December 31, 2014

Happy New Year

Reposted from 12/31/09

Twenty years ago, when skating in a show in Japan, we had noticed the audience spending more on the t-shirts and pictures and tipping the waiters on New Years.

Later I learned why. New Years is a big holiday for the Japanese and the thinking goes that giving away more money at the end of the year will make you richer in the new year.

But I didn't know it at the time. So I was a confused when I saw a paper bill on the ice during the kickline in our show on New Year's Eve. As we kicked our way downstage I discovered it wasn't any old paper bill, but an ichiman yen.

That was 10,000 yen! Half a week's* pay! And it was sitting all by itself on the side of the ice.

Now I would like to think that I was the utmost professional and I would never deviate from the choreography, but there was half a week's pay taunting me. So I instead of the last kick I improvised with a nice lunge, broke from the line and swooped up the money. Roughly $75 in exchange for risking a $10 fine for misconduct.

Professional, schmessional.

I was so excited with my new windfall that I had to tell the other skaters, which meant I had to donate the money to the party fund. (By being generous, I hoped I wouldn't get fined. And I didn't).

So, that made for a happier New Year's Eve party, I think. But I'm not really sure what happened to the money after I handed it over to the company manager. And I'm not sure if the Japanese audience member who threw it had a more prosperous year either.

*for you math geeks - we did receive only $150 a week as per diem. The balance of the $300 weekly chorus pay went not-so-directly to my bank account in the States.

December 17, 2014

Drag Queens On Ice

Here's one I don't think Campbell's Soup will sponsor. But I would love to see it.

For anyone in the San Fran area - it's tonight and it's free!

December 12, 2014

Let's add one more ...

10, 11 of the World's Most Beautiful Ice Skating Rinks

I posted this CNN article last year, but I think the Maggie Daley Park ice skating rink - a.k.a. the Ribbon - should be added to the list.

As a reminder - here were the top 10 according to the article, plus a few of my own ...

Banff Lake Louise, Banff, Canada

Bondi Winter Festival Ice Rink, Sydney

Eiffel Tower Ice Rink, Paris

Evergreen Lake, Colorado

Red Square Rink, Moscow

Rideau Canal Skateway, Ottawa

Rockefeller Center, New York

Shichahai Lake, Beijing

Somerset House, London

Vienna Ice Dream, Vienna, Austria

But I think they have left out a few ...

Let's not forget the world's biggest ice rink in one of my favorite cities - Mexico City.

Maybe you would like to skate near a roller coaster or ferris wheel? Then Fuji-Q Highland Park in Japan is for you.

Or in the Netherlands there is this beauty ... a little hard to do your program, but great for stroking!

But I've got to say one of the most interesting to me is an ice rink in the Munich Airport. Yes, how many airports have an ice rink? Pretty cool if you have a looooong layover.

I'll ask again - are there any I'm missing?

November 19, 2014

What If Everyone Dressed Like A Figure Skater?

This article from Cosmopolitan magazine, courtesy of Craig Heath, shows just how much fun spandex and sequins can be for anyone for 24/7.

I love this quote from one of the three editors who donned figure skating dresses for the entire day, "I told a group of people who asked why we were dressed up that we'd just gotten back from Sochi. I think they believed me."

That seems a common notion, and maybe a sign of the decline of skating popularity, that when one thinks of figure skating, one thinks of the Olympics. Even though there's more to figure skating than that one event, that's all people equate it with today. Sigh.

All in all, it's a cute article I think.

One last note for the editor worrying about the tights. My suggestion - come over to showgirl land - and try fishnets instead!

November 10, 2014

Ice Show Gypsies Cruise Reunion 2016

I love the idea of calling us ice show gypsies! That means any show, any position - cast or crew, any family, anybody can attend! That also means there'll be a variety of shows, ages, nationalities and countries represented. Best of all - there'll be a lots of stories of costume malfuctions and prop interference to go around. Probably during the cocktail hour.

At the moment it seems to be heavy with HOI skaters (who were never heavy by the way), but maybe that will change as word spreads.

Go to the Facebook page here for details. Who wouldn't want to visit the Caribbean on a cruise ship?

