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Thread: New Skate Shows Involve Way More Than Just Skating

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    New Skate Shows Involve Way More Than Just Skating

    We went to see Disney On Ice last weekend in Vegas. We see it every year. Last year they introduced silks for a portion of the show, similar to what I've seen in the previews for Cirque Du Soleil's Crystal. This year the silks were back as well as juggling, but this year included a lot more firsts:

    - The skater who played Migel from Coco did a triple toe, twice. Previously, the highest jump we ever saw at a Disney on Ice show was a double axel.
    - There were acrobatics done on a fast track trampoline set up on the ice.
    - There were 'ice ramps' set up on and skaters using hockey-ish blades (pretty sure these guys do inline trick skating and transitioned to ice rather than figure skating or hockey transitioning to ramps)
    - Back flip seen in many other ice shows, but I've never seen on in Disney on Ice. This year was different and the skater who played Kristoff from Frozen did one.

    The showing we went to was packed full. The audience was huge. That's not always the case at previous shows we have been to. It's usually popular but this time it really looked sold out. So I'm not sure if it was the new tricks they added that brought out more people or if it was the newer Disney movies - Moanna, Coco. Or if it was because of the new Frozen that just came out so maybe people were hoping/thinking it would be adapted to ice already (usually it takes 2 years between the movie and the ice show version). Or maybe it was just the showing time - this year we went to a later showing and usually we do matinees. Whatever it was, the house was packed and it was a lot of fun.

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    And here's the ice show version of Sleeping Beauty starring Zagitova. Is it any wonder that SOI can't attract crowds?
    https://youtu.be/ih6P_wlLZJw

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    Toujours respecter ce sport Ic3Rabbit's Avatar
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    Just like any other show, Disney on ice is going to have it in (for example backflips) if they require a certain skating part to have one and also what is in the particular skills the skaters they hire have.

    So if they require say "Woody" to have to be a skater than can do backflips, then you will have a skater contracted that can do those.

    But if a skater isn't required and can do a backflip anyway, DOI may say well that will be a cool aspect to bring to the show and suddenly a character that wasn't supposed to originally do backflips is because their skater can and DOI wants so show that off.


    There have been many characters in past DOI (going back to even my childhood in the 80's) that I remember doing backflips. It again depends on what DOI wants or has in skaters for that year or tour.

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    Fangirl of men’s spirals and split jumps el henry's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update, VegMom.

    I am of the opinion that Disney draws the crowds because it is Disney. The same of any kind of show, Sleeping Beauty or the Wizard of Oz, it is a show attracting audiences to the show, which happens to have star skaters.

    I never liked those shows, to be honest. I loved my Toller but I never really liked Strawberry Ice or Toller on Broadway or any of the show type skating (although if I had the money and lived in NYC, I would have gone).

    Champions on Ice, Stars on Ice, etc. were never meant to compete with these “theme” shows, which have been around since, well, Toller. They were meant for people like me who would not be able to travel to a comp or spend the money to actually see “Bolero” ETA: in a comp, but I could in a tour.

    It’s simply that the general audience for seeing the comps/exhibition skates has gone way way down, and then the number of shows go down, and then it’s a vicious circle.
    Last edited by el henry; 01-14-2020 at 02:54 PM.

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    GS Supporter ladyjane's Avatar
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    I agree with El Henry. We don't get much ice shows here (of any kind), so I jumped into the car and drove over to Germany last year. But, not for the show in itself (it was Holiday on Ice), but to see certain skaters. More specifically: Aljona and Bruno, who were skating to a shortened version of their La Terre vue du Ciel Olympic programme. My all-time favourite and exquisite to see it live (shortened or not). I wish we did get the SOI kind of shows. I saw my favourite pairs programme at the time on a Champions on Ice video (Yes, on VHS) with Artur and Natalia (their great Olympic programme where they ended up second in 1994). It would have been fantastic to see that live on a show like that.

    My favourite 'live' skating event of the year is usually the Challenge Cup which is a competition! Only 3 miles (5 kilometers) away from home....and pretty cheap tickets too. 15 Euros (that would be app. 18 dollars I think) for watching all the disciplines. Last year the newly crowned Youth Olympic champion was there (he was second), as well as Rika Kihira (she was first) and the lovely German and Austrian pair teams.

    For good order: that's not to say there's no merit in these big shows. There definitely is. I would go if they were close by and not too expensive. I just like these shows with programmes and exhibition programmes better. And nothing beats a competition for me.

