Unique and Extraordinary

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You know team skating is me favoutite type: both synchro sakting and sport ballet on ice. When I see an adult team on ice I always feel that I am watching something absolutely unique, extraordinary, and especially when it is a sport ballet on ice team or as it is called in the USA — theatre on ice. To be a member of theatre on ice is to be a creative person who is not afraid of any difficulties. Today we are gald to present «Houston Starz» from the USA, we asked several questions to Kristi Norman, one of the skaters, and were glad to know that not only she but the whole team were invoved in answering as they were going to compete at «Theater on Ice National Competitions 2019» which took place in Birmingham, Alabama. Here is the story.

«Huston Starz»

When was your team organized, by whom, why was it ballet on ice?

The Adult Team was organized in 2014. This is our 5th season. The skating club had 2 youth teams for 10 years already. In the USA, it is called “Theater on Ice” and the focus is more theatrical. Our team was organized by an adult skater, Shannon Keeler. The purpose was to give adult skaters a creative way to keep skating competitively.

What’s the name of the team and where did it come from? How many of you are there in the team? What is the average age of the team?

The name of the team “Houston Starz” came from the name of the club at the time of formation. This year we have 14 skaters from 2 cities in Texas. Some are in their early 20s, our oldest member is age 62. Our average/median age is about 40 years old.

Choreographic exercise

Tell us several words about training process: how often?  Do you have a coach and a choreographer?

We have one hour a week to train on ice, as a group. We train a half hour off ice afterwards. One group trains in Houston. One group trains in College Station, Texas. Our coach/choreographer is is also our founder, Shannon Keeler. She is also a skater on the team.

How do you choose music and theme for free program? 

Our Choreographer chooses a theme based on inspiration she finds in old photos and stories and her background as a performer in dance and magic shows. Her father was a famous magician, so we often incorporate illusions into our stories. She finds music to support the story.

What are the main problems of the team?

Our main problems are finding ice time for practice, money for ice practice time and practicing in 2 groups 150 km apart. Also balancing work, family and skating time. We did not all share the ice together until the actual competition!

What are your competition schedule? And achievements? Any unforgettable moments?

We compete only one time per year, at our National Theater on Ice Competition. We did qualify to skate at the Nations Cup/Adult Gold Cup twice, including this year in Épinal, France. In 5 trips to our National Championships, we have medaled 4 times. In 2016 we won the National trophy over 50 Youth and Adult teams for “Best Visual Effect” for performing an illusion of levitating a skater over the ice and making her disappear!

«Houston Starz» — happy together!

What are your plans for the next season?

We already have plans for a very dramatic program with a special magical illusion!

And a couple of words from Team manager, Paula Moore, about her «Houston Starz» feeling:

I really, really love our team.  We are more than the skating and I doubt other teams call on each other with needs like we do. We care more about the person than the score.  I think this year we had the best team ever! I say team, but I really mean family.  I just really think we have something more than ice time. Each of us is carving out time/resources to do this, in many different ways. Regardless of institutional results, we have something special.  I am so proud of us.  We should always be who we are.

This year there were 12 adult teams at «Theater on Ice National Competitions 2019» and «Houston Starz» finished the seventh. We congratulate our friends because to be a team of theatre on ice is not about the results but about a creative and thrilling process. And we wish «Houston Starz» good luck from the very deep of our hearts! Be happy and stay together!

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