred. In 1999 she was the artistic roller skating champion for Germany and World Champion in 1999, 2000 and 2002.

But the best thing is she was in a Coldplay video!

I kid, I kid. I would take the titles any day.

According to her Facebook fan page, it looks like she didn't win this year. The ceremony was last Friday. Maybe the figure skating plot will intensify in the run-up to Sochi and she'll be a strong contender for Best Actress next year.

Still, congrats to the homicidal figure skater!

October 25, 2012

Happy Halloween!

... coming soon to a scary neighborhood near you.

Well, maybe.

So, in honor of the holiday, I'm reposting some of my favorite Holiday On Ice costumes that could be the "best" Halloween costume at your local bar, neighborhood bash, or after-show cast party. Now, there are lots of beautiful costumes also for sale on the Holiday On Ice site, but that wouldn't be as fun to show you, now would it?

Up first: Some kind of "Eye" in the Bugs Bunny show.

Not to be outdone by the female version is the male eye from the same show:

This one features both male and female costumes and I can't figure out which one is creepier:

Could work out with the slate of zombie movies and tv shows out there.

Okay, next is this guy is trying to look Mexican, but I don't know:

That poncho looks more like a Navajo toga. And don't get me started on the mustache.

Which also makes me wonder how authentic this guys is:

Next up what I call the office peacock look:

This one is suppose to be a costume from the Caribbean:

And finally:

Happy Halloween everyone!

October 22, 2012

Doping, Cycling, and Ice Charade's Idea of What to Do

Ahead (just barely) of the UCI's decision of what to do with Lance Armstrong's 7 Tour de France titles, I've got my own idea.

So, Miss Ice Charades, this isn't going to have anything to do with skating will it?

Not much really. Which is a good thing. Figure skating hasn't seen the doping problem that other sports, especially cycling has. That's in part because there isn't a performance-enhancing drug that covers strength, endurance AND agility. That agility part keeps skaters, gymnasts and divers from having to decide to dope or not to dope.

And that's what it could come down to ... if you read in this article, by Simon Austin on BBC Sports profiling cyclist, Scott Mercier, who "was the US Postal rider who resisted the pressure to dope" and because he did he had to quit competitive cycling.

Now, think of our elite skaters and wonder if they had to decide the same - that is to cheat by doping in order to win or stop competing. What would they do?

What would you do?

I would like to think I would say no. But I can't say with all honesty, that if I were that good, that I would refuse to cheat. Especially if everyone else was doing it. I would want to be one of the greatest wouldn't I? Elite athletes are the best competitors and it is not in their nature to stand on the sidelines and say, "no, not for me." Like Mercier is quoted in the end of the article, "he hopes no rider ever again has to leave the sport they love because they want to ride clean."

Now before I wade deeper into this discussion, let me state, that Miss Ice Charades is no cycling expert. I have no credentials in the sport. BUT, I have watched every stage of seven Tour de Frances, (5 of those that Lance won and two after his first retirement), which clocks in roughly 440 hours of Tour de France viewing. That's just enough to make me dangerous in having a point of view.

Lot's of folks have watched the Tour as much or more than I have and we'll all tell you that we've witnessed one cyclist after another being busted for doping. Dozens of them. (Fun fact, there's a wikipedia site : Doping at the Tour de France. It's all in there. There is a nifty chart toward the bottom that shows where the cyclists placed in each tour and it shows if Lance is stripped of his titles, you can't give the victory to anybody else, because 2nd, 3rd, 4th place on down is usuallly occupied by someone who doped or alleged to have doped. (In 2008, it starts to lighten up a bit, but it's still not a clean slate.)

So here's my idea of what to do ... I don't believe Lance should be stripped of his titles. They simply can't give them to anyone else. There should be an asterisk after his name that would cover *Doping. As in, that's what most of them did.

Then my next idea is to let cyclists dope. This one is controversial, I know. But I say, let's level the playing field by stopping the pretend-notion that now they're clean. If they want to dope, give themselves blood tranfusions, sleep in oxygen tents (I think they can do that one now) let them take the risks. They don't represent a country. In professional cycling they represent banks, telephone companies, newspapers, water, radios, pastries, sausages, and whatever "Liquigas" or as we say, leaky gas is.

If they want to represent their country and race in the Olympics, that's a different story. Let's keep the Olympics clean (cough, cough.) Well, let's keep trying to keep the Olympics clean.

