The Revelstoke Figure Skating Club’s year-end showcase Heroes vs. Villains looks to hit a new level this year – with three guest skaters and four different scenes to be played out on the Forum ice.
“Everything that happens on the ice is part of the story,” said head coach Nina Greschner. “Skaters won’t be skating their solos they compete with, or their test skates. They’re skating something they choreographed entirely for the show.”
I spoke to Greschner just before the guest skaters took to the ice for rehearsal. They are Craig Brown, the executive director of Community Connections; Mike Hooker, the superintendent of the Revelstoke School District; and Matt Smider, the head coach of the Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club.
Greschner spent a few weeks teaching them some figure skating moves and then started working on their routines.
“They didn’t find out their roles until two weeks into practice,” she said. “They were really eager just to go out there and have fun and support our club, so it’s been awesome.”
While in recent years the show has seen the club’s skaters perform their well-practiced competition or test-skate routines, this year the club will be performing four scenes – 101 Dalmatians, Snow White and the Nine Dwarves, the Smurfs and Gargamel; and the Wizard of Oz. Each scene was choreographed by Greschner.
“It’s my first time, but I hope its a huge success,” she said.
101 Dalmatians features senior skater Jacqueline Cottingham as Cruella de Vil, the club’s nine kids skaters as the dalmatians, McKenna Howe and Krystal Kinoshita as Pongo and Perdy; and Matt Smider as Superman, who comes in and saves the day.
“I thought any opportunity to get me skating on ice might be a chance to get people to laugh,” said Smider when asked how he ended up taking part. “Other than on cross-country skis, I skate very rarely during the winter since I left my home in Northern Ontario. It’s made me realize how it feels to be a beginner again. Frustrating at best, but a lot of fun.”
Snow White and the 9 Dwarves features Danielle Fenrich as Snow White, Clara Suchy as the evil queen, the junior skaters as the nine dwarves, and Craig Brown as the old hag. Mike Hooker gets to play the hero as Batman.
“I got an e-mail and I gathered it was just an opportunity to make a fool of myself,” said Hooker. “I get to dress up like Batman? Come on.”
Said Brown: “It’s been eight years since I’ve had skates. Someone said its like riding a bicycle, but it isn’t.”
The third scene, the Smurfs and Gargamel, features the intermediate skaters as the smurfs. Greg Kenyon, the principal of Revelstoke Secondary School, was supposed to play Gargamel, but an injury during practice forced him to drop out. Instead, a special guest skater will be taking his spot. Jacqueline Cottingham will play Wonder Woman.
The final scene is the Wizard of Oz, with Megan Cottingham as Dorothy, Cathy Cameron-Suchy as the Wicked Witch of the West, Sophie Dorrius as the Scarecrow, Jaimie Reynolds as the Tin Man, Alexandra Robertson as the Cowardly Lion, and the CanSkate group as the munchkins.
Each scene comes complete with props and costumes. I got to watch as Mike Hooker swooped around the ice in his cape and Matt Smider mimicked flying through the air as Superman. For the record, they were all wearing hockey skates, not figure skates. Audience members can pay $2 for a ballot to vote for their favourite guest skater, with half the proceeds going to the guests favourite charity and the rest to the figure skating club.
The whole show is about an hour long. “It’s super short and it’s jam packed,” said Greschner. “Everything flows one into the other. There’s no stops, so there’s hardly time for applause.”
Heroes vs. Villains takes place on Thursday, Mar. 14, at 6:30 p.m. at the Revelstoke Forum.