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Aerial Ice moves through to next round on 'AGT'

New York City's Radio City Music Hall next stop for troupe

Members of Aerial Ice await their fate from the judges during "Vegas week."
Members of Aerial Ice await their fate from the judges during "Vegas week." (Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

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By Sarah S. Brannen, special to icenetwork.com
(07/19/2013) - The aerial skating act Aerial Ice was glimpsed in the opening seconds of the first show of "Vegas week" on America's Got Talent on Tuesday. The judges separated the acts into three categories: those who would be sent straight through to the live rounds at Radio City Music Hall, those who would have to audition again in Las Vegas and those who would be cut.

The skaters heard the words they were waiting for: "We'll see you in New York!" They will move on to appear in an upcoming live show in the next 2-3 weeks. Sixty acts in all made the cut, and about 12 will appear on each show.

Aerial Ice, which is made up of ice dancers Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre, pairs team Tosha Hanford and Chris Trefil, and aerialists Angela Kim and Joel Dear, is in Sun Valley, Idaho, rehearsing for its live appearance. Kim, Hanford and Trefil filled in icenetwork.com on their experience in Las Vegas.

"Vegas week is described as boot camp, and I can't think of a better description," Trefil said. "It was an emotionally trying three days. It was a tremendous amount of waiting around, not knowing what we were supposed to be doing. You're in a holding room while the judges are deliberating."

"All of us were anxiously waiting," Hanford continued. "We didn't know if we would perform -- we had our costumes and skates with us."

"It was really nerve wracking," Kim said. "Is skating something Radio City Music Hall wants or needs?"

"The judges told us, skating does belong on the stage at Radio City Music Hall," Trefil said.

All six skaters broke into huge smiles when they got the good news from the judges.

Hanford and Trefil have been skating together as a professional pair for about two years, at the Great America theme park in Santa Clara, Calif. Trefil last competed at the 2010 European Figure Skating Championships, skating for Hungary with partner Victoria Hecht. Hanford said she stopped competing in 2008, after training in Lake Arrowhead, Calif. She skated on cruise ships before starting at Great America.

Both Hanford and Trefil are students at UC Davis.

After retiring from competition in 1998, Kim went into show skating and toured extensively with Disney on Ice, Holiday on Ice and Royal Caribbean. She also performed with the Ice Theatre of New York. Now, however, she is primarily a circus artist, doing aerials and contortion.

"Being in the entertainment industry, I saw a lot of aerials, so I took it up," Kim said. "Once I got to a certain level, I thought, why not combine it with skating? There are more and more aerial ice skaters out there."

When Hanford and Trefil were contacted about competing on America's Got Talent, they were initially uncertain, but they eventually came around.

"The hook for me was the cast -- they're such talented skaters," Trefil said. "I wanted to be in on that collaboration. As things got going, the commitment and intensity sort of blew up, and it's been an amazing adventure."

"What's fortunate in our group is we really gelled," Kim said. "We really work well together, and we're creating these numbers in three days or less. It's nice to have that energy."

The troupe isn't saying what it has coming up in the next round, but if its debut performance is any indication, it's sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

"Everyone is very creative and has all sorts of amazing ideas, and we work really well as a team," Trefil said. "We're all excited about the product we'll reveal at Radio City."