So, what do you think? Strip the titles? Keep the titles? Something else? Let's hear it.

October 15, 2012

Richard "Mr. Debonair" Dwyer Gala, Oct 22, 2012

Ice Theatre of New York is honoring Richard Dwyer on October 22nd at Chelsea Piers in New York City.

This is the guy of the most amazing spread eagles who skated circles around the girls (literally) with the giant hoop skirts, each in a different bright, majestic color.

As a kid, I also wanted to be one of those girls. Usually the green one.

Well in one week, there will be a performance to honor him with Celebrity Dwyer Girls: Tai Babilonia, Dorothy Hamill, Linda Fratianne and JoJo Starbuck. Plus, Ryan Bradley will be a special guest.

Wish I could go.

October 5, 2012

The Fabulous Ice Age Documentary Film

Go to their Facebook page and like, or go to their website to sign up for special updates.

September 27, 2012

Ice Show Casting

This could be nice over the winter, don't you think?

This came in on Facebook in case you or any skaters you know are interested:

West Palm Beach, Florida

Rosstyn Ice Shows is casting now for:
Girl chorus: Height 5.5 and above
Boy soloist: must have double axel or triple jump.
Girl soloist: must have solid double jumps and spins
Adagio pair: must have one ankle spin and back flip.
Specialty act: must be able to ice skate.
Venue: South Florida Fair
Location: West Palm Beach, Florida
Dates: January 18th to Feb. 3
Rehearsals: January 11th. to January 17th.
If you are not American you must have a green card or your own work visa
Transportation provided only in the USA with the completion of the contract
Accommodations provided.
For more information: call: 561-436-0128

September 24, 2012

Meeting Up With An Old Skating Friend

... in two weeks! Going to see one of my heroes from my ice show days that I haven't seen in almost thirty years. Wow am I excited.

And nervous.

Only two weeks. How many push-ups do I have to do between now and then to take away the pudge?

That's because in the world of ice shows, meeting up with the past means one might want to look their best. Better than best. I've got two weeks to go and I better get on this.

Excuse me, Ice Charades, but when anyone meets up with an old friend, you want to look good.

Yes, that's true, but there is something about the ice show world. These people put makeup on for a living at one time. They're good. Professional dieters! We didn't sit around writing code or crunch numbers. We went out to skate and tried to look our best doing it.

And it doesn't matter if it is a gal or guy meeting up with a gal or guy ... the pressure is the same.

Ice shows are visuals things, my friend. Wish me well!

September 19, 2012

New Ice Show Page - Check it out!

I got this email from Daisy Mae introducing her new Facebook page: Skates on a Suitcase
I have started a Facebook Page in gathering and sharing information about my birth mother's ice skating career. She was a professional skater on the Royal Ice Palace Revue of the Royal American Show in 1940-1941. She was one of the first to skate on Iceolite.

She also had a spot date on Holiday on Ice show in 1950. She was cast for the 1946 Ice Cycles by the Ice Capades.

I will be posting many photos from her scrapbooks. I have newspaper clippings and articles about many "vintage' skating acts and skaters.
Marjorie Lee
Harry Douglas
Red Sisley
Joan Walter
Margie Petaja
Gracie May
Dottie Beeskow
and of course my mother Charlotte Stempniak, billed as Rhythm on Ice"

If you are interested in this 1940 era of ice skating and perhaps knows some of the skaters who skated with her, please visit my new Facebook page, Skates on a Suitcase.

Skates on a Suitcase

As I said, you should check it out. It has amazing photos and narrative that brings show life to life. This would make an awesome movie!

September 11, 2012

What a Fool

... I was to think that by airing the entire Opening and Closing ceremonies of the Paralympics games, (uninterrupted) that the German network ARD would also show, you know, actual competition of said games.

What a fool. I didn't see any coverage and I checked daily and I'm miffed. How can you just show the pageantry and then turn over the rest of your coverage to some stupid '90s cop drama. Please.

So here is what I have seen on German television - Ice Charade's Fans: you'll be happy to know I'm talking about figure skating again -

It's a German soap opera called "Alles was zählt" which means roughly Everything That Counts. Let's see if you can spot how many things are wrong with their depiction of figure skating ... you know, the ol' spotlights in competitions and more.

