Last Sunday, I took a drive out to Boxborough, MA, to see Ice Crystals 2016, the annual club show of the Colonial Figure Skating Club. The special guest star for this year’s show was Grant Hochstein. I had my two 6-year-olds in tow for this event (fun, but distracting). So, like last year, I’m just going to do some quick notes on the show, as opposed to a full review.
Ice Crystals is not as well-known as the Skating Club of Boston’s annual show, Ice Chips. However, it’s quite a nice (and big) show in its own right. This year’s show was not widely publicized in the Boston area, but there was nonetheless a good-sized crowd at Nashoba Valley Olympia rink, where the show was held.
The theme of this year’s edition was “Urban Ice.” All the group numbers had a “city” theme of some sort, with many referencing New York City and its famous Broadway musicals. Codirectors Sheryl Frank and Chad Brennan and their choreographic team did a great job with the group numbers. The costumes, props, and sets were well-chosen and of good quality, and the skaters seemed well-rehearsed. (I didn’t see many mistakes!)
Standout group numbers included “Models of New York,” which featured the club’s Juvenile girls vamping it up in a fashion-inspired routine. Another highlight was “Chicago Fosse Girls,” in which the Intermediate girls performed some showy, high-kicking, intricate choreography to the Chicago soundtrack.
The club’s senior competitors (Seniors & Friends) did an edgy group number to “Boom Boom Guetta” by The Black-Eyed Peas, which they choreographed themselves. This program, performed under dark lighting, featured a lot of cool urban dance moves. And Colonial’s theatre on ice group (Broadway Blades Theatre on Ice) skated an enjoyable Les Miserables program, which included some dance lifts and interesting group choreography. The program was dramatic, and I thought the team skated with good speed throughout.
There were also many soloists in the show. One of the better-known was 22-year-old Aimee Buchanan, who competes for Israel and skated at this year’s European Championships. Aimee put out a nice program to Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.” Her routine included some good spirals and a gorgeous layback Biellmann spin. Aimee landed a solid 3S/2T combo, 2A, and 2S. She skates with nice, deep edges and good power.
Jamiesen Cyr skated to a Middle Eastern-themed program and landed a 2A (turnout), 2S, and 2Lz. Jamiesen competed at New England Sectionals last fall, placing 12th in Intermediate Ladies.
Iris Zhao, the 2014 National Juvenile ladies champion, skated a lovely, lyrical program to “Amazing Grace.” Iris has wonderful flow and speed in her skating and went for a double Axel (turnout). She placed 11th in Novice Ladies at New England Sectionals last fall.
Among the younger soloists, the most interesting was 10-year-old Tiffany Lu. Tiffany won the Juvenile Ladies division at New England Regionals last fall and placed 8th at Eastern Sectionals. She landed a slew of double jumps in her program, also performing a one-handed Biellmann spin. What stood out most, though, was her performance quality. Tiffany skates with great polish and musicality for her age, really finishing off her moves very nicely, despite being so young! She also projects very well to the audience. She was a delight to watch, and I look forward to seeing how her skating develops. (For those interested, here is Tiffany’s free skate at New Englands last fall.)
Ryan van Doren skated a very nice program to “Demons” by Imagine Dragon (the same song Mirai Nagasu used for her short program this year). Ryan is 17 and made it to U.S. Nationals last season, where he placed 11th in Novice Men. This young man reminds me a bit of Jason Brown! Not only does he have a ponytail like Jason, he also shares some of Jason’s unusual flexibility and elegance. Ryan landed 2 triples and a double Axel in his program.
Of course, the standout performances of the show came from special guest star Grant Hochstein. What a year it’s been for Grant–winning the pewter medal at Nationals, placing top 10 at Worlds, getting engaged to Caroline Zhang! At 25, Grant has truly come into his own.
It was wonderful to see him skate in the small, informal setting of the Boxborough rink. At times, Grant was just a few feet from where I stood—and the close vantage point made me appreciate his skating more than ever. Grant skates with a lot of speed, covering the ice really well. And he has such beautiful line. Every move is stretched and extended to the maximum through his arms, shoulders, back. His skating is very classic and pure in style.
Grant’s first number was to “Time of My Life” by David Cook. This inspiring song suits Grant’s style perfectly. He started with a very big Salchow jump—it looked like a quad, but I couldn’t tell for sure from my angle. Grant also landed another triple jump and performed a stunningly fast combo spin in this number (honestly, one of the fastest spins I’ve ever seen). It was a beautiful program.
Grant skated his second routine to “Never Stop” by SafetySuit. This program was choreographed in honor of his engagement to Caroline (“I’ll never stop trying/I’ll never stop choosing you/I’ll never get used to you”). Grant landed a triple Salchow, triple toe, and double Axel, and skated beautifully throughout this romantic number. I loved it (and so did the crowd). I was really happy that Grant did two numbers in the show; one would not have been enough!!!
Altogether, this year’s Ice Crystals was a fun show to watch. The directors chose well with their guest star, and the whole show was very well-produced. I’m glad I was close enough to attend! 🙂