Stepping Out

Blades of glory

Figure skating stars showcase their artistry

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More than 30 years ago, Olympic Gold Medalist Scott Hamilton had a simple dream: to create a show that was all about skating. “We believed our fans would appreciate sophisticated skating, cutting-edge costumes and challenging choreography,” Hamilton explains, recalling the start of his touring spectacle. That dream became Stars on Ice, featuring the best of American figure skating — past, present and future.

The tour’s 2019 edition glides into NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum on Saturday, April 20, with, as expected, an an all-star lineup.

The roster includes two-time and reigning World Champion, U.S. Olympic Team Bronze Medalist, and three-time and reigning National Champion Nathan Chen; two-time Olympic Bronze Medalists, two-time National Champions and three-time World Medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani; Olympic Gold, Silver and Bronze Medalists, two-time World Champions and six-time National Champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White; three-time National Champion and 2016 World Silver Medalist Ashley Wagner; Olympic Bronze Medalist and National Champion Mirai Nagasu, and Olympic Bronze Medalist and National Champion Bradie Tennell, among others.

“When you are performing in professional competition there are rules you have to follow,” says the 25-year-old Nagasu. “The thing I love about Stars on Ice is that you can perform solely for the entertainment. I enjoy being freer.”

Fans can expect to see the skaters fly across the ice — jumping and spinning — in the ultimate display of showmanship and extreme athleticism. “In skating we’re taking hard falls every day, skating with knives on our feet,” says Nagasu.

Putting it all together is exciting for the skaters and theaudience.

“I started skating at five years old. It came to me as naturally as walking,” Nagasu says. The daughter of Japanese immigrants, she was inspired by two legends in the sport. “We really have two dominant Asian American skaters, Michele Kwan and Kristi Yamaguchi. They are the best role models a girl could have and I wanted to be as successful as them.”

The Olympian made figure skating history in 2018 when she became the first U.S. woman to land a triple axel in a Winter Games.

“I was nervous to be able to deliver in that moment but the stars aligned for me. Above all else my reaction was pure joy.”

Nagasu also appeared on Dancing with the Stars, reaching the semi-finals.

In Stars on Ice, each skater performs two individual routines as well as two group numbers.

“For this show I’m skating to a cover of “Halo” which is really beautiful,” says Nagasu. “I feel like I connect to the audience when I skate to it. I try to think of letting go of all my stress so I can relax and bring that to the audience.”

The show provides fans the rare opportunity to witness some of the most creative and cherished champions performing together in both individual and ensemble routines. They all aim to bring an intensity to their performances that is bound to electrify audiences.

Chen ranks as of the most celebrated “must see” figure skaters performing today. He earned the title of “Quad King,” after becoming the first skater to land five quadruple jumps in one program. He recently dominated the 2019 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, winning his third consecutive title with an impressive display of athleticism and artistry — all at 19-years-old.

Ice dancing, described as “like ballroom dancing on ice,” is another aspect of the sport with rapidly growing appeal. The popular duo, the brother and sister pair of Maia and Alex Shibutani (better known as the “ShibSibs”) will grace the ice to show how it’s done. They captured two Olympic bronze medals at the 2018 Olympic Winter games in PyeongChang, South Korea, becoming the first U.S. team of siblings to ever earn an Olympic medal in ice dancing.

“No one expected this of us, but we have always dreamed this was possible and knew we had it in us,” Alex Shibutani told reporters after winning the Bronze Medal.” Added his sister: “We believe in each other.”

Over the past three decades, Stars on Ice has performed more than 1,500 shows. Today’s champions pick up the mantle from past legacy performers such as Kristi Yamaguchi, Katarina Witt, Torville and Dean and co-founder Hamilton. They all strive to bring a unique skating, musical and visual experience to their audience. It’s a chance for the skaters to truly shine and entertain without the pressure of competitions.

“We have a meet-and-greet as part of the show,” says Nagasu. “It’s is always so nice to be shown appreciation for the work we put in. It’s always humbling.”

Stars on Ice

When: Saturday, April 20, 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25; available through  www.starsonice.com, www.ticketmaster.com, the Nassau Coliseum Box Office and at (800) 745-3000. Limited on-ice seating is available upon request.

Where: NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum, Hempstead Tpke., Uniondale.