An Icy Stage

annual figure skating show goes theatrical

Katy Macek, photos by Andrea Paulseth

ON THE CUTTING EDGE. The Eau Claire Figure Skating Club’s annual Ice Show features young performers of a wide range of ages. This year’s show runs April 10-12 at Hobbs Ice Center in Eau Claire.
ON THE CUTTING EDGE. The Eau Claire Figure Skating Club’s annual Ice Show features
young performers of a wide range of ages. This year’s show runs April 10-12 at Hobbs
Ice Center in Eau Claire.

The Eau Claire Figure Skating Club invites everyone to “Come Sail Away” with its 36th Annual Ice Show April 10-12 in Hobbs Ice Center. This year’s theme is sure to warm up the audience, even in the icy arena.

Nancy Girst has been coaching skate teams for the Eau Claire Figure Skating Club since 1981 and is also a board member. She said what makes the ice show different than other performances throughout the year is its focus on the whole group (rather than individuals) as well as its theatrical aspects.

“It’s kind of like putting on a play,” Girst said. “For most of the year the skaters are involved in competitions and skating is generally an individual sport … So the show is the time where the kids can get together.”

“They’re so graceful and there’s so much artistry to it. Yet they’re fast and they’re strong.”– Jenny Robbins, Eau Claire Figure Skating Club board member, on the young skaters’ talents

Each of the three groups of skaters, ranging from beginners in the Learn-to-Skate program and then junior and senior skaters, do two performances. In addition, most of the coaches do a number, a whole club performance opens and closes the evening, and there are several individual performances.

This year’s theme is “Come Sail Away,” so many of the pieces are related to the beach or travel, and while individual performers don’t have to follow the theme, Girst said most do. “It’s kind of a nice theme because we can kind of do a few different things,” she said. “It’s not really strict.”

For this year’s performance, Girst said they have collaborated with the Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild and will be having a cast member sing a song from the troupe’s upcoming production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. While he is singing, a group of the skaters will do a synchronized performance on the ice. Girst said this is beneficial for both the club and the CVTG. “We’re going to one of their events and doing some advertising, and then we’re also going to be doing the same for them at our show,” she said. 

Steve Southworth, president of the Eau Claire Figure Skating Club, said the ice show is sort of an “end of the year celebration” for the club. It allows the skaters to showcase what they’ve worked on, but it’s also something they try to make entertaining for everyone, club members and the audience alike.

Jenny Robbins, a board member, said her daughter has been skating with the club for four years now and both of them really enjoy the ice show because of its relaxed atmosphere. “The really nice thing about this show is it’s the one time of year where they can showcase their talents in a non-competitive way,” Robbins said.

The first time she watched the show, Robbins said she was impressed with how talented the skaters were, and she said she’s really looking forward to seeing it all come together. “They’re so graceful and there’s so much artistry to it,” she said. “Yet they’re fast and they’re strong.”

Eau Claire Figure Skating Club’s 36th Annual Ice Show • Friday, April 10, and Saturday, April 11, 7pm; Sunday, April 12, 2pm • Hobbs Ice Arena, 915 Menomonie St., Eau Claire • $8 adults, $6 students • ecfigureskate.org

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