The show went on for at least one sports club in putting a bow on its season.
Amidst of sea of cancellations and postponements to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the Foothills Skating Club held its Year End Ice Show in front of approximately 100 spectators on Sunday afternoon at the Oilfields Regional Arena.
“We had our dress rehearsal on Friday,” said coach Ali Glazier. “We had to put it out to our membership and said we would like our show to go on and we hope that people will come. When we had the dress rehearsal we had a large percentage that didn’t come, but still quite a bit. At least some in every group that came.
“When we talked to our older kids, they were desperate because we’ve been working on this since Christmas.
“It was a big discussion with our board and ultimately we decided we would put it out there, more or less it was just members of family that came, not as many members of the community as often do. But the kids were happy to do it.”
The decision to go ahead with the show came down the final hour, and was made well in advance of Alberta Public Health decisions on Sunday evening that cancelled classes and daycares across the province.
The club was also operating well under the mandated cancellations of all large gatherings of 250 people or more.
“It was a tough decision,” said club president Karla Powell. “So much work goes into the event and it’s hard to walk away from that. But we closely watched all the bulletins, we looked at the parameters that Alberta Health was putting out there and we knew that we fell within that number. We did make some concessions in terms of selling food and flowers to help lessen any potential spread.
“And we also got feedback from the membership and weighed out how everyone was feeling and then we made it optional, come if you feel like you can come, if you feel like you’re within those parameters, stay home if you don’t feel comfortable in here or if you’re showing these symptoms or if you’ve travelled.
“We just had to look at it that way and hope we made the right decision. We took it really seriously, right down to the final hour.”
As Glazier explained, months go into preparing for the annual show with the theme and music together typically by September and the star skaters doing their choreography over the Christmas break. The learn-to-skate members typically spend four weeks getting prepared.
“All of our older girls, not only are they getting ready for the show, but for competitions and test days so they have all those programs and all those numbers they have to remember as well,” she said. “They work really hard to make sure they have a good show to put on for everybody.”
For skater Tia Glazier the ice show is a bit of a reprieve from it all.
“The ice show is not as stressful as competition because you’re not really competing, you’re just showing everybody what you can do,” she said. “I find it a lot of fun to do it with your friends and then watching your coaches do their own numbers too is really cool.”
For the athletes, remembering a number of different routines and matching them to music is simply what goes into the sport.
“You just have to practise a lot, and even off-ice you can think about what you’re doing and sometimes you just have to make it up as you go,” Glazier said with a laugh.
The skaters danced to powerful numbers from artists ranging from Hailee Steinfeld, Demi Lovato and Meghan Trainor to Justin Timberlake and Kelly Clarkson.
“It’s definitely in a music choice, even the title of the song,” said coach Anna Sweeney. “Most of them are about self-love and self-care and it just comes from that.”
The Strong, Beautiful, Brave theme was all about empowerment and self-love, pillars of the skating club.
“A lot of our girls are in that 10 to 13 age range and we find that at that age there’s a lot that comes at these girls that is not necessarily the most positive,” coach Glazier said. “Whether that’s social media, things they’re watching on TV, hearing on the radio.
“Because so many of our kids are at such a vulnerable stage right now we just wanted to do a theme we could talk to the girls about and try to promote that self-love and positivity within each other.”