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Local skaters showcase talent

December 10, 2009

Students and coaches who are part of the Hunt Arena Skating School (HASS) will be performing in the school’s annual ice show Saturday, Dec. 19, at 5 p.m. in Hunt Arena on the UW-River Falls campus.

This year’s theme is “Billboard Top 20,” and audience members can expect to hear mostly upbeat music as skaters perform to some of their favorite songs. The show is styled after a radio program, right down to a “long-distance phone call,” as this year’s guest skater, Kayla Johnson, is showcased. A senior (the highest possible) level skater, Johnson is a freshman at Northwestern College in Roseville, Minn.

The HASS skaters each wrote their top three favorite songs on a piece of paper and the coaches’ selection of music for the programs went from there.

“We kind of just picked out the songs that would fit the personality of the people who were skating, so the groups that we made we kind of fit the song to their personality and their skating abilities,” Katie Bauer, a HASS coach and UWRF senior who is majoring in animal science, said. Bauer coaches along with four other UWRF students: Alyssa Smith, Eric Pringle, Christina Harstad and Stacy Asp.

“The audience is going to look at the songs in a different way. People listen to songs, but I think this gives a fun feel to it, when you can dance to a song and there are costumes, it makes it more meaningful,” Bauer added.

Preparation for the ice show began in October, which means those involved have had only three months to pull together every detail, right down to the sequins on the costumes.

“We have to think of all the different groups we are going to have,” HASS Director Leah Flanagan said. “[We have to plan] all the music, all the ice times and the coaching numbers and the costumes—basically everything you can think of. It’s very, very busy.”

Bauer said she agrees that much planning goes into pulling off a show of its caliber.

“A lot of time goes into the ice show, and a lot of creative ideas,” she said. “In order for an ice show to be really good, you have to have creative ideas so that people are interested in it. A lot of teamwork [is necessary] between the coaches because one person can’t do it [on their own]. It has to be all the coaches together.”

But it’s not all work and no play. Emily Cox is a senior at River Falls High School who plans to attend UW-Eau Claire next fall. She is a Freestyle 5 level skater, and with the schedule of a high school senior, she said she enjoys the time she can spend on the ice.

“It’s super fun and we all have a good time,” Cox said. “I know one of my teachers went last year and she really liked it