Our local communities will be well represented when the Ice Theater of Seattle heads south next week to bring Alice, the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts and the rest of the Alice in Wonderland cast of characters to compete in the 2017 National Showcase in Santa Rosa, California.
“We’ve been practicing since January for this,” said team manager and Lynnwood resident Joy Chaudiere, whose day job is teaching kindergarten at Edmonds’ Chase Lake School. “Our team is comprised of 18 skaters from the surrounding communities ranging in age from 8 to 60. It’s our eighth season competing in the showcase, and while the competition is stiff, we’re bringing a great show and have high hopes of bringing home the trophy.”
Coached by 1988 Olympic figure skaters Paul Askham and Sharon Jones Baker, the team gets the benefit of their experience and skill in international competition.
For those accustomed to Olympic skating competitions, prepare yourselves for something different. Instead of concentrating exclusively on specific moves, maneuvers and routines with points assigned to each, the National Showcase adds drama, music, acting and theater to the mix with a heavy focus on fun and entertainment.
“For our skaters, this is a way to follow their passion and have genuine fun doing it,” added Chaudiere. “Many actually see it as a break from the intensive routine of competitive skating.”
The smiles on the team members’ faces and the outpouring of honest joy and exuberance as they held their final practice on Thursday were a testament to that. Alice chased the clock-carrying rabbit all over the ice, and Mad Hatter’s tea and unbirthday party were unabashed madcap mayhem, combining skilled, choreographed skating maneuvers with theatrical face, arm and body movements.
Ice Theater of Seattle is a family affair for Edmonds’ Lori and Brian Kormanyos and their three children. “I play the part of a court jester in the show, and my husband Brian is one of the playing cards,” she said. “And our three kids play the rabbit, the Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter. We can’t wait to leave for Santa Rosa and get out on the ice with our show!”
Hosted by the Santa Rosa Figure Skating Club and held at “Snoopy’s Home Ice,” the Redwood Empire Ice Arena, the event runs Aug. 9-13. The Redwood Arena was first opened in 1968 by Peanuts creator Charles M. Shultz as a place where he could exercise his passion for ice skating.
Interested in knowing more or maybe even joining the group? “We start a new season every September,” said Chaudiere, “and we love to welcome new members who love to skate, laugh, and have fun.”
–Story and photos by Larry Vogel