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    Bona Fide Member iluvtodd's Avatar
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    Well, we are Disney fans, so we go to DOI every year (I'm a sucker for the characters, & I have my favorites). We do cheer on the skaters when they do impressive jumps, moves in the field. That said, we have gone to SOI for years to see our favorite pros & some of the current Olympic eligible skaters (I still miss the international flavor of the tour that it used to have in the USA, was grateful that the recent Reading, PA show had an American/Canadian cast). Attending competitions, though is tops for us!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ic3Rabbit View Post
    There have been many characters in past DOI (going back to even my childhood in the 80's) that I remember doing backflips. It again depends on what DOI wants or has in skaters for that year or tour.
    Didn't mean to imply that they cast skaters (and other performers) only for their abilities. I think because it's a character-based show that they're more likely to cast based on character and then depending on what the performers can do, they choreograph the elements accordingly.

    Quote Originally Posted by el henry View Post

    It’s simply that the general audience for seeing the comps/exhibition skates has gone way way down, and then the number of shows go down, and then it’s a vicious circle.
    I started this thread mostly to be a discussion about how ice shows are changing and how to attract crowds and increase the audience for figure skating.
    I have lived in the Vegas area since 1999 and in that time, I don't recall Stars on Ice or any other figure skating show ever coming to Vegas except for Disney on Ice. We didn't even get Crystal when Cirque du Soleil started it. We will be getting Axel (the other Cirque ice show) but only for a weekend this year. Now that we have a hockey team and we're getting Skate America competitions, maybe all that will change a bit.

    It's possible that we didn't notice local ice shows before we started watching Disney on Ice. And we started watching Disney on Ice as Disney fans, before our kiddo started skating. Anyway, I think DOI can serve as a bridge, to engage people in figure skating. Plus, it's an actual job that we can point to as an option for our skater kids besides just the Olympics, which let's get real, isn't a likely option for most skaters but IS the most common comment that we hear from non-skater people.

    I think that when figure skating is shown like this - as part of a larger show - it helps grow the audience for skating. It also changes the context from prim and proper ice princesses to extreme sports/ cirque talent. When you put figure skating alongside silks and trampoline and 'aggressive inline' then it really highlights more the risk-taking and thrill that many skaters love about figure skating.

    But honestly I think the main thing to increase American audiences for figure skating is the loosen the culture (it's very rigid and uptight) and to increase the number of rinks and learn to skate programs. This type of stuff helps loosen the culture.

    Quote Originally Posted by ladyjane View Post

    For good order: that's not to say there's no merit in these big shows. There definitely is. I would go if they were close by and not too expensive. I just like these shows with programmes and exhibition programmes better. And nothing beats a competition for me.
    Definitely didn't think that most skating fans here would prefer DOI to other events with higher level technical skating. I was mostly just sharing the event to discuss what works for mainstream audiences. That show looked sold out. It definitely had way more attendees than Skate America. WAY MORE.

    Orleans Arena holds about half the attendees as the Thomas and Mac. And though DOI blocks off part of the seating and keeps that area for backstage, the half that was available was filled nearly to capacity whereas Skate America was half filled or even less. Granted, Skate America is much longer and it's hard to tell exactly how many tickets sold, etc. And they're totally different and attract different audiences. But I will say two things:

    - USFS should set up a booth outside DOI in Vegas and sell tickets/ hand out brochures about Skate America
    - USFS events should we WAY more kid friendly. All they need to do is set up a 'kids area' with a screen that broadcasts the competition, outside the actual arena maybe in the concourse. They could just have some mini play structures and toys, a place where it's ok if a kid talks or cries a bit. My friends with young children just left Skate America. They barely even tried to watch it. I wasted my money buying them tickets. And they weren't alone. I know other families that said they were just going to watch on TV because of their littles. Well, DOI is super kid-friendly and that's a big reason it makes so much money.

    Quote Originally Posted by iluvtodd View Post
    Well, we are Disney fans, so we go to DOI every year (I'm a sucker for the characters, & I have my favorites). We do cheer on the skaters when they do impressive jumps, moves in the field. That said, we have gone to SOI for years to see our favorite pros & some of the current Olympic eligible skaters (I still miss the international flavor of the tour that it used to have in the USA, was grateful that the recent Reading, PA show had an American/Canadian cast). Attending competitions, though is tops for us!
    Definitely room for all of it. We love Disney also and like that it's a good event to take non-skater friends to. And we also enjoy competitions.

