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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Northeast TOI Festival Recap & TOI Explanation

Goofing around with my friend and team-mate, Katie! Also, TOI Festival sweatshirts!
On the last weekend in March, we drove up to Burlington, VT, for Northeast Theater on Ice Festival! I know I've mentioned Theater on Ice a lot on the blog this year...but seeing it's one of the lesser-known aspects of figure skating, I thought this would be a really good opportunity to explain it a bit more!

Simply put: theater on ice is essentially competitive Disney on Ice. We compete with two programs: the Choreographic Exercise, or CE (short program) and the Freeskate (long program). There are teams for every level of skating, and it's recognized nationally by USFSA. There are also international competitions US TOI participates in, although in Europe it's called Ballet on Ice.

Theater on Ice has two distinct styles. The first is very Americanized TOI, and it focuses on props, costumes, and a well defined storyline (think Disney on Ice). The more Americanized version is very theatrical and usually humorous. Then there's the European style, which is a lot more abstract. Rather than telling a defined story, it generally deals with themes. As the US competes more internationally, some teams are focusing more on an abstract-style, while others still embrace the more theatrical American side.

The CE is skated first, and has much tighter rules than the Freeskate. Teams must wear all black, with minimum hair and makeup, and use no props. Each year, there are guidelines put out that describe what to choreograph into the CE. For instance, this year one of the elements is a form of 20th century dance. We also have to include cannon movement, which is skaters doing a similar movement one after the other (like how you sing 'Row Row Row Your Boat' in a round...only with movement). The last element is percussive (fast, sharp) movements.

The freeskate, or long program, has virtually limitless possibilities. Unlike the CE, there are pretty much no restrictions or're allowed free use of costumes, props, and choreography! Everyone on our team loves our Freeskate. :)

So at Northeast TOI Festival, we had a critique. Basically, you skate each routine exactly like you would in competition, and the judges meet with the coaches to discuss any changes that need to be made before competition. Luckily, we worked really hard beforehand and had a very smooth critique! One of our best skates ever, and the judges were very pleased with it. :)

It ended up being a 12+hour day at the rink, but that meant lots of time for team bonding! With only a few bumps, it was a great weekend with great people!

A few highlights:

-Creepily walking back and forth throughout the entire hotel with Katie.
-Getting bagels with Katie for breakfast before the critique.
-Cheering on other TOI Boston teams and being obnoxiously loud about it.
-Getting to be in costume with an audience and have an EPIC skate.
-Down time chilling outside of the locker-room when it got a bit loud (with Katie!).
-Stopping for Ben & Jerry's on the way home! Definitely recommend The Tonight Dough.

Happy Weekend! xoxo

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