So, there's a main character, Katja, who is a former (more on why later) figure skating champion in Germany. Compared to the average size and shape of any European women's champion, she looks most like Katarina Witt, not during her first Olympic medal, nor her second Olympic medal, more like her Playboy spread.

Here she is, from her Facebook page, going to the German Soap Awards 2011.

So, how does she win the German championships? The episode I saw had her competing with spotlights, a panel of very scary looking judges and zero audience members. Yup, no one in the audience. Then when it was time to announce the results, a very dapper, Tim Gunn-lookalike walked over to a group of seven or eight competitors waiting by the door to get on the ice and told Katja, she had won.

Yup, only seven or eight competitors, no Kiss-N-Cry, no score, just spotlights. Now, Katja has a hard time accepting that she was the new German champion, because only hours before she killed someone in the dressing room with her skate. Yup, she stabbed someone (I think it was a mean ol' coach, but I didn't see that episode to know for sure) with the heel of her blade.

That's where the former comes in. Pretty hard to uphold your competition schedule when you're wanted for murder. But I think it takes a while before they have a clue who did it and there's something about how Katja might have been brainwashed, and therefore, not guilty, because whoever she killed (the coach probably) was such a meanie.

Not very realistic, I think. And don't even get me started on the clumsy "bait and switch" when they show a close up of the actor's face and then switch to a stand-in doing a triple toe loop. But they wouldn't have done that in the original episodes because the first actress to play the role of Katja (they are on the third actress to fulfill that role) was Tanja Szewczenko, the real German National Champ and 94 World Bronze Medalist. How 'bout that for some street cred.

So there you have it sports fans ... no Paralympics nothing, but "Alles was zählt."

August 30, 2012

Never Seen Before

.... as in the Opening Ceremony for the Paralympics!

I have never seen anything to do with the Paralympics before and last night I watched the entire ceremony.

Well, most of it. I didn't discover it was on until Egypt was walking in, so I missed countries from A-D. And then I fell asleep during the lighting of the flame.


Hey, by then it was 1:30 in the morning for me on a school night!

But I've got the Olympic fever again.

And since the German network, ARD, televised the entire ceremony (thank you), commercial free (oh yeah, thank you) I bet there'll be more coverage coming in the next week and a half.
Unlike the French tv networks who are snubbing their athletes. Sacre bleu.

So, you can bet that I'll be posting about more amazing athletes that have nothing to do with figure skating.

Hey, what else can we talk about right now?

No, I'm asking you - if there is any skating we can talk about right now, let me know.

August 20, 2012

Get Your Tickets For An Evening With Champions!

Wish I could see this! This show has been around for a long time and keeps getting better and better. Tickets aren't that expensive and the money goes to a very good cause.

So here are the details:

WHEN Sat., Sep. 29, 2012, 7 – 9:30 p.m and Sun. Sep. 30, 2012 2-4:30 p.m.
WHERE Harvard's Bright Hockey Center (79 North Harvard Street in Allston)
ORGANIZATION/SPONSOR An Evening With Champions (Eliot House Jimmy Fund Committee)
COST $8 students; $12 senior citizens; $25 general public
CONTACT INFO, 617.942.1392

August 16, 2012

On to Sochi!

This one's for Vlad at World Figure Skating ...

Only 540 days until the Opening Ceremonies!

This is Zaya/Zaika the Doe Hare and the figure skater of the bunch (of mascots).

Can't wait ... even though I have to.

August 11, 2012

Another Athlete to Cheer - Guor Marial

I'm sure I won't be the only one to tear up for Guor Marial when he runs the marathon today. He's one of the independent athletes, because he is basically without a country.

Not yet a citizen of the Unites States where he was granted refugee status, and not able to represent South Sudan, because, as a new country, they don't have a national committee yet, he is running under a white flag with the Olympic logo.

Considering what he has been through, it is amazing he has qualified.

You can read more of his amazing biography on Wikipedia here, or a much more thorough article by Rick Maese of the Washington Post here. And when you're done, I suggest you try to watch it on tv if you're able.

It will be inspirational!

August 7, 2012

REPOST - In Honor of Usain Bolt: Is the Best Skater Already Alive?

Is The Best Skater Already Alive?

... meaning the best skater that will ever be ... not someone thirty or ninety years from now.

