Figure skating show debuts in Vail
Vail CO, Colorado
VAIL, Colorado ” A group of girls clad in rhinestone costumes clasps hands and glances nervously at one another.
They begin skating in circles to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” migrating from one side of the Dobson Ice Arena to the other.
This is ring-around-the-rosey, except with blades and breakneck speeds ” and it surely will make the audience “scream their head off,” 10-year-old Morgan Mueller predicts.
Once a source of terror for adolescent members of the Skating Club, the “traveling circle” has become a crowning move in “Ice: A Musical Journey.”
The musical is the 10th holiday show from the skating club.
Set to debut Thursday, it follows three girls after their graduation from the Regal Performing School of Arts. One graduate strikes out to star in “Dreamgirls” on Broadway, while a second wants to become a Vegas showgirl and the third pursues a career in rock ‘n’ roll.
More than 70 skaters ranging from 3-year-olds to adults will perform. Show director Dawn Ristow said the soundtrack is an eclectic mix of motown, oldies and pop.
“Grandparents will know the older songs, the Frank Sinatra, the old Vegas, all of it,” she said. “The young kids will know the ‘High School Musical’ and ‘Dreamgirls’ and ‘Hannah Montana,’ so I tried to make it a family show where any age can enjoy it.”
An energetic brunette some skaters call “coachy-pooh,” Ristow wrote the script with the movie “Dreamgirls” in mind. After spending months compiling a list of songs for the soundtrack, she sent them to a recording studio in Chicago, where a friend paired them with the voice of a professional narrator.
As the show took shape, community members pitched in with preparations. Dads swooped in to build the set, which includes a cardboard Volkswagen bug and 6-foot records. Meanwhile, moms glued thousands of rhinestones onto the costumes.
“It’s all about the glitz and the glamour ” the bling,” skate club President Jeanmarie Angarola explained.
For the performers, the show is like a homecoming. Some girls come from as far away as Florida to participate, while others, such as 19-year-old Mackensie Boris, of Edwards, will perform during a trip home from college.
To perfect the skating moves, girls used a buddy system. Ice veterans like 16-year-old Jenna Beairsto, who will perform a double axel in the show, served as a role model for the younger, less experienced girls. To learn dance moves, the girls sought help from a local dance instructor. And when it came to learning music history, they watched Elvis movies and the “Thriller” video.
“They appreciate the different types of music out there now,” Ristow said.
The Skating Club of Vail is a nonprofit organization with about 40 members who get together for social events and competitions. The annual holiday show draws hundreds of spectators. Past themes have included the “Wizard of Oz” and Disney princesses.
As for “Ice: A Musical Journey,” Ristow expects to sell out the roughly 700 seats available. She looks forward to seeing hours of rehearsals pan out.
“They put in all that hard work and sleepless nights, and I’m just really proud to see them skate well,” she said. “Whether they fall or they don’t, the kids do pull it together.”
But for Ristow, the show is about more than one night of bling. It’s about handing her love of skating down to a younger generation of girls.
“If I can give them the love of skating that I have and the passion, then I succeeded,” she said.