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Drama and excitement in Chicago

National and International Theatre on Ice competitions a big hit

The senior division gold medalists for International from the Los Angeles Ice Theatre.
The senior division gold medalists for International from the Los Angeles Ice Theatre. (krphotogs)

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By Heidi MacDonald, special to icenetwork.com
(07/06/2009) - Chicago enjoyed drama and excitement as the Wagon Wheel FSC hosted the 2009 National and International Theatre on Ice Competition, June 25 - 27 at the Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville, Illinois.

The competition got off with a bang on Thursday afternoon -- literally -- when a transformer blew up leaving the facility with no electricity during the adult teams' official practice.

In spite of being on the verge of losing her voice, National Vice Chair for Theatre on Ice (TOI) Judy Edmunds worked closely with the local organizing committee to secure ice at a neighboring rink in order to get the competition started as scheduled on Thursday.

The senior teams performed their choreographic exercise (CE) at the Edge I Ice Arena, a block away from the Edge II Ice Arena -- only 90 minutes after the scheduled start time. The competition continued, as scheduled, on Friday with the facility being powered by generators. Full power was restored in time for the international competition on Saturday.

The lack of electricity in the lobby on Thursday evening didn't darken the excitement of the announcement of the first World Theatre on Ice Competition to be held in Toulouse, France, April 22 - 25, 2010. Teams placing top-three in adult, senior, junior and novice divisions at the 2009 national competition are eligible to compete in this first world TOI competition.

The International Committee for Theatre on Ice will work together and oversee the world competitions. The International Committee is comprised of members from France, Spain, Australia and the United States. The United States will host the event in 2011.

Thirty-one teams, which included over 500 skaters and 50 coaches, took the ice over the course of the three days of competition. The elements for the choreographic exercise inspired interesting and entertaining performances including bees, nuns, jailhouse rock and war and peace among others. The elements for 2009 were theme -- living together, choreographic process -- amplification, and movement or gesture -- lively.

Free skate programs included everything from interpretations of Annie, Forrest Gump and the Wizard of Oz to global warming, the London blitz and a game of chess.