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  1. #1
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    An alternative to competitive skating?

    I am guessing that almost every skater that is with companies such as Disney or Holiday on Ice started out as a competitive skater.

    Maybe I am not phrasing this very well, but instead of beating their bodies into oblivion in competition after competition, do schools exist that allow skaters to hone their performance skills with a view to auditioning?. Wouldn't it be great if Disney set up talent schools from the outset that allowed skaters to train from day one and join them when they are ready.

    Is this something that the Ice Theatre of New York do?

    Also, watching artists like Abbot and Czisny struggle in competition after competition, I would love to see tours like ballet companies that train and accept skaters that may not have the big titles, but the charisma to sell tickets.
    Last edited by essence_of_soy; 01-30-2013 at 12:05 PM.

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    I thought a skater like Jana Khoklova started in an ice theatre and then moved into being a competitive skater.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    We have some skaters at our rink who only do tests, not competitions. A few of them would like to audition for Disney.

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    In the US at least, most skaters train in local rinks, with private coaches. They don't all compete or focus on competing.

    There are some coaches who focus more on basic skating and performance than on jumps, for example. They may have experience in show skating themselves. Those would be good coaches for a skater who is more interested in show skating -- and maybe showcase-style competitions -- than on standard competition.

    Some rinks/clubs have a Theatre on Ice team or other program that focuses on developing those kinds of skills in a group setting, so that's probably closest to what you're thinking of. They might host an elaborate club show (or several) each year in addition to or instead of hosting a club competition.

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    I've known a couple skaters who went into Disney on Ice, and while they competed, they weren't exactly beating themselves up to do it--they tested, they weren't campaigned for World and Olys teams, they both got into theater on ice type stuff, they tested, and decided they wanted to try for the ice shows.

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    Actually Katherine Healy is probably the most famous example of a skater who never really went into competition but became professional at a very young age.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    I skated for Disney.. and there were quite a few skaters who weren't competitive. Mostly males though, because they're harder to come by I guess.

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    In addition to Theater on Ice, USFS has the National Showcase and many clubs have recitals and with ISI/USFS you can choose to do artistic programs including the one where skaters hear the music several times, work out a routine and then do it without anyone helping. I have heard of skaters in ice shows who weren't super competitive - they send in audition videos and some tour the world depending on where they are selected to go. They aren't looking for triples - they are looking for a certain look and compatibility with the cast.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    Actually Katherine Healy is probably the most famous example of a skater who never really went into competition but became professional at a very young age.
    I don't think that would happen now. She went pro because you couldn't accept any money for any skating and stay amateur, so by skating in shows she lost her amateur status. Yes, it was a choice- but she didn't have the option to do shows and competitions in her time. Now skaters can earn money for their skating and stay eligible. (Besides the show/pro circuit just doesn't exist anymore.)

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    When i was training and competing in my teens, my goal was actually to be a show skater. Starting at 12 i knew there was little hope of ever being competitive, however, show skating seemed within possibilities. My coaches really appreciated that I had a realistic goal also.

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    There used to be coaches who trained skaters specifically for shows like Ice Capades and Holiday on Ice. They focused on tricks such as butterflies, arabians, split jumps, illusions, cantilevers and flying spins. They did not teach figures. I don't know if you could find one in this day and age as I think live entertainment in general is a dying art.

    My understanding is that you have to audition for shows like Disney and that your test and competition record has no bearing on being accepted. Sarah Kawahara and Rory Flack headlined Ice Capades for many years and they were not world class competitors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aliceanne View Post

    My understanding is that you have to audition for shows like Disney and that your test and competition record has no bearing on being accepted. Sarah Kawahara and Rory Flack headlined Ice Capades for many years and they were not world class competitors.
    I knew two people who auditioned for and made it into Disney on Ice (IIRC they wound up on different tours.) Disney wanted a resume and video in advance, and I'm sure considered everything including test levels, and they also required an in-person audition. IIRC, they wanted solid doubles, so having done the freestyle tests would certainly help, though I'm sure even if you'd passed the test if you flubbed the jumps at the auditions you wouldn't make it unless you had sensational presentation skills.

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    The Disney on Ice website actually says "You must be at the junior/senior level", so they clearly want to see tests.

    I did have a friend who got a call back audition and she only has her Novice free (but senior MITF), so it is possible they aren't hard and fast test requirements.

  14. #14

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    It would be hard to get performing experience without competing, and even artistic competition requires testing.

    To be the equivalent of junior or senior level would require some serious practice time and coaching.

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    I remember the "Sports Illustrated" article on Dorothy when she owned the outfit that performed Cinderella. I was not able to see it but the props and costumes looked lovely and I think the idea was the story coupled with ballet on ice. I think Alissa would be spectacular at something like this. I hope she is not through competing but I would pay to see something more geared to a story/ballet.

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