If you think about it, that's kind of depressing and cool all at the same time.

I ask this, based on an article I read - Is The Fastest Human Already Alive? - on the website Grantland, asking whether we are approaching the fastest times humanly possible for the 100-meter dash.

The article written by Chuck Klosterman boils down the argument to this:

Is there an irrefutable dead end to the 100-meter dash? Is there a speed at which a human body would just break down and disintegrate, no different than a machine pushed beyond the capacity of its individual components? Some have been arguing "yes" for years. Reza Noubary, a professor of mathematics, computer science, and statistics at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, has estimated "with 95 percent confidence" that the ultimate time for the 100-meter dash is 9.44. [The current record, held by Usain Bolt, is 9.58 - a .37 improvement from 40 years ago.]

That number seems as good a guess as anything else. But if Noubary is correct, it would force us to accept a depressing, unreliable notion — it would essentially mean we're about 25 years away from the pinnacle of human performance. It would mean that most of us will see the fastest man that could ever exist within our own lifetimes

So are we getting there with figure skating as well? Kim Yu-Na? Patrick Chan? Will we ever see quintuple jumps? A quad axel? There were some years when I wondered if we would ever see a women do a triple axel. But they got there.

Well, while we may never see a quintuple jump, skating has the creativity that track and field do not. To me, creativity will always improve, change, and adapt.

What do you think - quad axel?

August 6, 2012

London Calling

Just got back from a long weekend in London and we stumbled into this little thing called THE OLYMPICS!


You've heard, no doubt, about the greatest athletes already. Your Phelps, your Wiggins, your Gabby Douglas, and all the other amazing athletes who have competed so well.


But, one of the things I like most about the Olympics are hearing/reading about athletes, who just being the Olympics, is an amazing story.

Such as Saudi Arabia's Wojdan Shaherkani.


I read Ester Addley's article in the UK's Guardian, and was in tears by the end.

She lasted only 1 minute and 22 seconds, and even that, the experts agreed, was thanks to the sportsmanship of her opponent in not finishing her off sooner.

But for the women of Saudi Arabia, the blink-and-you-missed-it performance of a nervous 16-year-old in the judo arena on Friday might, just might, have been the start of something significant.

Please click here to read the whole article.

Let's hear it for Girl Power!

Saudi Arabian women are not permitted to take part in PE at school in their home country, or join a sports club, or even attend a sporting event as a spectator. But thanks to the persistence of the International Olympic Committee, determined to make these the first Games in which every nation would field both men and women, the country was arm-twisted into allowing them to compete in London.

Not able to watch a sporting event? I can't imagine. Being only a blue belt in karate and finding out three weeks before the Opening Ceremonies you're going to compete? I can't imagine. Not being able to go out of the house without a male escort and now she steps onto the mat, solo, in front of the world? I can't imagine.

But I can say this, WOW.

July 30, 2012

Looking for a job?

There's always room for stagehands with "The Greatest Show on Earth" - who could pass that up?

That's what I learned, among other things, when I embedded with Ringling's Fully Charged Tour for a weekend. Hung out backstage with the elephants, clowns, jugglers, and my dear friend who is managing this bunch right now.

So, they never have enough stagehands (in a cast and crew of 300 people!) and if by chance, you know, just saying, you ever wanted to run away with the circus ... there's always a job for you.

To be frank, I'm sure one has to start at the bottom of the stagehand ladder, which means picking up a shovel. Entry level means shoveling up poop, and all kinds - ponies, tigers, elephants, and hopefully very little from the clowns.

Oh, Miss Ice Charades, that was gross.

Yes, that was just a joke. The clowns that I met, a mix of Americans, Russians, a few Canadians and random other nationalities were all very sweet.

And, they promise they won't throw you off the train! Really, they were all the nicest bunch of folks.

Some other things I learned ....

*Don't stand between two elephants to get your picture taken while wearing a dress. Those elephant trunks can get frisky!

*Learn to kill time on the train as you travel from one city to the next at a top speed of 25 MPH. Yes, the next time you go on a road trip, stay at 25 MPH for five or ten seconds and feel their pain. It takes days to get anywhere.

*Most of that 300+ cast and crew (and the animals) travel by train. They have there own compartments - that make cruise ship rooms look spacious - 7 feet by 17 feet is one of the "family" sized compartments.

