Dancing through the decades

Steamboat Springs Figure Skating Club presented a three-day ice spectacular

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— Dressed in feather boas and bell-bottomed sparkling pants with hot pink sequined shirts wrapped around their waists, Elizabeth Stoll and Annie and Alley Eggleston watched Thursday's ice show dress rehearsal from Howelsen Ice Arena's bleachers.

In front of them on the ice were their instructors in black wigs doing exaggerated air guitars as they rocked out to Kiss in between split jumps and spins. Their black and white Kiss masks were tossed aside.

The group of young girls, who were waiting to perform their skating routine to "The Hustle" and "Dancing Queen," had to hustle to the ice after watching their instructors and before reviving the disco moves of the '70s on ice. But they did not leave the bleachers before claiming that the next three days, which held three skating exhibitions this past weekend, were the biggest moments of the skating year and the most fun.

This weekend more than 50 Steamboat figure skaters showcased their talents as they skated through the music of the decades in the annual ice show. From Elvis to Janis Joplin to Madonna, the club's ice show featured performers and music from the '50s to the '80s.

"This is the best part of the whole year," the 14-year-old Mackenzie Frank said. "It's what we skate for." She performed as a Temptation and Prince.

After a season of competing throughout the state, the end-of-year program is a chance for the skaters to relax and kick up their skates.

Over the past few years, the annual ice show has had themes such as "The Wizard of Oz," around the world and the musical "Grease."

Skate director Courtney Gill said instructor Kim Haggerty and she came up with the idea of Skating Through the Decades in February as they made the six-hour trip to Salt Lake City for the Olympics. On the way back, they finalized the music selection, and the skaters have been practicing for the performance for four weeks.

"It's been a lot of fun this year," Gill said.

With 50 skaters in the program, this year is the biggest ice show the club has had. The Steamboat skating program has grown in the past few years and this season saw 80 children in the Learn to Skate program, a record-breaking number. A combination of an upgraded ice arena and Olympic excitement contributed to the increase.

And 4-year old Emilee Tritz, who skated to the Go-Go's in a bright yellow hat and boots, is one of the many young girls with Olympic dreams.

"(I joined) so I could be in the Olympics," she said after Thursday's rehearsal.

She and a handful of other skaters will give one last music-inspired performance at 2 p.m. today at Howelsen.

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