WEST ORANGE, N.J. - Local figure skaters contributed their talents for a good cause on Saturday, April 20 in the "2013 Skatetacular: Celebrating the Jersey Shore" ice show in New Jersey.
Held at the Richard J. Codey Arena at South Mountain, and hosted by the New Jersey Figure Skating Foundation in conjunction with the New Jersey Council of Figure Skating Clubs, part of the show's proceeds benefitted the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.
Approximately 25 skaters from Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Poughkeepsie and throughout New York participated in the show as the "Empire State Ensemble." Included in the group were local skaters Chiana Cerruti, Gina Fiorile, Jessica Fortune, Tiffani Healey and Christie Sausa.
Photo by Michelle O’Brian
The Empire State Ensemble figure skating team poses for a picture following the Skatetacular show in West Orange, N.J. on April 20. The show was a benefit for the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund. The Empire State Ensemble was made up of skaters from across New York, including local skaters Chiana Cerruti, Gina Fiorile, Jessica Fortune, Tiffani Healey and Christie Sausa. They were coached by Karen Courtland Kelly, who lives and coaches in Lake Placid.
Well-known coach and choreographer Karen Courtland Kelly, who lives and coaches in Lake Placid, choreographed the Ensemble's two programs and performed a step-out solo in each group number.
The first program, to Phillip Phillips "Home," incorporated flags, pinwheels and a red, white and blue guitar to symbolize the glory and beauty of America. The second program, to Kate Smith's "You'll Never Walk Alone," was a moving tribute to the survivors of Hurricane Sandy and the recent Boston tragedy. The performers skated with candles to symbolize the lives lost in those events.
Courtland Kelly explained the significance of the effort.
"I was honored to skate in the 2013 Skatetacular: Celebrating the Jersey Shore with proceeds to benefit the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund and the New Jersey Figure Skating Foundation," Courtland Kelly said. "This show was the impetus in starting a new skating theatrical/performance troupe called the Empire State Ensemble, with skating members representing different clubs from all over New York state ranging in age from 6 to 57 years 'young,' and performing diverse choreographic works with a two-fold purpose: promoting the love of skating and fostering peace."
The Empire State Ensemble was so well received, they skated three additional times during the event, including during the ceremony when New Jersey figure skating Olympians Colleen O'Connor, JoJo Starbuck and Elaine Zayak were honored for their contributions to skating. Courtland Kelly helped present the awards, and was pleased with how much support she and the Ensemble received in preparing for and executing the show programs.
"We are very grateful to Olympic Center manager Denny Allen and Poughkeepsie's McCann Ice Arena manager Laurie May for providing rehearsal time," Courtland Kelly said. "I would also like to thank the volunteers who worked tirelessly before, during and after the show to make the Ensemble's performances a success."