Ice Network

The Inside Edge: Bradley finds himself royally busy

It's raining men in 'The Next Ice Age'; Critiquing Grand Prix fashion
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Ryan Bradley (middle) performs the Edward Villella-choreographed "Back Bay Shuffle" with Brent Bommentre (left) and Joel Dear. -Josef Pinlac

Ice Theatre of New York (ITNY) performed in Boston on Oct. 25 as part of its fall season titled ICE:DANCE 2014. (Lynn Rutherford wrote about the troupe's New York performance here.) We had greatly enjoyed the show the year before, and it was really nice to see some favorite numbers again as well as a few new ones.

Ryan Bradley skated one solo and was a part of many of the group numbers. As it happened, he was making a huge sacrifice to be there, out on the ice, instead of watching his beloved Kansas City Royals in the World Series. They were in the midst of Game 4 when we caught up with him after the show. Bradley was wearing his lucky Royals jersey at the reception, a little underdressed but dedicated.

"I'm such a formal fella; I dress so nice, as you can see," he said. "I don't really do nice clothes. I was watching on my phone while I was packing up after the show. They're in the middle of it; they're up 4-2." (The Royals lost the series to the San Francisco Giants, four games to three.)

Bradley had donned formal wear for "Back Bay Shuffle," a new piece for three men choreographed by ballet superstar Edward Villella. The skaters in the piece were in black tie with tails, which is a teensy fashion faux pas. We suggested a change to white tie in the future.

"Edward and Doug put it together with us in Sun Valley a couple of months ago," Bradley said. "It's really fun."

Bradley is about the busiest man in skating -- he seems to always be on the move. Next up is a Nov. 6 taping with The Next Ice Age (more on that below). He'll also be joining Stars on Ice for the U.S. and Japan tours.

"I leave Next Ice Age to go and do Kristi [Yamaguchi]'s show, and then I go back to Next Ice Age, and then I leave for Scotty [Hamilton]'s show, and then a Disson show, and I'm commentating Rostelecom Cup. I did commentary for four of the Grand Prix last year, and I did worlds, for Universal Sports. It's been fun, I enjoy it, and I like the guys I get to work with there."

As for the show, we particularly enjoyed seeing the multipart "Roots," choreographed for the entire ensemble to country music by artistic director Doug Webster. (Bradley plays Jesus in the piece, by the way, or so he told us last year.)

Regular cast members Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre performed a fun number choreographed by Webster to "The Clockwise Witness" by Devotchka. It was good to see them perform as a dance team again, as well as in the many ensemble pieces.

Navarro told us she had recently settled down in Half Moon Bay near San Francisco.

"For the first time in four years, I have an apartment," she said. "I'm not just living with my parents! I'm not that far from Stanford, so I'm taking a writing class through continuing studies there."

Navarro said she is hoping to write some skating stories, drawing on experiences in her life in the sport.

"Not fiction -- silly stories, maybe some not so silly, I don't know," she said. "There's some really interesting things in skating: partnerships are interesting, and the sports side is interesting, and the traveling we did...there's just some really funny stories."

A nearly full house included Olympic champion Tenley Albright. ITNY had honored Albright in its gala the weekend before, and she told us that her daughter, Elin Schran, had skated a special number in the gala, right before "Roots." Schran used the music from Albright's Olympic-winning Tales of Hoffmann "Barcarolle" program, as well as Giselle, to which Albright also skated.

"I included some of her iconic moves, like the mazurka and some edges," Schran told us. "I meant it as a tribute to her for sharing her joy of skating with me over the years."

All Men

On Nov. 6, at the Gardens Ice House in Laurel, Maryland, there will be a special taping of a new piece. The Next Ice Age's Nathan Birch and Tim Murphy have spent the last week choreographing a piece for six men, to Michael Torke's composition "Javelin." Anyone interested in attending the taping should email menskating@thenexticeage.org by Nov. 4 to request a free ticket.

The event will include a practice run-through of the eight-minute piece, and then it will be performed three times for the taping. There won't be any costumes or lighting, but with an ensemble of Bradley, John Kerr, Rohene Ward, Wesley Campbell, Jonathon Hunt and Shaun Rogers, it promises to be well worth watching.

"We've never done anything like this before," Birch said. "'Men Skating' is starting out as a workshop. ... We want to try things that would be unique to men. We got pair skaters and ice dancers. We're going to experiment, have them be lifted, thrown, just see what this is like."

If all goes well, Birch and Murphy hope to put together an all-men show, including the new piece and a piece from the earlier days of the company.

"The first piece that we have for 'Men Skating' is a male quartet choreographed by John Curry in the early '90s, to 'On the Beautiful Blue Danube.'" Birch said. "He choreographed it for himself, myself, Shaun McGill and Tim Murphy. We'd like to hire other male figure skating choreographers to build new pieces."

"We want to be about things that haven't been tried before," Murphy added. "To our knowledge, no one has tried featuring just men in a skating event. And so far, the buzz has been very positive. We've been getting cold calls from people, saying they hope we'll think of them!"

Bradley mentioned that Birch had been his choreographer for the first 10 years of his career.

"Nathan kind of molded me as a child," Bradley said. "He's a really sweet guy that I've always wanted to go back and work with, so I'm really glad that this opportunity has presented itself.

"To be honest, the guys' numbers are a riot. There's something about the camaraderie and the competitiveness that we get, no matter what we're doing. When you get a bunch of guys together, there's a lot of testosterone -- it's fun to feed off of."

Grand Prix fashion

We've been glued to icenetwork for the past two weeks, checking out all the new costumes at Skate America and Skate Canada. Well, that and the skating.

The Skate Canada short programs all happened on Halloween, so we were hoping for some extra costume shenanigans. We were delighted when Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue put on a pair of chic masks in the kiss and cry.

Along with the masks, there will be a season full of capes in all the paso doble short dances. In this dance, of course, the gentleman is supposed to be a matador and the lady is supposed to be a cape. The interpretation of the cape varies from extremely literal to largely ignored. Piper Gilles has the most cape-y costume so far, with a half-circle cape skirt attached to her wrists. Others, like Kaitlyn Weaver, wear red and interpret the cape through choreography. It's all very fun to see.

As for the ladies, Alena Leonova skated her adorable Chaplin short program in full-on Charlie Chaplin duds, gray tail coat, black pants and white tie. The look suited her, and her interpretation was just so darn cute! We loved Ashley Wagner's fierce black costume, by Jan Longmire, for her fierce Adam Rippon/Cindy Stuart-choreographed Spartacus program, and the red Moulin Rouge dress is perfect.

Kudos to the U.S. men, who have won medals, including five golds, at every ISU Challenger Series event and Grand Prix so far. Well done, Max Aaron, Richard Dornbush, Jason Brown, Stephen Carriere, Ross Miner and Rippon, and may the streak continue!

The sincerest form of flattery

How do you know you've really made it? When people dress up as you for Halloween. Johnny Weir re-tweeted several pictures of people dressed up as him, all in renditions of his famous (notorious?) hot pink Chanel jacket, white blouse with necklace and black leather leggings. There were also a number of devoted fans portraying the dynamic duo of Tara and Johnny, but apart from the hairstyles, they pretty much all wore Johnny's signature look.

Glam, baby.

Sarah and Drew

Follow us on Twitter for Grand Prix chat @SarahandDrew