*The circus still is about family. The Fully Charged tour had its own school and nursery for the offspring of performers and crew. I didn't ask about the curriculum, but I bet juggling is in there somewhere.

*This was truly an international cast, here's a rundown: dancers are from Brazil (they're cheaper that way), the animal trainer - Chile, juggling groups from Russia, Czech Republic, Argentina, highwire act - Morocco, acrobatic acts - Mexico, China, Russia, aerial acts - Russia, Uzbekistan, Argentina, clowns - lots of Americans, but other nationalities too.

That's just a sampling ... I bet the backstage gets pretty lively during World Cup matches (or now during the Summer Olympics).

Stay tuned for the next post with more about the show!

July 24, 2012

Who's Who in the Audience?

After thinking how nerve-racking it would be to audition, not only in front of the big-wigs like Judy Thomas, Karen Kresge and Sylvia Froescher for the ProSkaters Live Auditions, but anyone else that wanted to dial-in, I wanted to explain that audience members are not all alike.

Judges of any kind can be scary and intimidating, so it is crucial to perform your best for an audition.

But after the audition, the performance, night after night in some cases, is crucial too.

The worst critics in your audience are (after bypassing total, random strangers) in ascending order are:

Mothers and close family members
These are the people you want to skate well for, but let's face it, your mother has seen or knows about your three or four clean run-throughs that preceded the knuckle-biting bomb of a performance you just did. They will still love you and believe in you, and watch more practices until you get it right.

Significant Others/More-Than-Date-Potential People
These folks have many of the same characteristics as the first group mentioned (e.g. seeing the clean run-throughs or sitting around for the practices afterward) but they are not related by blood, and may not understand how scary it is to perform. Still, they will usually be kinder and more informed than ...

Important Teachers/Professors/Neighbors/Bosses etc. Not in a Performance-Related Field
This is someone you want to impress with your skating chops, perhaps to explain why you needed the early morning shift off from waiting tables, and will know little to nothing about skating. So it will be harder for them to be sympathetic to your less-than stellar performance like friends or family. Plus, they won't understand that falling on a double-lutz or triple-loop is somehow more commendable than only attempting three separate double-toe loops and throwing in a second, time-filling, unnecessary spiral to save energy.

But you know who will know this ... and they are the scariest critics in the audience.

Fellow Figure Skaters
Let's face it, they may not be rooting for you to sail through your program error free. In fact, they might be hoping you fall to therefore, make them a better skater. Kind of like, for every action there's a reaction.

And, they know a double-lutz or triple-loop is much harder than a double-toe loop, but if you fall on it, they know you haven't mastered the jump yet and your program defaults to the hardest jump that you did.

For example, the female principal who performed less-than well in Holiday On Ice's Speed, had style and grace galore. Truly star quality. But she fell down SPLAT! on her double-axel (yes there is a difference in how you fall in ice shows ... and I'll have to write a post on that someday) leaving only a double-toe loop for her credentials. That wouldn't get her into the chorus of a cruise ship show, let alone a principal.

But mistakes can happen. Sometimes the bigger shows would fine you for such mistakes, leaving the incentive not to do it again.

I don't know how her other performances have gone since, but I've challenged her ability and just proved the point that skaters (former skaters too) can be the harshest critics in any audience.

July 22, 2012

Live Auditions Today

Sorry for the late notice on this, but if you want to watch auditions for the ProSkaters Seminar, here you go ...

Here's the promo on YouTube to get you primed for the event!

July 6, 2012

In the meantime ...

I'm still on vacation. I won't be back until next week, but I have plenty to blog about when I do.

Oh, and the Circus was awesome!

So, in the meantime, I saw this on Andrew Sullivan's blog, The Dish, and thought it was so cool.


Rather than the standard pitchside advertising hoarding or square-inch advert in the match programme, Brazilian Serie B side Vitoria have conjured up an ingenious way of promoting the club’s blood donation campaign.

Nicknamed the ‘Red and Blacks’, there’s no prizes for guessing what colours Vitoria usually play in. However, ahead of the new season, the club have ‘drained’ the red hoops from their home strip in a bid to raise awareness and get their fans to donate blood for transfusions and the like.

The red hoops on the home shirt will then be replaced one-by-one as the level of blood donated rises, until the shirt is eventually restored to it’s former glory when the target is met. As we said, ingenious…

June 16, 2012

Ms. Ice Charades is running away to join the circus

... for a few days only!

