Stars on Ice performs in Cedar Park

Amanda Weston

     Less than two months after the conclusion of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, figure skating champions began touring the country with the Smucker’s Stars on Ice national tour. The show features performances from many professional skaters including 2010 Olympic Gold Medalist Evan Lysacek, ice dancing Olympic silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White, 2006 Olympic silver medalist Sasha Cohen and the current National Champion Jeremy Abbott. The show played at the Cedar Park Center May 12.

     Smucker’s Stars on Ice, the only American figure skating tour, began as the Scott Hamilton “America” Tour in 1986 and has since expanded to include not only American champions but also international skaters. In the past, Stars on Ice has toured internationally in locations such as Japan and Canada. This year’s tour will play a total of 41 shows in 23 states from April 1 to May 30, beginning in Fort Myers, Florida and concluding in Portland, Oregon.

     Stars on Ice has a reputation for showcasing diverse performances, with skaters performing to music ranging from contemporary artists such as the Black-eyed Peas and Elton John to classical pieces from Claude Debussy. Pairs champion Ben Agosto has even incorporated several guitar solos on the ice. Performers skate solos, duets and large group numbers in an almost continuous show and are available for skater meet-and-greets after the performance for fan club members. Those who pay for higher-priced tickets are also able to sit on carpets placed around the edges of the ice, watching the show while on the same level as the skaters.

     Between  rehearsals, performances and traveling, skaters on tour have a grueling schedule. Two-time National Champion and 2010 Olympian Jeremy Abbott recounts a typical day with the show.

     “My sleep schedule is really messed up; it’s probably not very healthy,” Abbott said. “I go to bed around 5:00 AM, wake up around 2:00 PM, go to the arena at 3:00, have off- ice warm-up 4:00 to 5:00 and then the show at 7:00.”

     This year marks Abbott’s first tour with Stars on Ice, which he says is very different from his experience at the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

     “[Stars on Ice and the Olympics] are completely different.” Abbott said. “The Olympics were an amazing experience. I got to meet people from other countries, see the different sports and connect with people. The tour’s not a competition; there’s no pressure. It’s been a dream of mine and I’m really enjoying it.”

      After the show’s conclusion Abbott plans to take a vacation before training for next season, hopefully competing in the 2011 World Championships and touring again with Stars on Ice.

     The show attracts a very diverse audience, ranging from active figure skating club members to adult fans of the sport. Cedar Park students are among the many in the audience that connect with and are inspired by the show.

      “As a figure skater myself, I know the pressures of competition,” Lindsay Salomons, junior, said. “I think Stars on Ice helps those at the Olympic level remember why they started skating in the first place: to have fun. The show was absolutely amazing.”

     Stars on Ice’s next stop is California where they will play four shows before moving on to Utah, Washington and finally Oregon. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased from any major ticket seller or the tour’s website at www.starsonice.com. Those who dream of being on the ice or in the tour someday can find encouragement from the stars that have already made it.

     “Never give up.” Abbott said. “Anything is possible.”