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Central Illinois Figure Skating Spins Up To Annual Show

Spring is here. Flowers are blooming. Trees are budding. And ice skating is peaking.

Wait, what? Ice Skating? The Central Illinois Figure Skating Club is performing its annual celebration Saturday evening at Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington.

It's the seventh year for the annual show and the figure skating community has grown by leaps and bounds. Lena Chaudhury from the club said they now have 72 skaters, as young as three on up to people in their 60s.

"Some of them are very accomplished. They have been in the national competitive pipeline," said Chaudhury.

They train all year long. The majority of club members, though, are 11 years old or younger.

The more accomplished skaters, she said can do multiple double jumps, almost triples in some cases. Double Axels, for instance have two and a half rotations.

Chaudhury said for skaters to improve and be ready for competitions they need several hours of ice time per day, plus dance training, and music appreciation.

At the elite level, what used to be called 'compulsory figures' are no longer required. Those include figure eights and other figures and lines done to show edge work and control over a skater's entire body.

Choudhury said compulsory figures no longer appear as part of competition. But, they are still taught.

Two skaters in a death spiral
Credit CIFSC
Bloomington Normal skater Myesha Choudhury in a death spiral with national champion Brandon Frazier.

"To advance to every level, they have to take and pass tests. And there are two test areas. One is called 'moves in the field.' And that is nothing but figures. You don't do jumps. You don't do spins. That is nothing but edge work, and putting clean figures and edges onto the ice,"  said Chaudhury.

For someone to compete at the senior level, they must pass eight different tests, she said.

The club will have 2019 national Pairs Silver Medallists Haven Denny and Brandon Frazier performing Saturday. They are also 2017 national champions.

The central Illinois Figure Skating Club Ice Show Celebrate the Seasons will be tomorrow evening at 5 at Grossinger Motors Arena.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.