I'll be in other places as well, so blogging might be a bit spotty. But, I hope to have some great pictures of the Ringling Bros. Fully Charged show on-line in a couple of weeks.

Hope you're having a great summer where ever you are - stay tuned!

June 12, 2012

Guarantied to be entertaining

... don't you think? I love Phillipe's skating AND especially his attitude.

June 5, 2012

The Curtsy

My husband arrived in London this morning, but not to see the Queen. He'll be stuck in the Heathrow Terminal 4 Hilton all day. I'm a little sad I couldn't tag along to enjoy the celebrations.

I would love to meet the Queen, if only for the curtsy. When else do you get to do that?

I got to thinking that maybe we should loosen up the requirements and not only curtsy for the Queen, but other people you want to impress. The surgeon who is about to cut you open? Time for a big bow? The first time you meet your soon-to-be mother-in-law? That's a good time too. How about your all-time favorite movie star/author/elite skater/etc etc? I think the "We're Not Worthy" salute from Wayne's World is usually applied, but a curtsy is cuter. Don't you think?

And by the looks of this gal, good for your thighs.

After thinking this over some more, I realized this deep-seated desire to curtsy comes from not getting to do it enough as a skating performer. During the big touring shows I did -- only as the understudy. In my day as a competitor? Never.

So maybe I just need to throw in a few curtsies while I'm vacuuming or something and the urge might just go away.

May 30, 2012

Sylvia Froescher, Ice Show Producer Extraordinaire

... and good friend of Ice Charades. Someone I have always looked up to. That's her standing between Willy and Cathy in a Bietak sandwich.

And here she is featured in this article by Louis Elfman for IceNetwork, proving that you can still have great jobs within the industry when you are done performing. Although the odds are tough. For every thirty or so chorus skaters there is one choreographer, maybe an assistant. There is usually just one producer.

You do the math!

Anyway, congratulations, Sylvia.

May 22, 2012

Ooh La La


Looks like fun, only 30 minutes outside of Paris. Wish I had the time (and energy and jumps and/or spins).

Go to this Facebook page for the details:

Nanterre (30 minutes from Paris by RER).

Casting: Chorus Girls, Chorus Boys, A pair and a Solo girl.
Place: Nanterre (30 minutes from Paris with RER)
Rehearsals in Paris and Nanterre from November 7 to Novembe 16.
Skows from November 17 to december 16.
Saturday nov 17: 2 shows.
Sunday nov 18: 2 shows.
Saturday nov 24: 3 shows.
Sunday nov 25: 2 shows.
Saturday dec 01: 2 shows.
Sunday dec 02: 3 shows.
Wednesday dec 05: 2 shows.
Saturday dec 8: 2 shows.
Sunday dec 09: 3 shows.
Wednesday dec 12: 2 shows.
Saturday dec 15: 4 shows.
Sunday dec 16: 3 shows.

Chorus Skaters from Paris:
180 euros for 2 shows
220 euros for 3 shows.
260 euros for 4 shows
Rehearsals 40 euros per day.
Salary net, No hotel for people from Paris.

Chorus skaters not from Paris or from other countries:
2.000 euros net for the period plus travels and Hotel with breakfast.
12 working days.
Real Ice.
Send Photos and resume.

Please Contact:
Francis Demarteau
Global International Shows.

Thank you very much.
Kind regards


May 15, 2012

Cruise Ship Question and Comment for the Cruise Ship Skaters

A friend of mine is going on a cruise soon, but is scared that she will be seasick. It's on a big ship and my question is to the skaters that skate on a cruise ship day in and day out ... how does one keep from getting sick?

This weekend it was the Harbor Birthday for Hamburg ... a big event for the city. I think it's Hamburg rival to Munich's more successful Oktoberfest. Hmmm, big boats vs. big boobs and beer steins - which do you think would be more successful?

Anyway, Hamburg has the harbor birthday and the Queen Mary 2 rolled into town. It's big. Although Germany's Aidasol (on the left with the red lips) is pretty big too.

Cruise ships have been in the news a lot lately and most of it bad news. We all know how the Italian cruise line Costa Concordia ended up, but did read the news about the Panamanian fisherman suing Star Princess cruise ship for failing to pick them up? According to a news report from a month ago, the crew was alerted to the problem, but did nothing. That's not good.

