Amateurs and veterans spin cinematic tales in ice show

The Figure Skating Club put on its annual Figure Skating Show last weekend, presenting “From Screen to … ICE!!!” at the Lansing Chapman rink on Friday. Lasting about an hour, the performance attracted a variety of students and faculty and provided a show that was mostly digestible for all ages.

The show invites skaters with any level of experience to perform, so the audience had to adapt its expectations for each act. There were several brilliant skaters in the show, but among them, there were others who quite literally fell flat. Despite wildly varying ability, the audience was incredibly enthusiastic and rowdy for what was an otherwise low-key event.

The skaters first took the ice to perform “The Hobbits.” The full ensemble skated out, dressed in varying shades of what one can only presume was supposed to be “hobbit” green. The burden of pushing the opening number along fell heavily on the group’s more experienced members, as some of the pulsating lines of hobbits were less than pristine. However, the audience again responded enthusiastically, and most of the hobbits proved capable of the admittedly difficult task of remaining upright for the entirety of the song.

Another highlight was a performance of the Grease classic, “You’re the One that I Want,” performed by Maksym Kolenov ’16 and Olivia Wang ’14 and choreographed by Joy Jing ’13. Kolenov and Wang captured the sensual and sassy essence of Grease and brought a palpable teenage sexual tension to the song that spiced up the night. The performance was juxtaposed by a peaceful trio performing the classic Sound of Music number, “My Favorite Things,” choreographed by Elizabeth Jacobsen ’16.

The audience was in for a treat whenever Jing teamed up with some of the squad’s more talented skaters. One such performance was set to “Popular” from Wicked, with Jing and Michelle Wise ’13. Jing and Wise really raised the skill level, keeping the energy of the performance high with impeccably executed spins and jumps. Katie Ritter ’16 followed their performance with a fantastic self-choreographed rendition of “Something’s Coming” from West Side Story. Ritter raised the bar with a crisp and skillful performance with inspirational speed and execution.

Unfortunately, stellar performances like Jing’s and Ritter’s were interspersed with less successful attempts to mimic their artistry. In a few regrettable performances, the skaters publicly struggled to execute even the simplest of moves, choosing to waddle back and forth in ridiculous costumes in an effort to engage the audience. Some of the performances extended into the nebulous realm of ice dancing, putting even greater pressure on the stars of the show to keep the performance afloat.

However, there was still room for several performers to show off their skills. “Pirates of the Caribbean,” performed by Jacobsen, gave the audience what the title of the night’s show promised. Her performance put a new spin on the Jolly Roger classic, with skillfully executed combinations breathing new life into the jaunts of familiar characters. Similarly, “All That Jazz” from the musical Chicago, performed by the duo of Jing and Ritter, electrified the rink. Jing and Ritter spun and twirled across the ice with great precision and impeccable synchronization. The result was a spunky and delightful take on the sultry song.

Another great Chicago tune, “Cell Block Tango,” featured four of the most talented skaters in Bethanny Berry ’16, Claire Leyden ’16, Jing and Ritter. This song was again forced to break up some of the less eloquent performances of the night, but the opportunity to see four confident and committed skaters on the ice made the act one of the best of the night.

While the audience expected a performance of “Seasons of Love” near the end of the show, they were instead surprised with what appeared to be an unplanned program change. A performance from special guest Henry O’Connor to the song “Natural” gave the crowd a real treat, as his gutsy performance spiced up some of the night’s more predictable performances. O’Connor brought a previously lacking punk rock element to the night, and reports from the crowd indicated that he had skated so fervently that he managed to rip his pants. Fans were also heard remarking, “The ice is going to melt,” as O’Connor tore up the rink.

The entire cast then plodded back onto the ice for the final act, “007: Secret Agent,” a medley from the James Bond movies. While slightly more coordinated than the opening act, most of the skaters arranged themselves in lines and pushed slowly across the rink as the iconic music of James Bond played in the background.

While “From Screen to … ICE!!!” provided a fun event for students and families alike, it was ultimately hindered by a lack of cohesion among the performers and their skill levels. The audience, however, proved extremely invested in the acts, despite their unpredictable and widely varying quality.

  • Lily An

    First off, I like how she describes us as “mostly digestible.” Did anyone actually read this before it was posted for tone? I am fully aware that this is a review, but I do not believe, after reading this article, that the author truly understands what Figure Skating Club is, and what our performance was supposed to be.

    We are most definitely NOT a group that intends to produce a professional level ice show, and should not be judged as such, which is how this articles comes off. Our members did a great job — especially considering that many of us had never skated before, and that we only got a limited amount of ice time over Winter Study and the beginning of second semester to rehearse. Therefore, describing some of the performers as “waddling back and forth” and “publicly struggling to execute even the simplest of moves” is unnecessarily and pointedly rude, and although she recognizes that certain members were extremely talented on the ice, she describes the not-super-amazing performances (which yes, there are many when people come from all levels of experience) as “regrettable.” This is an unfair judgement on what was intended to be an entertaining night for both the audience members and the skaters, some of whom were performing in front of an audience for the first time. Additionally, saying that the good performances were “forced to break up” the line of amateur ones undercuts the value of the both types of performers.

    I understand that this is a review of our show, and that I am not unbiased (I admit to being very proud of everyone who came all the way out to the rink every night for two hours leading up to it). However, none of the other articles under the “Arts” section have such hurtful negativity interlaced throughout their reviews. I appreciate the author’s feedback on our performance, apologize if she didn’t have as great a time as she expected to have, but would prefer if this review sensitively recognized the time, effort, and courage of our skaters who not only got out on the ice but picked themselves up when they “literally fell flat.”

  • Mike Oxbig

    “While “From Screen to … ICE!!!” provided a fun event for students and families alike, it was ultimately hindered by a lack of cohesion among the performers and their skill levels. The audience, however, proved extremely invested in the acts, despite their unpredictable and widely varying quality.”

    “the audience was incredibly enthusiastic and rowdy for what was an otherwise low-key event.”

    “the audience again responded enthusiastically”

    Hmmm…. I feel as if the article is constantly praising the audience for its resilience and enthusiasm while simultaneously disparaging the performers.

    If I had to guess, I would say that you were forced to go to the event and didn’t want to be there. It seems as if you felt the need to praise yourself (and the rest of the audience) for attending, almost as if you did a good deed by going and writing an article about it. At the same time, you put down the figure skating club as a way of showing that you were butthurt you had to attend.

    Sounds like you are a little bit mad.