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A Holiday Tradition: Stars on Ice Kicks Off its Tour in Lake Placid, Review

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Stars on Ice, Lake Placid, Review

Stars on Ice Begins its Tour in Lake Placid

Kurt Browning. Photo by Christie SausaSince its inception in 1986, the Stars on Ice show has been a Thanksgiving tradition in Lake Placid. This year, the show was held a month later, in December.

“We had experienced some scheduling conflicts during the month of November and decided to give December a try, since we knew that Christmas week was one of the busiest weeks of the year in Lake Placid,” said Stars on Ice Producer Byron Allen.

This choice was an excellent one; over 5,000 people packed the 1980 Herb Brooks Arena to enjoy this year’s Stars on Ice, presented by Smuckers.

Kurt Browning was at the helm, choreographing the show, and his mark as both a skater and a choreographer was apparent. I have been a fan of Kurt since my first Stars on Ice show in the late 90s, so it was a treat to see him perform. My favorite number of his was “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz, a playful program which showcased his footwork and creativity.

A new addition to the show was US National Champion Ryan Bradley, who brought more exuberance and flamboyance to the show. One of his more energetic programs was to Kenny Loggin’s “Footloose,” in which he danced and jumped to the iconic song.

Stars on Ice presented by Smuckers also featured Kyoko Ina and John Zimmerman. Previously Zimmerman skated solo for a season before being joined again with Ina to skate pairs. They performed with their typical energy and athleticism–one of the highlights was their signature move, “Fly High and Say Goodbye,” in which Ina is thrown over Zimmerman’s head and is caught in a split second.

Kyoko Ina and John Zimmerman. Photo by Christie SausaRounding out the cast were favorites Sasha Cohen, Todd Eldredge, Ilia Kulik, Ekaterina Gordeeva, and Joannie Rochette, while new cast members included Bradley and ice dance siblings Sinead and John Kerr.

The theme of the transitions seemed to be “love.” In the first few sequences, the four male skaters were quartets singing Motown songs; in another, Ilia Kulik attempted to woo Joannie Rochette to the tune of “Love Machine.” Although not part of a central plot, the transitions added a fun contrast to the individual programs, as well as providing a segue between skaters.

Of course, this was the first show of the new tour, so there were bound to be slight glitches. In one group number, a near collision  occurred between two skaters. Some choreography also lacked the polish gleaned from performing several different shows, and a few of the transition numbers didn’t quite execute as smoothly as they could have. Still, it was an exciting event for the entire family, including skaters from several different generations.

Another bonus for the audience is unique to the Lake Placid show, namely the retakes. Since the show is taped for broadcasting, the audience is requested to stay in their seats, as the skaters “fix” their mistakes by redoing the botched part of the program. This is often the most intimate moment between the audience and fans, as particularly difficult elements can sometimes elude the skater, leading to a pep rally like atmosphere, giving the audience a chance to glimpse just how difficult figure skating really is.

With or without the glitches, the show is well worth seeing. The costumes are dazzling, the skaters are entertaining, and it’s a wonderful chance to see your favorite skaters up close and personal.

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Christie Sausa is a Contributor to The Free George. Photos by Christie Sausa.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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1 Comment for “A Holiday Tradition: Stars on Ice Kicks Off its Tour in Lake Placid, Review”

  1. bill demotte

    Thanks for the insight Christie. Sadly no SOI in Boston this year :(

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