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Figure Skating Showcases Talent at Annual Show

By Diana Cheng


The MIT Figure Skating and Ice Dance Club held its 18th Annual Figure Skating Exhibition on the ice rink at Johnson Athletic Center on Saturday.

The program included a variety of skating disciplines, including three synchronized skating teams and ice dancers.

The synchronized skating teams that performed were the Linear Progressions from the MIT Figure Skating Club’s team, the Esprit de Corps Masters, and the Esprit de Corps Adults from the Hayden Recreation Center in Lexington, MA.

Ice dancers performed the Rhythm Blues Dance and the Willow Waltz Dance. Three pairs teams performed, and there were 27 individual performances.

Several guest skaters performed, representing the Skating Club of Boston and other local skating clubs. Lara and Neill Shelton, from the Colonial Figure Skating Club, performed a pairs program to the music of Vogue. Nicole Sutherland from Northwestern University performed a singles program to the music of “The Reason,” by Celine Dion.

Esther J. Horwich ’77 founded the MIT Figure Skating Club in her junior year. She recalls giving “7:30 wake-up calls” to her friends in 1975, because she “didn’t want to lose our ice time.”

In the 25th year of the club she founded, she said, “It’s like a family here -- people just don’t want to leave!” She noted that skaters range from ability level from beginners to adult national competitors, and that the show was “all-inclusive.”

Beverly A. Thurber ’01, President of the MIT Figure Skating Club, noted that the show is a “culmination of all [the skaters’] hard work.” She said, “I came to the rink the first day [it opened] of my freshman year and haven’t left.”

Thurber’s mother Bonnie traveled from Chicago to watch the show. “It’s my favorite ice skating show because everyone in it loves to ice skate,” said the elder Thurber. Beverly Thurber performed in the Opening Number, Linear Progressions number, Ice Wars 2001, the Willow Waltz Dance, and her own program to the music of Black Death.

Synchronized skating team member and coach Bonny S. Kellermann ’72, who is Competition Coordinator and Special Events Coordinator for the club, says she enjoys the “great feeling of skating, of camaraderie, and working with other people.” Kellermann choreographed the Linear Progressions program to “Help,” by the Beatles, and is also a member of the Esprit de Corps Masters group which will be competing in the National Synchronized Skating Competition next week.

Louise Silver ’68 skated a pairs program with her partner Bill Rowe and a singles program in celebration of becoming a grandmother to her grandson, Sam. She said she began skating as an adult in 1985 when her husband “dragged her into it -- now he can’t get me off the ice!”

Maris Sparks, who performed in her own program, said jokingly, “we feel that we’re as good as Popstars.” Sparks particularly enjoyed the “comedy routines” such as Ice Wars 2001. In Ice Wars 2001, Bobby Piankian and Ray Magee pretended to challenge Sally DeFazio, Beverly A. Thurber, and Kellermann to a bubble-blowing and back-stroking competition.

President of the MIT Ice Dance Club Tracey Selsen commented, “I thought the show went really well. Everyone put in an excellent effort.”

Kevin Xu ’99 performed in the Rhythm Blues Dance after starting ice dancing during Independent Activities Period in January 2000. He enjoys ice dancing because “you can enjoy ice skating, music, and dance at the same time.” He added, “I’ll be back for next year’s show.”