Tell your fellow gypsies!

October 23, 2014

Operapop On Ice

I mentioned this on Ice Charades in August of 2013 and now I see it on Facebook.

Opera On Ice - starring Carolina Kostner looks like it changed to Operapop On Ice, but it still played in Verona, Italy. It's over. So you have to watch the highlight reel instead. It'll be worth it, I promise.

From the six-minute clip, you can see besides the high caliber skating, there is a lot of attention to the lights and props. This makes the choreography visually MUCH more interesting. Add in some opera singers and a violinist and Voilà, you have yourselves an ice show!

Too bad most of us can't make it to Verona, Italy. Any chance for touring dates?

October 16, 2014

Show Skaters get a shout-out

...from Jessie J no less!

Watching the video, filmed in an empty arena, you know it has to be from the cast of either Disney On Ice or Holiday On Ice. Since Adam Blake is the assistant choreographer at DOI, I'm guessing it's the former. No matter which, well done skaters.

You can see the clip from Jessie J's page promoting the new song "I Am Burning Up" or you can go to Adam Blake's Facebook page to see it there along with other videos Adam has done.

Be sure to scroll down a bit to see the full video promoted by @IceColdCombos on Adam's page, because they promise there will be more.

More please.

September 8, 2014

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

I was looking suitcases on-line and wanted to see what kinds of colors, fabrics and designs they have these days. Then I came across this one.

It doesn't say who the artist is, only that the "artistic paint print exterior" of this Neocover Lady Harvest 28-inch Hardside Spinner Upright Suitcase is brilliant.

You know which skater was brilliant?

This suitcase looks a lot like an image that Toller Cranston would paint. Maybe he did paint it but I think they would mention it if he did. They should mention the artist regardless.

And that got me to thinking ... Toller should get his paintings on a suitcase. How cool would that be? How about this?

Or this?

I bet a lot of skaters would pay for one of these suitcases. Makes sense for a show skater ... you can take the art with you on the road.

August 21, 2014

While We're Talking Dance

... how about "Skating at Your Fingertips" too!

Check out Ballet at Your Fingertips, posted on the New York Times.

Abbott Miller, Creative Director of 2WICE, describes it as "...somewhere between video and a game." Now, I challenge some creative skaters out there to set up an app where figure skating meets choreography. While skating is often more about setting up one jump passage to the next, there is still an artistic side to skating and this would definitely help skaters and fans get creative.

Can you think which skater you'd use?

July 25, 2014

So You Think You Can Skate?

This from the Facebook page of the legendary choreographer, the great Sarah Kawahara ...

Attention SKATING COMMUNITY! I spoke to Nigel Lythgoe tonight at So You Think You Can Dance and told him I have reached out to the skating community to participate in National Dance on ICE. He did a double take and looked me in the eye and said be sure everyone submits their videos to the Dizzy Feet Foundation NDD video submission. I got his attention so PLEASE SEND IN YOUR VIDEOS ASAP!!!! We might get on SYTYCD!!!
Also upload to YouTube and send me your link on my facebook page!!!

Okay, show skaters, you've received your marching orders.

June 17, 2014

The Sticker Book

Reposted from June 8, 2010! The only thing to update is this book seems more popular than ever. What a great way to make money for figure skating in the Olympic years ... what do you think?

2014 sticker book

In the archives of Axels, Loops, and Spins to I found a post by Aaron asking how to generate more money for the skating competitions. My idea doesn't speak to the networks airing or not airing skating, but rather a way to make money and generate interest in the competitions themselves.

Ladies and gentleman, may I introduce the official World Cup sticker book. I didn't know this, but the book has been around for generations. Okay, the cards may not have been self-adhesive back in the day, but the book's been around.

What happens is months before the World Cup, the book goes on sale in participating countries and it contains every country that made it in and their players. Plus there are cards for each stadium hosting games, the cup itself, team portraits, etc etc. The cards are sold separately in these little packages (like the baseball cards we used to buy as kids) and the goal is to collect a card for every player and stick it in the book.