So, my comment for the cruise ship skaters would be, if someone mentions something about "stranded fisherman ... waving for help", don't ignore it. Tell the crew, tell the captain, tell the Coast Guard. Don't let Royal Caribbean receive the bad publicity that Princess will.

And finally, let's hope the cruise ships with ice show will never let this happen on board.

Gaddafi’s Son Built a Ship With Deadly Shark Tank Inside

Hannibal Gaddafi—son of the assassinated Libyan dictator—built a ship with a 120-ton sea water aquarium inside. Why? To put six sharks inside, including two bull sharks and two whites, the most dangerous in the world.

Why in the world would you do that?

May 7, 2012


There is a point in the novel Ice Charades when the protagonist, Sue, carries a croissant in her purse to wolf down as soon as the *weigh-ins are over. Even though eating a croissant or even a hamburger probably wouldn't make you one pound heavier, one hour later, it's the psychological feeling that weighing in when the tank is completely empty gives you the best result.

It's an ongoing theme in the book.

Things don't go as planned during *weigh-ins and that croissant gets smushed before the end of the day. Not smashed, but smushed. I like the sound of smushed much better. See photo above ... although that's a clean, direct smush ... not like the half-smushed, partially-torn greasy-napkin-bleeding-onto-Sue's-wallet croissant I envisioned.

Then this weekend, it dawned on me that my new, favorite breakfast treat for the last three months is ALSO a smushed croissant, called the franzbrötchen schoko. (chocolate french bread)

They have smushed it on purpose. And then - it seems like to me - they fry it with a chocolate glaze and dust it off with powder sugar. Wow, genious. All you need to do is shove a stick in there and you've got the next State Fair sensation.

I never knew of this delicacy from Hamburg, in all of my days touring with Holiday On Ice. That's probably a good thing, since making my set weight was hard enough with the regular croissants and struedels and good ol' baguettes and Swiss chocolates etc etc, coming my way. But in writing about the state of Sue's pastry back in 2007, it's as if I always knew.

** weigh-ins: Subjecting a skater to a (usually) weekly weighing to see how much they weigh above their set weight in order to fine them or even fire them occasionally.

April 27, 2012

This and That

I would totally wear this, except it only comes in kids' sizes. I'm having trouble with the %$#$!!@ spacing on this post, so I apologize that it is all shoved together. I'm working on this .... So, I wanted to link to a great article Vlad posted on his skating blog, World Figure Skating, about the birth of ice shows written by Olga Fluegge. Interesting reading for any chorus girl or boy, so here's the link: The History of Ice Shows | Skating Esquire By the way, you should keep watching the World Figure Skating blog, because he's going to be the one with the scoop in Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Next ... what would an Ice Charade's post be without an Ice Capades Reunion notice. Here you go ...
New Orleans Mini Reunion Weekend for Ice Capades June 14 thru 17, 2012 Wyndham Chateau Bourbon is offering a renovation special Rate per person – Based on Single or Double Occupancy 6/14/12 - @ $118.30 6/15 – 6/17 - @ $132.30 a night Call the hotel directly (504-586-0800) or click on the link above to make your reservation. Space is limited. Greg’s New Orlean’s Facebook page!/events/410195945661755/
And finally, a little ditty to start off the weekend, which has nothing to do with skating. Yesterday, I went to my daughter's school for a presentation her class did on fables. The assignment was to update the old ones, bring them into the modern world. My absolute favorite fable that two of her classmates did was entitled "The Bat Gang and the Cow." The cow really wanted to join the gang of bats (yeah, don't ask me why), and she pretended she was voted "Australia's Prettiest Cow, 2010, (Australia? don't ask me why) and she even said she was the best swimmer of all. (Quite an imagination, these 3rd graders have, eh?) Well, the cow got busted for her fabrications and the moral of their fable, written as the last sentence of their power point presenstation?
Don't tell a lie unless it's really necessary!

April 20, 2012

Happy Birthday Toller Cranston

I told you there would be some birthdays to recognize in April ... and what better than the legend himself.

The skater and the painter, there is no one like him.

If you want to say happy birthday or even feliz cumpleanos yourself, stop over at Facebook and join the Fans of Toller Cranston page.

