All photographs by Marni Tyson Gallagher
I went to Ice Chips this past weekend–the annual club show from the Skating Club of Boston. This year’s show had a Broadway musical theme, lots of great skaters, and bedazzled costumes to spare! It was fun to watch.
The show featured musical guest star Jelani Remy, who has appeared on Broadway in The Lion King. Jelani sang several numbers in the show.
Artistic director Matthew Lind did a great job carrying the Broadway theme through the whole event. There was a nice flow to the show, with one number blending smoothly into the next. The production quality was also on a high level, with beautiful lighting and expensive-looking costumes that complemented the show theme. Kudos to show producer Timothy LeBlanc, lighting director Scott Clyve, costume chair Katharine Steeger, and the choreographers for some great work! (My only complaint, technically, was that the announcer was a bit hard to hear.)
The special guest star at this year’s Ice Chips was 2-time World champion Javier Fernandez. Javi skated 2 numbers in the show. His first program was to “Danny Boy.” I hadn’t seen this gala number before from Javi, and I loved it! It’s quite a different look than his usual entertaining, comedic programs. “Danny Boy” is the most elegant routine I’ve ever seen from Javi–it really shows off the more classic side of his skating, with long, sweeping edges and beautiful lines throughout. I was really impressed with his stretch and extension; it made all his moves so effective. One of the highlights was a gorgeous triple loop out of a spread eagle. He also landed a triple toe loop and did a beautiful Ina Bauer and sit spin. The audience loved this program, with many people standing afterward.
Javi’s second program was set to Carmen and had a bullfighter theme, with a red cape as a prop. True to Javi’s typical style, this was a tongue-in-cheek, comedic Carmen, with the bullfighter losing his cape and getting confused! It was a fun program, and Javi entertained the crowd with his amusing mimed moves. He landed a triple Salchow, triple toe loop, and then another triple toe loop straight into a lunge. His footwork to “Toreador Song” was effective, but could have had a bit more speed.
The Skating Club of Boston had great results at this year’s U.S. Nationals, with quite a few members competing and winning medals or good placements. Many of the Nationals skaters were featured soloists in the show, including headliners Castelli/Tran and Ross Miner.
U.S. silver medalists Marissa Castelli/Mervin Tran skated to the funky retro-dance song “Groove Is in the Heart” by Deee-Lite. Marissa/Mervin opened with a cool-looking split stationary lift and landed a nice throw triple Salchow. Also included was a complicated split lift with a carry section, and a great death spiral. Marissa/Mervin looked relaxed and in good form in this number. They had fun getting down with the music, and the choreography showed off their musicality. The program looked more polished than at the Nationals gala in January.
Ross Miner skated his “New York State of Mind” short program (this time sung by musical guest Jelani Remy, instead of Billy Joel). As usual, Ross showed off gorgeous, strong edges and great speed in his skating. In terms of the elements, he seemed a bit off his game Saturday night, doubling a triple Salchow and hesitating on the entrance of his split jump. The landing of his triple Lutz was a bit tight as well. However, Ross hit a nice double Axel, and his camel spins were terrific, with excellent stretch. This program is such a great match for Ross’s strong & simple style.
Maxim Naumov, U.S. novice men’s champion, recently moved to the Skating Club of Boston and appeared in the show. Maxim skated to the ever-popular “Feeling Good” by Michael Buble and landed a triple toe loop, triple Salchow, and double Axel. Maxim has great potential, and I enjoyed his program. Going forward, I’d love to see him get a little deeper into his knees and generate more speed and power.
U.S. junior ladies pewter medalist Emmy Ma skated a creative, sultry program to “Love on the Brain” by Rihanna. Emmy went with a relaxed look for this program–black camisole top, black pants, and red plaid shirt. The shirt also served as a prop; at one point, Emmy picked it up off the ice with her skate, throwing it in the air and catching it (to applause from the crowd!). Emmy showed off nice edgework and sinuous movement to this bluesy R&B song. Unfortunately her jumps were a bit off; she fell on her double Axel and a triple jump. But she did complete a beautifully smooth layback Biellman spin. Emmy has such an interesting combination of softness and strength in her skating.
