At a time when most live entertainment has been canceled due to the pandemic, a nonprofit professional ice dancing company is providing free, safe, outdoor entertainment for the public this winter. Ice Dance International (IDI) has brought together a group of world class skaters who have arrived in Portsmouth to begin a month long program that will involve NH schools and outdoor “pop-up” performances at Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond, located in the heart of Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
IDI company members are also teaching skating skills classes at Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond at Strawbery Banke on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Classes are for both figure skaters or hockey skaters and cover basics-advanced skills for both kids and adults. No registration is required.
Founder and Artistic Director Douglas Webster, who grew up in North Conway and currently lives in Kittery, Maine, says the performances are called Winter Surprise and Delights and will showcase a mix of world-premiere pieces he choreographed. Says Webster, “Two new works, Revival, set to the music of Mumford and Sons, Jason Castro, and Audra Mae; and New World, a fantasy ice ballet set to a commissioned score by Jonathan Galland; are both designed to lift the spirits during this unprecedented year. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to share this program that focuses on hope, joy, and overcoming struggle.”
Award-winning performers on the tour include: Grand Prix Final Champion, two-time Skate Canada Champion and two-time U.S. National Champion Alissa Czisny (from Detroit, Mich.); ISU International competitor and Junior World Team Member, Wesley Campbell (from Nashville, TN); and Team USA Skater, Angela Wang (from Colorado Springs, CO). Additional IDI company members include Adam Kaplan (Providence, R.I.), Lara Shelton and Neill Shelton (Wayland, Mass.).
Alissa Czisny just arrived on the Seacoast from Michigan to begin rehearsals with Ice Dance International. She says, “I am so excited to be performing again with IDI. This past year has really made me even more appreciative of the joy of skating outdoors and of the opportunity to share my passion with others – especially kids! We are looking forward to not only performing but teaching kids the wonder of skating. It’s obviously been a difficult year but ice dancing is something that captures the imagination and will hopefully provide a respite from the turmoil in the world.”
According to Douglas Webster, “The chance to see world-class skaters at this level, in the relative intimacy of outdoor local venues, is a thrilling experience for everyone involved. This showcase of the very best ice dancing provides its performers and audiences alike – the feeling of what it’s like to fly and glide freely.” The ultimate goal, he says, “is to take the audience on a journey and to make people feel deeply from the experience. And, this winter cast will also deliver that wow factor that the dynamic athleticism of figure skating can provide!”
Scheduled Performances at Strawbery Banke Museum: IDI Pop-Ups are 13 minutes in length
Note: performance and times may vary and additional performances may be added. Please note that the times at SBM will not be released until the day before the event. Info will be made available on Ice Dance international’s social media pages and updated on the website.
Thursdays January 21 + 28 – Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond, time TBD
Fridays January 22, 29 and February 5 – Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond, time TBD
Saturday January 23 – Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond, time TBD
Virtual performances – view live at home via webcam hosted on the Strawbery Banke Museum website (strawberybanke.org/skate/
IDI’s Surprise and Delights and winter residency 2021 are funded in part by the Lisa McGraw Figure Skating Foundation, the Rosamond Thaxter Foundation, Maine Economic Recovery Grant Program, Margaret Burnham Charitable Trust, Kennebunk Savings, Eastern Bank, and the Via Agency.
For more information and schedule for IDI skills classes at Strawbery Banke, visit the IDI upcoming events page at www.IceDanceInternational.org.