Bracknell Ice Skating CLub

BISC - Newsletter October 2005

Bracknell Ice Skating Club Newsletter - October 2005

Figures Help Move Gala to New High

How ice skating has developed over the past 150 years was demonstrated at the club's annual gala on September 23.

Whereas previous galas had relied on selected skaters performing their competition programmes, the first half of this year's show traced the development of figure, free skating and ice dance and included a number of items specifically commissioned for the event.

The show was accentuated for the first time by the use of full lighting which helped to make the gala more of an event. And while everything may have seemed to be more or less alright on the night, anyone closely involved with the gala knows that, in the run up to the night, everything that could go wrong, did so. From the withdrawal of the synchro teams, which were to have been an essential part of depicting skating, to cancelled rehearsals and from late injuries and management's failure to deal with the lighting plan until it was too late, you name, it went wrong.

Enormous praise must therefore go to Lawrie McLennan, 13, for not only drawing up the lighting plan but having the tenacity and commitment to stay at the rink until 3am on gala day to ensure the best use was made of the lighting available.

The lighting worked particularly well on the opening number which was based on figures. Although these were an essential part of skating for very many years, they are rarely seen by the public and, because they were phased out in the 1980s and 90s, to be replaced by field moves, few of today's skaters have ever had to learn them. But the eight club members who took part in a display choreographed by coach Jon Bonny thoroughly enjoyed the experience, as did the audience.

The first half then went on to depict how free skating had evolved from its early days of moves, hops and simple jumps -with an enchanting programme skated by Charlotte Pollecutt-Gray, aged 9 - to single jumps in a programme skated by Olivia Clarke, 11, who replaced Rachael Potts at short notice after she broke her collar bone earlier in the week. Christopher Kerr, 15, skated a programme using double jumps and Simon Waller, 18, demonstrated the use of triple jumps.

The development of ice dance was shown in compulsory dances skated by Rebecca Forsyth and Christopher Hockaday, an original dance by Helen Ingram and Gary Lanham, and free dance by Tamsyn Pack and Richard Boaden while Michelle Bannister, 17, skated an original waltz to show how solo dance has become increasingly popular, and nine skaters performed a free dance choreographed specially by Marcin Glowacki.

Meanwhile James Bailey, 12, and his sister Rhiannon, 8, performed a simple pairs routine to show how pairs free skating differs from couples dance, and their parents plus four other skaters performed the first of the evening's two artistic programmes by adults.

The second part of the two-hour show was more a collection of artistic programmes and other items selected for their entertainment value. It began with 20 youngsters aged from 6-15 as fairies, devils and animals skating to Britney Spears' Stronger in an item choreographed for the event by Stacey Bullock and Wendy Day.

Two of the club's top female free skaters, Taryn Dennison and Leah Rogers, skated a delightful mirror pairs programme they had devised themselves for the gala while Harvey Clarke, 7, turned footballer complete with ball and goal to skate to the Match of the Day theme; Anna and Claire Minchinton as schoolboys with six-year-old Tanith Turner performed The Marvellous Toy; and Hannah Connor, Holly Jordan and Zoe McBride were Car Wash girls.

These were interspersed with a group of eight skaters performing compulsory dances, Rebecca Forsyth skating a free dance and a performance by James Bailey who has become expert at skating on stilts.

The show ended with a sublime skate by the club's top girl free skater, Yuen Tung Chiu, 12, followed by a ridiculous but very funny artistic number by a second group of adults, dressed as Sheep and skating to nursery rhymes. Simon Waller then skated an item he had choreographed specially, before 30 club members, led by Tamsyn Pack and Richard Boaden, performed the West Side Story show number which won the club the silver medal in this year's National Team Challenge.

Guests at the event include the Mayor of Bracknell Forest, Cllr Jacqui Ryder, and the past chair of Wokingham District Council, Cllr Malcolm Bryant.

The event also included the presentation of an award in memory of former club member, Jenna Matley.

A very talented ice dancer who also skated in the club's synchronised teams in the 1990s, Jenna was extremely popular with everyone who knew her or skated with her, partly because of her cheerful nature and her constant readiness to help fellow team members. Jenna was killed in a car crash four years ago when she was 21. Two years ago her family donated a trophy in her memory which they asked to be awarded to a club member who exemplifies some of Jenna's characteristics - a skater who has worked hard to achieve a high standard and who also helps other skaters, on and off the ice.

This year Jenna's mother, Pat, presented the trophy to Simon Waller with Michelle Bannister runner-up. They received £50 and £25 in rink vouchers.

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