Archive | August, 2013

Champs Camp Experience

30 Aug

U.S. Figure Skating recently concluded its first two Charitybuzz auctions, and Stan Kimer, along with his mother, Fran, were the first winners to enjoy their U.S. Figure Skating experience. Kimer won the auction to ‘Train like a member of Team USA’ and attend U.S. Figure Skating’s Champs Camp. Special guests at what is usually a closed event, the Kimers spent three days in Colorado Springs and were able to meet all of their favorite members of Team USA. They were also treated to the debut of each skater’s programs for the Olympic season. Stan and Fran spent one night at the Olympic Training Center and two nights at the glamorous Broadmoor Resort. Stan was gracious enough to share some photos from his experience which can be seen below.

“I think my favorite part was meeting the skaters close up, getting to say ‘hi’ to them, complimenting them on their skating and giving them some encouragement. I told them that I hope they have great seasons. I’m cheering them on and I think that’s important.” – Stan Kimer

Stay tuned for more unique, one-of-a-kind U.S. Figure Skating experiences put up for auction on Charitybuzz!

Vote for Aerial Ice on America’s Got Talent!

13 Aug

Tonight on America’s Got Talent, the fourth week of competition took place at Radio City Music Hall where Aerial Ice took the stage for their first live performance. Skating to “No Light, No Light” by Florence + The Machine, the troupe performed several breathtaking lifts while aerialists Angela Kim and Joel Dear soared above the synthetic ice on strips of white silk, all with the hope that tonight’s viewer votes will send them to the semi-finals.

“I am really pleased,” judge Howard Stern said following the performance. “This is so wonderful. You did exactly what I wanted you to do. As good as you were the first time we saw you, you always have to step it up and you delivered. Fantastic, wonderful job.”

Phone lines are open now! Vote for Aerial Ice and tune in to the America’s Got Talent results show tomorrow night at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.

To vote for Aerial Ice:

By phone:

Call 1-866-60-AGT-10 (1-866-602-4810), toll free. You may only vote up to 10 times per originating telephone number. Any calls made after your 10th call will NOT be counted, regardless of the fact that the audio message will still thank you for your vote.

By AT&T SMS/Text Messaging:

Send the keyword VOTE to 4810.

Please note in order to text vote, you must:
– Provide your own wireless device capable of 2-way messaging and
– Be an AT&T wireless service subscriber with text messaging service.

Online:

Log on to NBC.com, follow the links to vote and enter the registration details. To register, you will need to provide your email address, confirm you are 13 years of age or older and confirm your acceptance of the terms and conditions. After you have registered, enter your vote choice, Aerial Ice, where prompted. You may vote up to 10 times per email address during the active online vote window. Any vote attempts above 10 per email address will not be counted.

On Twitter:

Tweet #VoteAGT Aerial Ice

“What’s Your Destination?” Photo Contest

13 Aug

Last week U.S. Figure Skating invited its followers to share their goals and aspirations through “What’s Your Destination,” an interactive aspect of Destination Sochi.

This week, we invite you to share your on-ice experiences for a chance to win this week’s prize – an autographed photo of a U.S. champion.

Instructions:

  1. Head to your local ice rink or start looking through your favorite photos.
  2. Snap or choose a photo of yourself on the ice.
  3. Upload and share your photo with us in one of the following ways:

a)      Tweet it – Don’t forget to tag us @USFigureSkating and use the hashtag #WhatsYourDestination

b)      Share it on Facebook – Drag and drop your photo into the comments section of the link to this blog post. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #WhatsYourDestination!

c)       Email your photo to socialmedia@usfigureskating.org with the subject line #WhatsYourDestination?

The winner will be announced next week.

Every journey starts with a single step and U.S. Figure Skating wishes you the best, whatever your destination may be.

Stay tuned for more contests, read Ross Miner’s blog, and support Team USA through Destination Sochi! For more information, visit www.destinationsochi.org.

Watch Aerial Ice perform LIVE on tonight’s episode of America’s Got Talent!

13 Aug

On this season of NBC’s America’s Got Talent, judges and audience members alike are treated to performances by the show’s first-ever ice skating act, a troupe known as Aerial Ice.

Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

L-R: Kim Navarro, Brent Bommentre, Tosha Hanford, Chris Trefil, Angela Kim and Joel Deer of Aerial Ice. Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

The group, comprised of pairs skaters Tosha Hanford and Chris Trefil, aerialist Angela Kim, ice dancer-turned-aerialist Joel Dear and two-time U.S. ice dancing bronze medalists Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre, was unanimously sent through the audition, advanced directly through the Las Vegas elimination round and will perform live for viewer votes for the first time on tonight’s episode from Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

The skaters, who have worked together in various ice shows for several years, were assembled by Jill Schultz, executive director of Woodstock Ice Productions and daughter of “Peanuts” cartoonist Charles Schulz. Their performances, which are executed on synthetic ice, include breathtaking lifts, aerial arts and adagio movements to create an act the show’s judges and viewers hadn’t seen in any of its eight seasons.