These books are everywhere. Kids in school are trading the cards. Folks in the offices are trading cards. People brag that they have filled a book with the stickers of every player since 1968 or something like that. We even saw this in Panama ... a country that is not competing, hasn't made it to the World Cup, but loooooves soccer anyway.

It's pretty cool when your six-year old says, "Mom, did you know the goalie for Portugal is named Eduardo?" or a little embarrassing when she says, "Mom, why did you get so excited when I got a David Beckham card?"

So imagine the money the ISU could generate if they created a Grand Prix sticker book. (Granted, you have to know who the competitors are going to be well enough in advance.) But you could have all the competitions in one book, of course, some skaters are repeats, but you could learn who is skating where and what the other competitions would look like. Let's face it, most die-hard skating fans can't afford Skate USA, Skate Canada and the NHK Trohpy in Tokyo in one year, but they could follow along with the souvenir program of sorts.

I know there are more logistics I'm not taking into account, but help me out here guys, we could work with this ... what do you think?

June 11, 2014

Ice Skating Archive Open House!

It's June 19 - 21 and it will be fascinating for any skater or fan of ice skating. I promise.

Roy Blakey's
Mpls apartment is overflowing with some 26,000 + items and his looking for a good home for all of this. Read about it here in the New York Times.

If I were in the Twin Cities I would definitely go!

May 7, 2014


Eh, excuse me Ms. Ice Charades, what does this have to do with figure skating?

Just wait ... there is a connection. But first, for those followers who don't live in Europe and can't follow all the excitement, glitz, and politics that is the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest ... it's a little like American/British/ or any other country's Idol contest, meets Miss Universe, meets a fancy-schmancy EU cocktail party.

And Montenegro's song, "Moj Svijet", had a FIGURE SKATER!

Serbian figure skating champion Jovana Stanisavljević to be precise. She was on pic-frames or some other version of rollerblades and she was doing flips and pivots and spins. You go, Jovana! Luckily, Montenegro made it to the finals, so I'll get to see her skate again.

May 5, 2014

That Visor is soooo HOI 2009

You've probably been seeing this visor in the news lately.

And some are calling it the latest fashion trend since it has spurred on huge sales in Manhattan.

But hold on folks, HOI had this look going years ago.

But to be fair, I think we have to give credit for the original inspiration ... stormtroopers.

April 9, 2014

The Petition to Reject ISU President Cinquanta's Figure Skating Proposals for the 2014 ISU Congress

... is here.

Everyone in the skating community is talking about it and I signed the petition. One big reason, I like the short program. But the biggest reason is that a speed skater should not be calling the shots for figure skating. Think about it. Should hockey and curling be run by the same organization?

April 1, 2014

A Quick, Harmless April Fool's Day On Ice

It works for coaches or showgirls, depending on your set-up and whether you wear contacts. (If no one knows whether you wear contacts or not - you're good to go.)

Just pretend you lost a contact somewhere on the ice. "Maybe it's over here or maybe it was over there," you might say. Then when everyone is down on hands and knees looking for you contact, you stand up and say, "April Fool's Day!"

... you're welcome.

March 20, 2014

He Skates, He Dances, He Sings, He Acts

... that would be the quadruple threat. Very impressive and very appropriate for Elvis.

Here is Elvis Stojko starring as Billy Flynn in the play Chicago.

But he wouldn't be the first Olympic figure skater to do so. Robin Cousins was also a multi-talented threat who appeared on London's West End in Cats, Grease, Rocky Horror Picture Show and Chicago ... as Billy Flynn.

Hmmmmm, who's next?

March 7, 2014

No Figure Skating in Sochi

... anymore.

It's not a Paralympic sport. But I went and googled "paralympic" and "figure skating" and got this.

Inclusive Skating

They are hoping to become a part of the Paralympics in Pyeong Chang, South Korea in 2018.

I found this paragraph in the Global Project for Inclusive Skating tab to be of interest:

However, with the introduction and development of the new International Judging System (IJS) by the International Skating Union (ISU), the door has been opened for a radically new way to approach the sport of ice skating for challenged athletes. The IJS, for the first time, allows athletes to be evaluated on an “absolute” mark, something which can then be realistically adjusted by an internationally agreed impairment compensation reflecting the athlete’s specific disability. This impairment compensation is based on an internationally accepted system known as the Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, edited by Rondinelli and devised by the American Medical Association, that converts impairments to a % whole person impairment (WPI).

