L. Faustino Podcast | Alumni Award | Birth of a Vision

Lenny Faustino

Debbi Wilkes chats with  Canadian pair skater, Lenny Faustino.  Lenny with pair partner Jacinthe Larivière, were the 2003 Canadian National Champions and represented Canada at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games.

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Kenny Moir – Alumni Award, at the Ice Theatre of New York (ITNY)

A native of Vancouver Canada, Kenny Moir began his journey in figure skating at the age of 3 when his parents enrolled him, along with his sister Glenda, with the Winter Club at the end of their block. As luck would have it, the Winter Club happened to be one of British Columbia’s foremost training centers. After qualifying for Novice nationals at the age of twelve, Kenny went on to compete in many Canadian Championships resulting in a novice silver medal in 1973 and appeared in several International competitions.

In 1979 he received the Athletes Merit Award for his comeback to competitive skating after diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

In 1983 Kenny moved to New York to embark on his professional career. In 1984 he joined the teaching staff at the Sky Rink. At this time, he performed with a new company, Ice Theatre of New York, where he created roles in a variety of pieces choreographed by Rob McBrien and Douglas Webster. In 1997, Kenny graduated from Pace University with BBA. In 2003 he became Executive Director of Figure Skating at Sky Rink.

Kenny has been a member of the Sky Rink Youth Scholarship Fund Board since 1996, and is now its President. Kenny’s recent appearance at ITNY’s 2016 gala in piece choreographed 24 years earlier, a portion of which went viral on YouTube – over 4 million hits to date, makes his span of performing with ITNY 32 years.

Kenny will be honored with the ITNY Alumni Award on October 15 at the 2018 Benefit Gala and Performance along with Stephanee Grosscup.  The gala will also honor Kristi Yamaguchi, Olympic Champion, and feature Scott Hamilton as the master of ceremonies.

For more information and tickets please go to Ice Theatre of New York

Canada Ice Dance Theatre: Birth of a Vision – Volume 2

Written by Ron Vincent

Ron Vincent

Reflecting on the article I wrote back in 2001, and remembering the significant contributions of key players in the Canada Ice Dance Theatre (CIDT), I hope I may evoke further mental images by giving a little more depth to the description of the principal characters and also tell you about the Company’s activities, including our performances.

It is fair to say, I believe, that CIDT’s legacy has been various and extensive. The organization has had influence. Providing venues for performance, it has allowed the development of the artistic sensibilities of its participants, the skaters and choreographers. Many CIDT performers, young coaches, have brought greater artistry to their work to the benefit of the sport. Some such as Kevin Cottam, who credits CIDT with giving him his career direction, have become sought-after choreographers, he composed memorable programs for Kurt Browning, and as well, uniquely imaginative editions for the touring professional show, “Holiday on Ice in Europe.”

Canada Ice Dance Theatre in 1991 in North Vancouver. “First Night” Celebrations in Commedia Dell” . L-R: Karena Richardson Pazdirek, Neil Patterson, Joanne Sloman and Rod Garrosino.

In developing the Company, we chose to gain artistic support through connecting with knowledgeable figures from the theatre, and cast members were given opportunities to work with choreographers and directors from the worlds of dance and drama.

CIDT has exposed audiences to skating shows of a different kind. Without rules, choreographers’ options become wide open.

In my thirty-eight years of involvement, more than a hundred main-stage performers have graced CIDT’s ice, many of them gold medalists, former champions, and international competitors, and many of these were or became coaches.

Through our Story-Telling-On-Ice program, hundreds of children have been given an exciting theatrical experience, many of whom had never before seen a figure skating show.

Canada Ice Dance Theatre in 1994 in a “Simple Tale”.

The mandate of Canada Ice Dance Theatre, established so long ago to pursue skating as a performing art is, I believe, still a valid goal, but like dance companies, financial formulas for success will likely always include partial funding from government agencies and/or enlightened corporate sponsors, not mainly from ticket buyers. A realistic ticket price, given costs of production, would be too high. The Ice Theatre of New York, ever resourceful, has survived in part through giving performances honoring famous skaters from the competitive skating world. The on-ice activities of other companies also make this an interesting field to watch.

Canada Ice Dance Theatre has also given heart to others to create Theatres on Ice in their own cities.

Where is skating going one might ask? Interest in competitive skating, both live and on television, seems now to have been restored after our trust was betrayed at the Salt Lake City Olympics by certain judges. It turned off audiences and they lost faith in the system. But looking at both the sold-out Canadian Championships in Vancouver this year, and at the interest in the success of our competitors at the Worlds and Olympics, perhaps it has signaled that Canadians have overcome any negative feelings they may have harbored. Or it may be simply due to the passage of time healing all.

The present day competitive choreography specialists do their best to dodge the peril of sameness in a rule-heavy situation, and their ability to disguise a skater’s weaknesses and show his or her strengths is often brilliant.

2018 Stars on Ice cast

The 2018 annual “Stars on Ice” show, with so perfect a cast of many current and past Canadian world champions, was a show the likes of which we may never see again. It was clear from the tremendous audience response that people had come especially to see Olympic Champions, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, but they stayed to see a show where pure skating technique, a direct extension of competitive skating, was on prominent display and they appreciated it. For the theatrical content the underlying foundation was solid.

Skaters around the world continue to conduct their own explorations individually or in groups. Economics often dictates what is possible. Gary Beacom, for example, now situated in Germany, has found a successful formula that works for him in combining his astounding performances with workshops. But Gary is a one of a kind phenomenon, unlikely to be successfully emulated. His explorations are products of a complex and brilliant mind, and he pushes the bounds of skating physics to the extreme in a way which not everyone could handle.

Gary Beacom. Image from R. Beale Photography

Cruise ships are venues that help to keep professional skating alive, and the Queen of cruise ship choreography is our own Sarah Kawahara. For many skaters today, performing in these shows is a goal that for earlier generations used to be the Ice Follies or Ice Capades. There is reason to think that this type of entertainment will continue into the foreseeable future.

Sarah Kawahara and Ron Vincent at the 2018 Alumni Brunch in Vancouver, BC.

The artistic exploration of skating is moving in many directions simultaneously, and I’ll predict that some practitioners of the art of choreography will find suitable venues and conditions, and the funding to support their efforts, so they can focus on developing the artistic element specifically. Perhaps it will be through working with small groups or individuals using the medium of film – and skating as we know, is movement within a constant frame, and is loved by that medium. Perhaps instead or additionally there will be mixed media productions that will awaken audiences to new and interesting possibilities for excitement.

Did you hear the joke going around a few years ago based on an imagined performance, “Judgement at Nuremberg, with Brian Boitano?” To see it as a joke, one had to imagine a presentation in a narrative form – obviously an impossibility and inappropriate to the medium, but skating as an abstract form is as capable as any other in recreating the horror of this story and showing our reaction to it. Joanne McLeod accepted a similar challenge after the 9/11 tragedy in New York and Washington, and created a powerful piece for CIDT essayed by Neil Wilson.

(Alumni Committee) While the city of Victoria was CIDT’s first home, Vancouver was waiting in the wings. In our next edition, follow CIDT as they pack up and move to the mainland.

Pair team of Sandra Bezic (Skate Canada Hall of Fame member) and brother Val Bezic won the Canadian Figure Skating Championships from 1970-1974, and placed 9th at the 1972 Winter Olympic Games in Sapporo, Japan.

December 2018

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January 2019

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Contact Celina Stipanic, Alumni and Fund Development Manager at [email protected]