“With the nature of live television, I knew there was no way we could do this on real ice because of the time constraints,” Schultz said. “We’ve also never seen an aerial ice skating act, so we decided to add that component in to make things even more exciting. We’re going to skate on plastic ice, we’re going to fly people in the air and we’re going to have pairs skaters throwing each other around – all things that have never been done together. We thought, let’s just see what happens. We’re all so excited because we’ve been so well received by the figure skating community, which is a really good feeling.”

“Another thing that’s been challenging for these guys is that figure skaters typically work on one routine and then perform that same routine all year,” Schultz continued. “These guys put their routines together in three days. When they performed their first round in Los Angeles, we had rehearsed in a warehouse space. They put the ice down in 20 minutes and they had to go out and perform having never done it on the stage before. When we get to New York, they’ll get to practice a few times on the actual stage and then it’ll be time to go. I don’t think any of them have had any experience with a schedule like this.”

Watch Aerial Ice perform live on tonight’s episode at 9 p.m. ET on NBC and vote to keep them in the competition! Don’t forget to follow them on Twitter @AerialIce and like them on Facebook at facebook.com/AerialIce.

What’s Your Destination?

9 Aug

Earlier this week, U.S. Figure Skating launched ‘What’s Your Destination?’, an interactive aspect of Destination Sochi. What’s Your Destination is designed to give fans the ability to follow their favorite athletes achieve their ultimate goal of making the Olympic Team while achieving their own goals along the way.

U.S. Figure Skating asked ‘What’s Your Destination?’ on Monday and here are the responses.

Facebook Responses

Twitter Responses

We truly wish you the best on all of your goals and hope to encourage you along the way!

If you participated, by posting your goal on Facebook or Twitter, email socialmedia@usfigureskating.org and the first 10 people to email their address will win a free Destination Sochi pin!

Stay tuned for more contests, read Ross Miner’s blog, and support Team USA through Destination Sochi!

Freedom of Expression Abounds at National Showcase

2 Aug

By Troy Schwindt

As chair of U.S. Figure Skating’s Theatrical Committee, Roland Bessette gets to mix business and pleasure. His business is making sure events such as the National Theatre On Ice Competition and National Showcase run as smoothly as possible. The pleasure he receives comes from watching the faces of the skaters light up when they compete.

Bessette, who hails from the Boston area, is leading the charge this weekend at National Showcase in Hyannis, Mass., where 226 skaters and 57 teams (473 starts) are displaying their theatrical skating talents for judges, friends and family to enjoy.

The top performers from the preliminary rounds on Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning will compete on Saturday afternoon in the Parade of Champions. The event is being held at the Hyannis Youth and Community Center, with the Bourne Skating Club serving has the host organization.

“It’s fun and one place where people really go out and enjoy themselves,” Bessette said of National Showcase. “The competition stress is very different for this; there really isn’t any. Skaters are out there enjoying it, they are having fun and it’s keeping a lot of people in skating who normally wouldn’t have stayed with the sport; they would have left a long time ago. Now they have a place to use their expressive way of skating rather than just the technical part. They can actually perform.”

Showcase fuses artistic creativity with figure skating for single skaters, duets, small ensembles of three to seven and production numbers of eight to 30. It offers the categories of light entertainment, dramatic entertainment and interpretive to singles skaters. Singles participating in light or dramatic entertainment programs perform under spotlights as do duets. All other events are performed under full house lighting.

While there was another major event going on this week on the East Coast — State Games of America in Hershey, Pa., — Bessette said he is still encouraged with the turnout at National Showcase.

“That (event) didn’t help us but we still have solid numbers,” he said.

Like Bessette, co-founder of Showcase and longtime judge Morry Stillwell takes great joy in watching skaters develop into seasoned entertainers. Stillwell and Jack Curtis started Showcase at their home club – the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club – in 1972. Stillwell, who served as U.S. Figure Skating president from 1995 to 1998, has watched and judged countless Showcase events over 42 years, as well as many of the sport’s elite competitions. \

“I love to see the creativity,” said Stillwell, who is working this year’s event along with his wife Elda, who is the chief accountant. “You see skaters who suddenly blossom. You watch them wander around the rink and try and do the more difficult jumps, which I really appreciate, but suddenly they come out of a shell and you watch them develop from very small to seasoned performers. I also see them suddenly understand music and that to me is really great.”

Unlike Showcase performers in those early years, the crop of young skaters today are more confident and thrive in front of an audience.

“Now their peers cheer them on, they can stand up to audiences,” he said. “They are having fun — even when they do tragic things — they are still having fun.”

Stillwell likes the international judging system, he said, but he loves the fact that Showcase offers an open canvass to the skaters.

“They do exactly what they want,” he said.

One National Showcase tradition that will continue on Saturday during the Parade of Champions is the performance of Mr. Debonair, Richard Dwyer. Dwyer, who starred in Ice Follies and Ice Capades for decades, has been in town all week and has watched every event.

He’ll perform with the Dwyer Ladies at the end of competition. He’ll also present the trophy to the overall Parade of Champions winner, which is named after him.

“One of the great things about Richard being here is that these kids get to learn from him,” Bessette said. “When he goes out to practice, he doesn’t have private practice time. He goes out there with everyone else and works with the younger skaters. He’s one of our best ambassadors.”

See below for photos from National Showcase courtesy of Christopher Stockman Photography

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