Pageant Lets Figure Skaters Show Off A Season's Work

Columbia Club Stages Its Annual Show Today

March 17, 1991|By Patrick Hickerson and Marc LeGoff | Patrick Hickerson and Marc LeGoff,Staff writers

Kendra Terry is not a typical 11-year-old.

She spends at least asmuch time each week on ice skates as many other fifth-graders spend in front of the television.

She watches television only one day a week.

"Fridays are the one day I have off from practice and get to catch my favorite shows," said Kendra, who trains 14 to 15 hours each week as a member of the Columbia Figure Skating Club.

The majority of her practices are in the afternoon and early evening, but on Wednesday mornings she gets up before dawn for a 5:45 to 8 a.m. workout.

"It's tough getting upso early, but everybody does it," said Kendra, who is in the Gifted and Talented program at Clemens Crossing Elementary.

"Once you getout on the ice, everything falls into place and you know you're there for a specific reason -- to become a better skater."

Kendra started off in recreational group lessons six years ago at the Columbia Ice Rink in Oakland Mills. For the last three seasons, she has skated competitively and performs in the ice shows her club presents.

Kendra will join 65 of her teammates and five professional skaters this weekend in four performances of the club's 17th-annual ice extravaganza, "Once Upon a Time: Fantasies on Ice."

The program will featuremusic from the operas "La Traviata," "The Magic Flute," "Madame Butterfly" and the movie "The Little Mermaid" set to dance and drama for the ice. Today's performances start at 1 and 4 p.m. at the rink.

"Skating is very challenging. You're always learning new and harder jumps," said Kendra, who will double as a sugarplum fairy and a crab intwo of the production numbers. "The latest I've been working on is adouble toe-jump. I can land them most of the time."

She has won three gold medals and one silver in various regional competitions thispast year.

The club, primarily a figure-skating organization, puts on two ice shows each year. A 4-year-old is counted as the youngestskater in the cast and a 56-year-old the eldest.

"The skaters learn all these skills and then get the chance to show off their stuff in our productions," said Fran Terry, Kendra's mother and the club's publicity chairwoman. "Our members have many different interests -- from ice dancing to competitive skating to ice shows."

Robin Maurer,a 36-year-old mother of two from Glenwood, started taking private lessons in September from Pat Muth, the show's director and choreographer. She says that working with the children is lots of fun.

"Some little 8-year-old will pull me aside and show me how to do a certain skill the right way. It's real cute when the kids talk to me and act so adultlike when explaining," said Maurer, who portrays a butterflyin one scene.

Maurer, who helped sew several of the costumes, breaks away from her house four times each week to go to the rink.

"Sometimes it's difficult to find a baby-sitter for my kids if my husband can't be home with them," she said. "But it's something I do for myself because I enjoy it. There's always something new to learn."

Individual costs involved for equipment, costumes and rink rental time can become expensive.

Dede Smith, president of the Columbia Figure Skating Club, says that boots run $195 to $285 a pair, and bladescan cost an additional $70 to $300 a pair, depending on the grade ofcut. A season membership is $400.

"We have close to 100 parent volunteers who have helped out in some way or another with the show," Smith said. "Over the years, the shows have evolved from small-scale recitals for the parents into big productions."

This year, the parents sewed all of the costumes in order to save money. Parent volunteers also participated in various capacities as carpenters, lighting directors, set designers and stage managers.

Tying in the aestheticand technical elements of the extravaganza is Muth, in her 16th showas director. Last August, she began brainstorming and picking out the appropriate concepts and music for this week's show. The cast was chosen by December, and rehearsals started shortly after that.

Muthcredits the Columbia Figure Skating Club and the parents of the skaters for their help.

"All of these costumes were handmade. Parents have just gone out of their way to make it the way I wanted. You haveto have that kind of support to put on something like this," she said.

By the success of the dress rehearsals, the club has successfully transformed a venue used primarily for sports into a theater full of magic and make-believe.

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