In 2001, Danelle Cole and assistant Jennifer Brenson established the Los Angeles Ice Theater. The Ice Theater is a non-profit organization established to provide theatre on ice opportunities and exposure to young skaters and artists, bringing together the worlds of dance, music and theater in the process. The group's hard work and dedication has paid off in dividends - they've won the U.S. National Ice Theatre title five times and in 2011, their team finished 2nd on a World level. The group is based in Burbank, California and is associated with the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club and is representative of Theatre On Ice, a new development in ISU eligible skating that combines ice dancing, synchronized skating (precision), jumps, spins and storytelling in one package. Theatre On Ice was officially sanctioned as a competitive discipline by U.S. Figure Skating and is slowly attracting some of the sport's most creative young skaters and future choreographers. "Our skaters have experienced so many wonderful memories and opportunities," explained Cole. "There has to be a place where all figure skaters can feel they've accomplished their dreams in skating. Theatre On Ice is open to all levels and they can compete at a National competition and qualify for a World title. We can save this sport and bring back the beautiful artistry ice skating embodies." Most recently, the Ice Theater performed with Brown Lindiwe Mkhize, who plays Rafiki in the Broadway Lion King. "The first day she was singing live with the girls," explained Cole. The collaboration was featured in the Times Daily and her senior team has also filmed a Hallmark family special for Home And Family.
With the popularity and success of the competitive group's efforts has come a greater depth to the scope of what the Los Angeles Ice Theater is offering. In January, the group will be auditioning for its first Professional Ensemble group. With the Ice Theatre Of New York, Ice-Semble, American Ice Theatre and other groups offering quality development and performance opportunities to skaters in other areas, I think it's just wonderful to more growth and development of artistic/professional/performance based skating opportunities on the West Coast. I only wish that more of these opportunities would spring up NORTH of the border and allow some of the really talented, artistic skaters here in Canada more opportunities to grow and develop as artists in their OWN stead.
"This holiday season, so far I have BeBe Liang, Yebin Mok and Ellie Kawamura doing exhibition ensembles," explained Cole. She hopes to have a better idea of the progress of this group's development next month and will be working with Braden Overett to get it off the ground. If you're a professional skater or know one who would be interested in getting involved or auditioning for this new performance group, you can email Danelle at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information! The more wonderful artistic and professional skating the sport sees happen right now the better. Get involved!
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