Ice skating competition brings taste of Broadway to Wesley Chapel

Ice skaters from all over the country are in Wesley Chapel for a theatrical competition.  

For the first time, the US Figure Skating National Showcase Competition is being held in Florida at AdventHealth Center Ice. It is the highest level of competition for this type of theater on ice. 

"The theatrical side of the sport is more geared toward skaters who are there to maybe really just enjoy the love of performing and not necessarily, ‘hey, I want to go for a triple axel.’ And it also leads a lot of skaters to show skating like Disney on Ice, cruise ships," stated Jenna Dispenza, organizing chair for the event.

It’s essentially theater on ice.

"There many types of performances, including characters, they all portray a different character. There’s the emotional ones, where there’s a little more of a deep performance that’s meant to be sincere and bring out emotion. There’s also the lyrical pop, so everyone gets their pop songs in there. Kids lip sync. Interpretive, where it’s kind of like an improv, where the skaters have never heard a song before and they have to make up a program on the spot. You never know what you’re going to get and that’s the best part," Dispenza explained.

Female figure skater on ice with hat.

Competitor Olivia Bosley gushed about her experience, "I love it! It's unlimited in what you can do... There's no one to telling you what to do. You can just go out there and be you!"

Friends Jackie Charlebois and Sarah Brookshire agreed with Bosley.

Charlebois said, "Lights, camera, music, costume... It's just a way to perform like almost without the pressure of a technical competition."

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Brookshire described it this way, "It's a very different way of expressing yourself...we're both introverted. So this is a good way of expressing more emotion."

Figure skater on ice with cane.

Organizers say the National Showcase is similar to Broadway or going to a traditional theater show.

"It’s the facial expressions, the interpretation of the music, the choreography, the interaction with props, costuming," Dispenza said.

"This type of competition really just puts the spotlight on the different types of opportunities that are available in figure skating. You don’t always have to be big on the jumps and spins, there’s a different way to enjoy the sport and compete in it."

LINK: Click here to learn more about the US Figure Skating National Showcase.