Stars on Ice coming to Truro

Kurt Browning, Elvis Stojko headlining




SaltWire Network

Truro News

TRURO — The internationally renowned Stars on Ice tour is bringing some of the world’s top figure skaters to Canadian audiences, and its holiday stop in Truro on Dec. 4 marks the show’s first-ever visit to the Nova Scotian town. “Kevin Bushey, the director of events and live entertainment for the (Rath Eastlink Community Centre), contacted us in fall 2021 to inquire about bringing the show to Truro,” said Stars on Ice producer Byron Allen. “It was definitely a market we felt would appreciate Stars on Ice, and our holiday show felt like the perfect performance to bring to Truro for our first visit.” It is the only stop in mainland Nova Scotia for the tour, with another show in Sydney on Dec. 3 and a debut in St. John’s on Dec. 1. Fans in Halifax can expect a visit in late April during next year’s regular tour. Canadian skating icon Kurt Browning, who has been a prominent performer in the show for much of its history, told Saltwire Network that he has been revelling being back to in-person performances and is preparing for the return of the holiday tour, which has a “more robust covering” of Canada than usual. It is amazing to watch how figure skating stars each bring Christmas to life out on the ice, said Browning. “You're going to get to see some really technical skating, but in the freedom of it being a holiday skating show, then you're going to see the creativity,” said the co-headliner. “And that's when figure skating really shines. When the rules are dropped … that's when the creativity, the musicality, the artistry of figure skating really blossoms.” Browning, who is known for his entertaining hits, has been busy choreographing a Bing Crosby medley which contains a bit of humour and charm. He is especially looking forward to having fun working with U.S. skater Alissa Czisnyin – the couple recently got married and will be playing off each other in the program. “It's hard to contain my imagination, or my inkling to try to get a giggle out of people,” said Browning. “It's not really a comedy, but I have a record player and the record player doesn't agree with me. It's just doing what it wants, so I'm trying to respond to it.” Browning is also considering bringing back a favourite hat program he last performed in 2015 which is full of tricks where he is “entertaining through the hat.” The forever athlete, who never seems to stop, said in recent years he has been giving himself more permission to be realistic about his capabilities on the ice – which he casually said includes triple and double axels. The diverse cast of all ages also draws in wide appeal. Dancers Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje and free pair Kirsten Moore-towers and Michael Marinaro will show the power and grace of their combined strength. Also dazzling audiences will be Elladj Baldé, who is an active voice for Black skaters and recently co-founded the Figure Skating Diversity and Inclusion Alliance. He has also been a social media hit for showcasing skating outside conventional norms – including some pretty cool backflips. “Balde has really proven himself to be one of the toplevel skaters in the world and he brings kind of his own look on bringing dance and fashion out onto the ice,” said Browning. “He brings people to the rink that don't usually come to the rink to see skating, which makes for a diverse crowd, and it’s so much fun.” The star-studded cast also reflects the huge leaps of changes in the world of figure skating that Browning has witnessed over the years, from Brian Orser bringing in the triple axel, to Browning being the lucky “fellow who tripped over the triple and did the quad,” to recently watching “every single boy” at practice during 2022 Skate Canada International doing quads. Some of the youngest stars include Nam Nguyen, world silver medalist Satoko Miyahara and Mariah Bell, who are all senior champions in their home countries. “This sport, technically, is skyrocketing, especially in the last decade,” said Browning. “Both women and men events have now got quads in them.” Some young fans will be watching – all members of the Truro Figure Skating Club were lucky to have tickets gifted from the RECC. “We're a very young club right now,” said coach Annette Hiltz. “Our skaters are all very tiny and very low level. So for them to be able to go in their community and watch skating at that level is just extremely exciting for them … we've never had anything like that here and it's an amazing opportunity.” The concept of a triple axel is not quite within their understanding, but the littlest ones know something big is coming and say they are excited to see the jumps and spins. It will be a chance for them to learn all about the biggest stars in skating. “I think it'll be cool because we'll get to see how really good jumps are done by professionals,” said 13-year-old Molly Johnson. Addienna Halverson, 15, has seen Stars on Ice in Halifax with her aunt and is awed by the pairs skating. “I don't really like the city, so I was excited that it was coming closer,” said Addienna. The memorable opportunity will also be inspirational for the dedicated skaters. “I like the sound of the ice when your skate cuts into it," said Addienna, about the sport. “I like to be able to wow people.” So far, ticket sales have been going strong. “We have a lot of hockey events, we've got a lot of concerts, but we were happy to put this one on because it was something a little different,” said Mike Smith, communications and partnerships director for the RECC. “Stars on Ice has been (around) for quite some time, so it's kind of cool for us to be able to get events that appeal to a broader audience.” Other male Canadian icons coming back who have made leaps in the skating world include longtime choreographer Jeffrey Buttle and co-headliner Elvis Stojko. “Kurt Browning, Elvis Stojko … those are household names for people of my generation,” Smith continued. “I challenge you to name two other Elvis’. If you're going to ask anybody, most people are going to say Elvis Stojko is one of them, Elvis Presley the other. I can't even think of a third.” Having grown up skating in rural Alberta, Browning said nothing beats in-person performances to help inspire the next generation of skaters. “I don't shy away from going to places that are off the beaten track and trying to reach as much of Canada as I can with my teaching and my performing," said Browning. “I think it's important that we don't keep going back to the same cities all the time.” Co-founded by Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton in 1986, Stars on Ice has been entertaining and bringing awe for generations. “Elvis and I kind of look at each other going, ‘How you doing, you're doing OK? I'm doing OK. So let's do it again,’” said Browning. “And it's kind of fun for us too. It's almost like time travel. We've been obviously teammates on teams back in the early '90s and yet here it is, 2022, and we're still doing shows together.