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    Toujours respecter ce sport Ic3Rabbit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VegMom View Post
    Didn't mean to imply that they cast skaters (and other performers) only for their abilities. I think because it's a character-based show that they're more likely to cast based on character and then depending on what the performers can do, they choreograph the elements accordingly.



    I started this thread mostly to be a discussion about how ice shows are changing and how to attract crowds and increase the audience for figure skating.
    I have lived in the Vegas area since 1999 and in that time, I don't recall Stars on Ice or any other figure skating show ever coming to Vegas except for Disney on Ice. We didn't even get Crystal when Cirque du Soleil started it. We will be getting Axel (the other Cirque ice show) but only for a weekend this year. Now that we have a hockey team and we're getting Skate America competitions, maybe all that will change a bit.

    It's possible that we didn't notice local ice shows before we started watching Disney on Ice. And we started watching Disney on Ice as Disney fans, before our kiddo started skating. Anyway, I think DOI can serve as a bridge, to engage people in figure skating. Plus, it's an actual job that we can point to as an option for our skater kids besides just the Olympics, which let's get real, isn't a likely option for most skaters but IS the most common comment that we hear from non-skater people.

    I think that when figure skating is shown like this - as part of a larger show - it helps grow the audience for skating. It also changes the context from prim and proper ice princesses to extreme sports/ cirque talent. When you put figure skating alongside silks and trampoline and 'aggressive inline' then it really highlights more the risk-taking and thrill that many skaters love about figure skating.

    But honestly I think the main thing to increase American audiences for figure skating is the loosen the culture (it's very rigid and uptight) and to increase the number of rinks and learn to skate programs. This type of stuff helps loosen the culture.


    Definitely didn't think that most skating fans here would prefer DOI to other events with higher level technical skating. I was mostly just sharing the event to discuss what works for mainstream audiences. That show looked sold out. It definitely had way more attendees than Skate America. WAY MORE.

    Orleans Arena holds about half the attendees as the Thomas and Mac. And though DOI blocks off part of the seating and keeps that area for backstage, the half that was available was filled nearly to capacity whereas Skate America was half filled or even less. Granted, Skate America is much longer and it's hard to tell exactly how many tickets sold, etc. And they're totally different and attract different audiences. But I will say two things:

    - USFS should set up a booth outside DOI in Vegas and sell tickets/ hand out brochures about Skate America
    - USFS events should we WAY more kid friendly. All they need to do is set up a 'kids area' with a screen that broadcasts the competition, outside the actual arena maybe in the concourse. They could just have some mini play structures and toys, a place where it's ok if a kid talks or cries a bit. My friends with young children just left Skate America. They barely even tried to watch it. I wasted my money buying them tickets. And they weren't alone. I know other families that said they were just going to watch on TV because of their littles. Well, DOI is super kid-friendly and that's a big reason it makes so much money.


    Definitely room for all of it. We love Disney also and like that it's a good event to take non-skater friends to. And we also enjoy competitions.
    I never said you did. As I pro, I was telling you how it's done for different tours and different outlets of skating entertainment.

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    On the Ice sandraskates's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VegMom View Post

    But honestly I think the main thing to increase American audiences for figure skating is the loosen the culture (it's very rigid and uptight) and to increase the number of rinks and learn to skate programs. This type of stuff helps loosen the culture.
    Increasing the number of rinks is challenging as it's an expensive proposition to open and maintain one. I've always said if I won a billion dollar lottery I'd build a rink; I even have the land picked out.

    Quote Originally Posted by VegMom View Post
    But I will say two things:
    - USFS should set up a booth outside DOI in Vegas and sell tickets/ hand out brochures about Skate America
    - USFS events should we WAY more kid friendly. All they need to do is set up a 'kids area' with a screen that broadcasts the competition, outside the actual arena maybe in the concourse. They could just have some mini play structures and toys, a place where it's ok if a kid talks or cries a bit.
    Setting a booth outside DOI, Stars on Ice, any of those traveling shows is a great idea!
    Not just to hand out tickets to a bigger event but to promote skating overall.
    A local figure skating club in the performing city could liaison and set up a booth, hand out literature on their LTS, hockey, and other programs. There would be a knowledgeable local rep to answer those "how do I start skating" questions. USFS or ISI should consider this, if it's a doable endeavor.

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