Stars on Ice
Kurt List

Ice Chips - Boston, MA - Apr. 5, 2008

written by Lois and Mary

Ice Chips Review, Sat. 1 p.m. show

The Skating Club of Boston held their annual Ice Chips Show of Champions on April 5th and 6th. Kurt Browning, Emily Hughes and Stephen Carriere, who placed 10th at his first Worlds this year (bronze medalist at NHK and Nationals) were the featured performers. (Stephen is a hometown hero, a Massachusetts native whose ice club just happens to be the Skating Club of Boston.)

The event venue was the Bright Hockey Arena on the Harvard University campus. It was a smallish arena, probably a dozen rows deep. The theme for the show was "Viva Las Vegas," and the various set decorations and props carried this theme out well. There was a large shimmery blue curtain across the ice with two openings for the skaters to make their entrances and exits. As such, about 1/4 of the seats that fell behind the curtain had to go unfilled. The remaining 3/4 of the arena was filled to capacity though, with many people in standing room only. Production values on the show as a whole were really quite good - especially fine lighting and costumes.

I was really unprepared for just how high the level of performance would be for these SKB skaters! Many regional and national medalists (even some who were international competitors) performed their winning routines in singles, pairs and ice dancing. Clearly, there is an enormous concentration of young skating talent in this club. The crowd was wonderfully responsive to and appreciative of their young, local skaters, too. Since the SKB is open to members of all ages, there were also some enjoyable adult group numbers as well. One very special couple was highlighted for skating in their 60th consecutive Ice Chips show.

Kurt skated two routines - the finale for Act I, "Ain't No Sunshine," which had been choreographed by Christopher Dean and skated by Kurt during the 1999 Stars on Ice season, and at the end of Act II, "Papa was a Rolling Stone," which debuted last year at Kurt's Gotta Skate VII. The show's MC announced before each of his routines that among Kurt's many national and world championships he was also notably listed in the Guinness Book of World Record as the first man ever to land a quadruple jump in competition. (Kurt sported an "Aw, shucks" look each time.) It's interesting to note that this amazing feat was accomplished well before most of the show's performers had been born (or were even a glint in their parents' eyes)!

For his Act II number, Kurt was escorted onto the ice by two teenage skaters, who, in keeping with the theme of the show, were dressed as Vegas showgirls. This made for a perfect compliment, as Kurt was dressed in that long, purple, crushed velvet coat, purple hat and sunglasses! Both of his routines were wonderfully well received by the crowd, and there was an immediate standing ovation at the end of "Papa Was a Rolling Stone." No one can create a character on the ice and make that rapport with the audience quite like Kurt! He seemed deeply touched by the ovation and took the opportunity to play to the crowd a wee bit with his signature pantomime and hijinks.

For the finale, all of the performers were called out onto the ice to take a bow. From the smallest tot on wobbly blades to a 4-time world champion, out they came - there must have been nearly 150 people on the ice by the end! The featured performers all joined hands to take a separate bow. Kurt had his Vegas showgirls beside him and as they were letting go of hands, one of the girls' beads got entangled with Kurt's cuff. It was fun watching him get a laugh out of that one from the crowd. All of the skaters then took a lap or two around the ice, waving to the audience. On the last pass around, Kurt hooked a finger into the costume of the skater ahead of him, just hitching a ride for the laughs it brought!