By Andrew Mitchell
The Whistler Skating ClubÕs Ice Show Ñ Around the World on Ice: A Cultural Mosaic Ñ got a boost last week with the announcement that Annie Bellemare, one of CanadaÕs top figure skaters, will make an appearance.
Bellemare recently finished her season with a fourth place overall at the Canadians, including a bronze medal in the long program. She also has two national silver medals to her credit.
Originally from Quebec, Bellemare now trains in Vancouver with coach Joanne McLeod. She will be skating to Lady by Lenny Kravitz and Ma Fille from Isabelle Boulay.
ÒIt has been a club tradition to invite a guest skater to perform at the show,Ó said Ice Show co-ordinator Susan Shrimpton. ÒAnnie is a national, international level competitor and it is very exciting for the skaters to meet such a celebrity. For our skaters who dream of making it to the nationals one day, Annie is a mentor.Ó
The Ice Show takes place on Saturday, May 14, with shows at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Meadow Park Sports Centre. All of the clubÕs skaters will be featured in the performance, from the very youngest at three years old to provincial level competitors up to age 19. In total 68 boys and girls will suit up for 26 different performances, all centred around different countries and themes. All performers will be on the ice for the finale.
ItÕs been a huge commitment, with 151 costumes, about 20 per cent of which were recycled from past shows. All four of the clubÕs coaches helped to choreograph the different performances over the last year, and Shrimpton herself has been working for almost a year to bring all the elements together. With sets, costumes, music, lighting, and other help.
ÒWhat goes on behind the scenes is thousands and thousands of hours of volunteer time,Ó said Shrimpton. ÒThe sound, music, lighting, costumes, sets are all going to blow away the audience. This production gets bigger and better every show.Ó
The club hosts events every two years. In 2003 the show was standing room only, and organizers are expecting 400 people at each show this year. Tickets are available now at the Meadow Park Sports Centre and through WSC members. Adults are $12, and children and seniors $8 in advance, and $15 and $10 at the door.