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Undergrad figure skaters host inaugural show

After securing rink time, the new student group will hold practices and performances

The sound of the Zamboni greeted spectators who arrived early to the ice rink Saturday night. Sipping hot chocolate while awaiting the skaters’ entrance, the members of the crowd at Meehan Auditorium chattered in anticipation of the inaugural performance of Figure Skating at Brown, titled “Paradise on Ice.”

Though the club’s co-founders — Jenna Ditto ’15, Lauren Suiter ’15 and Irene Rojas-Carroll ’15 — received approval for the club in November, the struggle to secure ice time for practices prevented the group from having an organized performance until this semester. Before January, members held unofficial practices during free-skate hours, Ditto said.

“We worked really hard to get approved and even to get show time,” Suiter said before the show. “It will be nice to see it all come together.”

Once the Zamboni finished clearing the ice, five of the club’s 30 skaters took the ice. As they warmed up, they skated in graceful circles, transfixing the early arrivals with the sound of their skates gliding on the glassy ice.

While the club is composed mostly of students who have skating experience, some joined despite never having skated before.

At 8:30 p.m. and with about 50 spectators in the stands, Ditto and Suiter, along with club members Betsy Turnbull ’14, Gillie Johnson ’15 and Anastasia Lasunina ’16 opened the show skating to Coldplay’s “Paradise.” The skaters chose a variety of musical accompaniments, including a “West Side Story” medley, the comical “Big Bang Theory” theme song, Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”  and the rock hit “American Woman.”

“It was such a whirlwind,” Suiter said after the performance. “Once we got started, everything just went so well.”

Though only five skated Saturday night, all students in the club practice from 7 to 8:30 a.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. The most recent practices were structured to prepare for the routines in “Paradise on Ice.” Members collaborated to fit moves to specific pieces of the music, Suiter said. Just as the three founders cooperated to get the club started, choreographing was also “kind of a team effort,” Ditto said.

“Paradise on Ice” was the club’s first and only performance this academic year — the ice in Meehan will be melted at the end of the season. But the club  has plans for upcoming semesters.

“New members have expressed interest in lessons, so we are thinking of including coaching in future practices,” Ditto said. She added that it is nice for her and the other leaders of the group — who have skated since they were in elementary school — to see new members willing to commit.


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