Well, maybe that at least one good thing to come out of the new judging system.

Let's keep an eye out for them. The more people involved in skating, the better. Don't you think?

February 19, 2014

Something Funny In The Judging

I originally posted this in May, but it felt right to bring it up again.

Yes, the Sochi Olympics don't start for 262 days are here!. I thought this was funny enough to mention now then. And I don't mean funny - haha, I mean funny - hmmmm.

When I was looking up the names of the adorable (freaky-evil if you ask me) mascots for the Sochi Olympics, I learned on Wikipedia that these furry little critters don't have names AND they were surrounded in a controversy of suspicious judging.

Wait a minute, Ice Charades, are you suggesting that there was something funny in the judging? In the Olympics?

Why, yes, yes I am. It's funny - hmmm.

You can read the wikipedia entry for the Sochi Olympic Mascots here. Then scroll down to the Controversy section to read this:
Despite the success of the mascot selection process, some accusations have been brought against the mascots. The possibility of telephone vote rigging was brought up when the mascot that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had said was his favorite, the snow leopard, polled the most votes in the voting process after a sharp climb in the number of votes.

... a sharp climb in the number of votes.

Well, let's just be glad that they haven't opened up the figure skating competition in Sochi to telephone voting.

February 14, 2014

Four Years Ago

... it was all Evan and Evgani, but to me, it was Johnny Weir who stole the show. Others thought so too. Remember the Facebook page - Johnny Weir was ROBBED! -?

He was fabulous!

Last night, for me it was Jeremy Abbott who made the night. Other skaters were fabulous, to be sure, but he showed us "the show must go on." If you haven't already, please go to Skate Guard for a recap of last night.

Here's to an exciting night of the Men's Free. Here's the lineup.

February 3, 2014

Olympic Question of the Day

There was a radio station in Washington DC that I would listen to and one day the DJ asked if you were forced to do one thing which would it be?

Giant Slalom down the mountain

Luge or Skeleton by yourself


Now I'm tweaking it and asking if you could master one skating move what would it be?

a quad toe loop

the most amazing scratch spin ever

double back flip on ice

So you tell me!

January 30, 2014

The Road to Sochi

I'm going to give you a few nuts-n-bolts links for Sochi.

Starting with the main site for Sochi 2014 Olympics.

For those that love their wikipedia, here's Sochi's.

As for dates: mark your calendar for Friday, February 7th for the Opening Ceremonies. But there is competition starting the day before including men's and pair's short program - TEAM Event.

Here's one handy tv schedule from the Guardian explaining the beginning days of competition. If you want to look at only skating schedules, here's one place to go.

If you're worried that they'll be problems at this Olympics, due to lack of snow, terrorism, pesky gay propoganda, go here, where Putin promises "no problems."

I will also be reposting some past Olympic blog items to get you in the Olympic spirit.

Starting with the Olympic Challenge from March, 2010 ...

So I went to the bulletin board to check out next week's schedule and saw the March calendar had a quiz at the bottom. Can you compete with the Lomas Verdes Skating Club challenge? Here you go ...

The Skaters:

Katarina Witt

Shizuka Arakawa

Jeanette Altweg

Katarina Witt

Teley Albright

Sonja Henjie

Dorothy Hamill

Kristi Yamaguchi

Barbara Ann Scott

Peggy Fleming

The Year That They Won:











I bet a lot of you readers out there don't even need the years listed, but I must say without process of elimination, I wouldn't be able to tell you what year Jeanette Altweg won. Good Luck!

January 28, 2014

Is Everyone Excited for Sochi?

Time to get back to posting ... it's my 400th by the way.

So much going on with the upcoming Olympics in general and figure skating in particular ... so I'm going to jump right in.

I've got to say, I didn't expect a major sponsor of the Games to be so bold.

Cheers to Coca-Cola!

Check out the ad here.