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Students and alumna prepare for figure skating show

December 13, 2007

Junior Julie Erickson has been figure skating for as long as she can remember, and she has been competing competitively since she was in the fifth grade.

Erickson, from Plymouth, Minn., has also been coaching at the Hunt Arena Skating School (HASS).

Now Erickson, along with three other UW-River Falls students and one former student, are working together to put on the annual skating show.

Leah Flanagan, a 2006 UWRF graduate, is working with Erickson and students Eric Pringle, Katie Bauer and Stacy Asp to put the show together.

This year the show is entitled, “American Idol on Ice.” Each routine will be skated to a song that was either on an “American Idol” show or from a CD. 

In the past few years there have been other themes such as Broadway, Holidays on Ice and Disney, Erickson said.

“This is an event that we have been doing annually for seven years,” Flanagan said. “It is an absolute blast for all the skaters involved in the skating school because it gives them a chance to show off their skills in front of their friends and family.”

The show will showcase members of the school from skaters as young as four years old to adults. Also, the five coaches will be skating their own routine at the end of the show.

Erickson said that one of the hardest parts of putting the show together is choreographing three routines.

“We have to come up with a variety of moves for all ages,” she said.

She also said it was difficult to get everything into the practices that are scheduled each week. Coaches worked on their routine at 6 a.m. on Thursdays; while practices with the skaters are Sundays from 4:30 to 8 p.m. and Mondays from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

Putting the show together takes hours of behind the scenes work that the audience may not realize.

“We usually start brainstorming themes for the next show the minute we finish a show. We start putting hard work into it as soon as our fall session starts in October,” Flanagan said. “As far as music selection, costume design, choreography for programs, practice, prop-making and script writing, these are our most time consuming ingredients that takes months to prepare. Our coaching staff does a great job of getting these things done as efficiently as possible.”

Skaters from the school will showcase their skills and a few skaters from the area will take part as well.

“We have a synchronized skating duo from Cottage Grove,” Erickson said.

The coaches get great satisfaction from watching their skaters succeed on the day of the show.

“[I love] seeing the excitement on the skaters faces the day of the show, watching the proud parents smiling in the audience, and most of all knowing that all of our hard work brings these wonderful moments of glory,” Flanagan said.

The show will be at 3 p.m. Dec. 16 at Hunt Arena.