This past weekend marked the 11th annual Ice Show held at the North Olmsted Recreation Center. The event featured ice skaters from the Cleveland Edges Skating Club, local figure skaters and ice skaters in the Learn to Skate program, as well as youth hockey players.
The “Ticket to Hollywood”-themed show was a theatrical event set to music from various Hollywood hits, such as Grease and Sound of Music, and showcasing a large number of local skaters. The event was made possible through the work of Jeff Marshall, program director of the Cleveland Edges Skating Club, and Betsy Drenski, North Olmsted parks and recreation commissioner.
“Jeff Marshall is the brains behind the show,” Drenski said. “He designs the music, lights and the choreography while I do the paperwork.”
The event was held on the main rink, which was completely transformed for the occasion. The glass surrounding the rink was removed, bleachers were placed on a raised platform along the length of the ice for additional seating and theatrical lights and curtains decorated the space surrounding the center of the ice rink.
“We are trying to give the show a really good entertainment value for the audience,” Marshall said. “We want to make it a theatrical production and a positive experience for the kids.”
The Cleveland Edges Skating Club, which competes both locally and nationally, is the longest established synchronized club in Cleveland, and became an official U.S. Figure Skating club in 2007. The 200 figure skaters practice and perform year-round. The club has been based at the North Olmsted Recreation Center since 2003.
Potential skaters auditioned in February in order for the costumes to be ordered and arrive in time, and practices began in March. Practices were held once a week for the individual groups until the Wednesday prior to the show, when every group came together for a full run-through and a dress rehearsal the following evening.
Since the event’s reinstatement 11 years ago, it has grown from 700 guests to over 1,600. The Learn to Skate program at the recreation center teaches 150-300 kids every six weeks the fundamentals of ice skating, and the hockey program for all ages is still strong.
“We need to keep the young hockey club strong and to bring more people into the skating program,” Drenski said on her hopes for the program’s future. “We need to continue to build, and we would like to have more after-school programs. We would also like to work with Youth Challenge and offer the program to more people who would benefit from that.”