Megan Wessenberg, who finished 14th in senior ladies at U.S. Nationals, skated to a cover of the Beatles’ Abbey Road medley (“The Weight”/”Golden Slumbers”). Megan always has great speed on the ice and nice, classic line. The program was appealing (although honestly, I would have preferred the original Beatles music). Megan fell on her opening double Axel, but landed a solid triple Salchow and triple toe loop. She also did a nice layback spin.
Analise Gonzalez, who finished 12th in novice ladies at U.S. Nationals, showed nice energy and animation in her number to a show tune. Analise landed a double flip and double Axel (hand down).
Many other SCOB club members skated shorter solo pieces, embedded within the group numbers. Gabriella Izzo (N.E. Sectionals, junior ladies) was lovely. She landed a double Axel and did a beautiful Ina Bauer.
Jasmine Lanata/Will Annis (N.E. Sectionals, juvenile dance) impressed with a fast, well-done rotational dance lift and crisp, sharp movement …Marietta Atkins (N.E. Sectionals, junior ladies) did a nice solo, with a double flip (fall) and single Axel.
Cate Fleming/Jedidiah Isbell (U.S. Nationals, intermediate pairs) continue to improve and showed nice flow and speed. They did a pretty overhead swan lift and a throw double loop … Jedidiah Isbell (N.E. Sectionals, intermediate men) also did a solo by himself and landed a double flip and Rippon double Lutz.
Cathryn Limketkai (N.E. Sectionals, juvenile ladies) skated an appealing number to “The Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow” and landed a double Axel (turnout) and double loop. She had nice line and presentation … Emilina Jarvis/Damian Jarvis (U.S. Nationals, Intermediate pairs) did 2 shoulder-level lifts.
Young pair Claire Fleming/Jack Liu (U.S. Nationals, juvenile pairs) looked improved, with more polished skating, and landed a throw single Axel in their cute number to a techno version of “Singin’ in the Rain” … Emilia Murdock (U.S. Nationals, Intermediate ladies) had only a brief solo (a bit disappointing, as I would have liked to see more of the U.S. Nationals intermediate silver medalist).
The heart of Ice Chips is always its group numbers, which feature all ages of club members, from Pre-Preliminary up through Adult. It’s always fun to watch all these routines, even (or especially!) those with the little kids, who are adorable. This year’s group numbers seemed very well put-together and choreographed, with the Broadway musical theme bringing a nice coherency. It was also great to see so many adult skaters on the ice, enjoying themselves and demonstrating their skills!
There were quite a few performances from synchronized skating and theatre on ice teams. Skating Club of Boston has a total of 6 synchro teams and 5 theatre on ice teams.
Synchro team Excel Senior, 2017 Eastern Sectional champions, put out a great program that was one of the highlights of the show. Skating to “Rise Up”/techno march music, Excel Senior had some very exciting moves in this program! They performed an impressive lift set that featured split air positions, with backflip dismounts. There was also a second set of lifts, upright death spirals, exciting pass-through moves, and beautiful spirals in the program. They were awesome!
Imagica of Boston, the club’s adult theatre on ice team, also skated an interesting program. The theme was the Monopoly board game (first sold by Parker Bros in 1935). The skaters wore big poodle skirt dresses for a 50s look, and used props related to the board game. It’s a really inventive idea for a program, and there were some great comic moments that brought laughs from the audience. My only question is the number of music cuts: There were so many songs that none really made much impression.
This year’s edition of Ice Chips was a fun night of skating! The Broadway musical theme was a great framework for the show, which attracted a good-sized crowd (larger than last year). Congratulations to Skating Club of Boston for continuing the 105-year-old tradition of Ice Chips! 🙂
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