April 11, 2012

Like Xan, he is an adult skater

Photo by Astrid Riecken / For The Washington Post

I've got to say thanks, Xan for the idea of this post ... she bared her soul about this last month. If you haven't read it yet, please go here and read it first.

Don't worry, I'll wait for you.

Okay, are you done? Good.

Let me first say, I have such admiration for adult skaters. It's not easy to skate. It isn't easy for a kid and it doesn't get easier as you get older ... it gets harder.

Yet adult skaters go out and practice because they love the feeling of movement, they push themselves when many adults are retreating (yes, that would be me) and they make up the biggest group of Ice Charades fans (thank you)!

So that's why I love this article from the Washington Post.

The article written by Monica Hesse, profiles Mickey Bolek, a successful hairdresser, as he competes in the U.S. Adult Figure Skating Nationals.

And I love this little gem too:

The oldest skater here today is Elaine Evans, 72. She won’t be competing; she just skates recreationally. “As long as you’re willing to pay for those gorgeous young Russians,” you can buy happiness, she says. She gazes at her gorgeous Russian ice dancing coach/partner. “Best investment I ever made.”

What makes me a little sad though, when thinking about adult skaters ... what if they would have been champions, if they weren't for some reason denied the chance to skate when they were young?

Am I the only one who has thought this way?

April 6, 2012

More Birthdays This Month

... to my great friend and circus darling at Ringling ... Happy Birthday, John!

April 1, 2012

No April Fools' Joke

Ice Charades is five years old today! That means I'm learning to master complete sentences by now.

Woo hoo - give me some cake.

March 30, 2012

Questions/Comments about the World Figure Skating Championships

I'm back ... did you miss me?

I hope it feels like spring wherever you are, because here it's still too damn cold.

So I'm back to blogging and I'll have a lot to talk about, but since everyone is concentrating on Worlds right now, I thought I would bring up the nagging questions that have come up for me.

I'll let the experts deal with the judging and scoring, because I know that needs critique (and criticism) from the outside. What would a world-class figure skating competition be without controversial scores from questionable judges?

But my more trivial concerns from Worlds have been:

1) Why so much Japanese advertising on the boards? Do they realize that most of the world (and more specifically, the viewing audience) doesn't read kanji, katakana and/or hiragana? OR are there that many Japanese viewers watching? Aaron - you're there right now ... are the Japanese fans vast outnumbering any other country?

2) Does anyone else think that the amount of stuffed animals and/or flowers thrown on the ice is a bit stingy this year? Is this the Euro crisis on display? I'm used to the visuals of flowers girls, their arms bursting with bouquets. This time, not so much.

And last, but not least -

3) Am I out of touch or does it seem as if the skaters are sponsored like NASCAR drivers or professional bikers, in that when they get to the Kiss-n-Cry, they need to zip up their jacket so that all of the company logos are visible? Is this relatively new?

I welcome any and all input and I am excited for the finals in mens and womens!

February 17, 2012

Taking a break

... see you in the Spring.

February 13, 2012

What Coaches Should (Not) Wear

This post sounds like it's coming from Xan's blog, but really it is just a rant coming from me.

yes, I'm talking about what a coach shouldn't wear .... and I'm talking soccer. Most soccer coaches wear either a suit and tie or a athletic outfit with the team logo. While the suit and tie doesn't seem that comfortable for coaching a game (hockey coaches seem to do this a lot too) it shows their respect for the game.

And I like and appreciate that.

Other coaches want to be more comfortable to pace the sidelines and move about during the game, so they wear comfortable track suits with the teams colors. They probably feel they can think better dressed like that or it embraces the team spirit more.

I like and appreciate that.

But I found it distracting and a little disrespectful to be watching Zambia's coach, Herve Renard, last night when his underdog team beat the heavy favorites from the Côte d'Ivoire(Ivory Coast) to win the Africa Cup last night.

Congrats to you, Herve Renard, and your team on a great win, but you look like you're thinking more about going out to dinner or a disco, rather than coaching a championship game. The shirt is a little tight to be comfortable, don't you think? I saw you pulling it down a lot during the game.

Excuse me, Miss Ice Charades, but Herve Renard is French. He probably is thinking about where he is going out to dinner. Plus, he says this is his lucky shirt.

Well, because he's French, that may explain the style. But because he's French, what are the chances he's cleaned that shirt?

Next post, back to skating, I promise.