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The Inside Edge with Sarah and Drew

'60s night at the Skating Club of Boston and a figure skating wedding

The new Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Kole hold hands after their wedding on May 28.
The new Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Kole hold hands after their wedding on May 28. (Tom Wehrle)

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By Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins, special to icenetwork.com
(06/10/2009) - Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins cover all the bases in the latest version of The Inside Edge, from 2009-10 music selections to '60s night at the Skating Club of Boston and to a figure skating romance.

Music, please

Everyone is busy with choreography at this time of year, and a few skaters have been nice enough to allow us to spill the beans about their music choices for next season.

Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig's new short program will be to the motion picture soundtrack of Love, Actually, and the long program will be skated to Rachmaninoff.

Stephen Carriere is going to keep his long program from last year, and he'll have a new short program to "Carmina Burana."

Emily Hughes is also going to keep last year's Gone With the Wind long program. Her new short program, choreographed by David Wilson, is "Caprice Bohèmien" by Rachmaninoff.

Ross Miner, who will be competing as a senior nationally next season but will skate in the Junior Grand Prix Series, is using an interesting version of Carmen with trumpets. His long program will be to Astor Piazzolla tangos.

As you may have heard, Kimmie Meissner has tweeted that her long program will be to Romeo and Juliet (the 1967 movie).

Keep an eye on our next blog for more!

Jeremy knows who can dance

Jeremy Ten was glued to the audition episodes of So You Think You Can Dance, as were we. Jeremy had a particular interest, since one of the last dancers standing, Alex Wong, went to high school with him.

Alex was apparently selected to be one of the 20 final contestants, but, in a heartbreaking scene, he was told that the artistic director of the Miami Ballet would not release him from his contract. He told us later that the show would only have interfered with his contract if he had made the top 10, but, of course, there was no way to know how he would have done.

As it happens, Alex used to be a figure skater.

"I love figure skating!" he told us this week. "I actually started figure skating before I started dancing! So, I guess figure skating was actually my first love. I started figure skating when I was 5 and did it for two years. ... I actually don't remember why I stopped, but I started dancing at age 7, so maybe that was the reason why!"

Alex and Jeremy were both part of the SPARTS (Sports and Arts) program at Magee Secondary in West Vancouver, British Columbia.

"This program allows students involved seriously in athletics and arts to leave school early to practice their sport or craft," Jeremy told us. "I was in the program for my skating, and Alex was in the program for ballet. He is an amazing dancer as well as passionate about what he loves to do. It is so evident in his dancing and very inspiring. We keep in touch every once in a while. He is a very nice guy."

Alex danced with Goh Ballet in Vancouver and became the first Canadian ever to win the Prix de Lausanne (a dance competition equivalent to the Olympics) in 2004. He is now a principal soloist with the Miami City Ballet. He emailed us some thoughts about the show:

"The whole Vegas week and elimination process happened a few weeks back, so it was still quite fresh when the episode aired. It sort of felt like opening up a scab again, and it brought up a bunch of feelings," wrote Alex.

He said being on the show was amazing, though, and he thinks he would like to audition again.

"The choreographers I got to work with, the comments from the judges and the wonderful people I met and became friends [with] is something so valuable for me that it's impossible to put a price on it."

Swinging Sixties

The scene was mod London, circa 1967, at the Skating Club of Boston's annual awards dinner last Friday night. Festive tables circled the ice and several skaters performed while appetizers circulated amongst the parents and luminaries.

Tom McGinnis, a master-rated coach in eight disciplines, was recognized for his recent elevation to the PSA Coaches Hall of Fame. McGinnis has been with the club since 1961.

The club's officials and judges were also honored, including Doris Heinold, who has been judging for 65 years, and former USFS president Ben Wright, a judge for 67 years. The new USFS Eastern Vice President, Ann O'Keefe, was also in attendance.

Ross Miner performed his new short program for the first time and later received the Weld Award for the most outstanding skater of the season.

Michaelee Scarincia received a new honor, the Spirit of Tenley Albright Award, to be given annually to an athlete who has overcome significant injury.

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, the world junior bronze medalists, got the award for the most improved skaters. Off the ice, Marissa and Simon were decked out in full-out Austin Powers garb.

Among the other outfits, peace signs, love beads and granny glasses were very much in evidence everywhere around the rink.

Skate for Hope

The organizers of the June 20 Skate for Hope benefit were kind enough to invite us to attend this year. Unfortunately, we can't make it, but we hope many of you in the Columbus, Ohio, area will stop in and see the show at the Nationwide Arena. Since it was founded in 2004, Skate for Hope has raised over $215,000 for breast cancer research and awareness.

This year, the stars of the show are Emily Hughes, Rachael Flatt, Ryan Bradley, Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker, Brooke Castile and Ben Okolski, Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates, and Kiri Baga, the current U.S. novice champion.

Adult skater Carolyn Bongirno created Skate for Hope after her own successful battle with breast cancer at the age of 33. Details and ticket info are at skateforhope.org.

We now pronounce them Kole and Kole

On May 28, in front of a small crowd and a cool Denver sunset, a pair team forged a lasting bond. Amber Wehrle and Nicholas Kole, a senior pair team for three-and-a-half years, entered a new kind of partnership -- marriage -- and thus became Mr. and Mrs. Kole.

It was only fitting that a couple brought together by skating had an entourage of elite skaters in the bridal party. Caitlin Yankowskas and Keauna McLaughlin served as bridesmaids, and Rockne Brubaker was a groomsman. Jessica Rose Paetsch and Brynn Carman were junior bridesmaids, and John Coughlin performed double duties as an usher and emcee of the evening. Brandon Mroz was also in attendance, as was former senior men's competitor Braden Overett. Jessica Rose's parents, who are both professional musicians, played all of the music used in the ceremony.

Even the wedding cake had a skating connection, as it was made by Travis Nuss, the brother of former senior pair competitor Jon Nuss. And, of course, coach Dalilah Sappenfield was in attendance. She received a special shout-out of thanks for bringing the team together.

As for the happy couple, they say they're planning on competing again for at least another year.

"It's always been our dream to hear ourselves announced as Kole and Kole at a skating competition," Amber said.

It was a fabulous night and a wonderful example of how figure skating can change lives off the ice as well as on. In fact, Amber commented on skating's overwhelming involvement in their life and in their wedding.

"When Nick and I walked down the aisle together, I reached for his hand, and he grabbed mine in pair grip. I guess it just felt natural for us!"

How fitting. Congratulations to Kole and Kole!

Sarah and Drew
sarahanddrewblog@gmail.com
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