Watching Stars on Ice :: A Former Figure Skater’s Take

Stars on Ice long Island
[outfit_details]On HK: Nike Cropped Tee (XS), Nike Pro Leggings, Denim Jacket (also here), Nike Air Max Sneakers, Kendra Scott Earrings c/o
On Nathan: Nike Sportswear Sweatshirt (comes in a few prints/colors) | On Vincent: Nike Air Half Zip[/outfit_details]

Wearing a simple navy blue-button down over a white t-shirt and black slacks, Nathan Chen flies across the ice to a self-choreographed program. The crowd inside the NYCB LIVE’S Nassau Coliseum is entranced by him as he completes his program, set to a song titled “Next to Me” by Otto Knows. This was the third time I’ve gotten to see Nathan skate live and it’s obvious he has gotten better each time.

Nathan, along with some of America’s top figure skaters, are on tour with Stars on Ice. The tour will be stopping in 13 cities and bringing world-class figure skating to crowds across the country. As a former figure skater, it’s always a treat to watch skating of this caliber in person. As I mentioned in this previous post, Johnny and I happened to be in New York City the few days before the show’s Long Island stop for work. Figure skating will always be a big part of my life, so I’m excited to share my Stars on Ice experience.

Stars on Ice in Long Island

Before the show, Johnny and I got the chance to watch the Pre-Show Warm-up. This is when all the skaters get a chance to get a feel for the ice, warm-up their elements and run-through their programs. While I love watching live performances, I always really enjoy the warm-ups because the skaters are in their own world, relaxed and more casual. Plus, we got to sit right on the ice, too! For me, this definitely felt a little surreal.

The ice for Stars on Ice is super small. At least ten or so feet are taken off each of the four sides for extra on-ice seating. If you can snag one of these seats for the show, it’s absolutely worth it! The only downside is for the skaters who have to adjust to skating on a smaller sheet of ice. However, for the audience, you’re up close and personal. I recommend Stars on Ice to everyone, whether you’re a figure skating fan or just looking for a fun outing. It’s family friendly and who knows? You or your little ones may walk away feeling inspired to take the ice.

Figure Skating is such a beautiful sport. It’s fun to take part in but can be very hard. I remember Johnny saying he had a newfound appreciation for skating after getting on the ice himself. What these figure skaters do is the peak of what’s possible. Even though it’s not a live competition, there is still lots of adrenaline, energy and of course, showmanship.

Hoang-Kim Cung and Nathan Chen at Stars on Ice in Long Island

It was during the pre-show warm-up I got the chance to meet both Nathan Chen and Vincent Zhou. As a journalist and Miss Nebraska USA 2015, I’ve gotten the opportunity to meet some incredible people. But I’ll admit, I was probably a bit more star struck than I originally planned for. Nathan was very sweet, genuine and humble. It’s pretty obvious from my social media, I’m a huge fan, so this was a very cool moment for me. I’ve juggled a lot of things in my life, skating, school, working as a journalist, training for Miss USA, this blog (which was like another full-time job)… it’s very admirable and also a little insane, how Nathan is able to accomplish what he’s doing. His ability to impress me grows each day and he’s a prime example of what’s possible for the younger generation.

Afterward, Nathan started running through his first exhibition number. It still blows my mind how effortless his jumps are – from the takeoff to his landing. He moves with such ease on the ice, whether he’s doing footwork, choreography or just stroking across the ice. I’ve noticed this before, but it really stood out how flexible and nimble Nathan’s ankles and feet are. I really think it’s the foundation to his technique and swagger on the ice.

Nathan’s Mom and older sister were actually at the show to support him and it was so endearing watching their relationship. It really reminded me of all the sacrifices my Mom made for me more than a decade ago when I pursued this sport. I have so much respect for all the Moms who do anything and everything to help their children reach their ultimate goal.

Hoang-Kim Cung and Vincent Zhou at Stars on Ice in Long Island

Vincent was also very kind and humble. I didn’t get a chance to see him warm-up but before the show, Vincent and Bradie Tennell did the ice breaker. It’s a chance for local skaters to ask them questions and it was quite cute when one of the skaters asked Vincent how old he was when he landed his double axel. He answered 7-years-old, then after a moment, corrected himself by saying that actually might have been his single axel, but he got his double axel when he was probably eight. The axel jump is the hardest jump in figure skating because of its forward takeoff. Therefore, you have an extra half rotation in order to complete the jump and land backward. Double axels were the death of me, to put it bluntly, ha!

I know I’m not even that old, but it’s so refreshing to see the sparkle and energy from younger skaters when they get to chat with their idols. Such a great reminder the love for the sport is still there and well. It’s great Stars on Ice gives the local skaters this opportunity. It is definitely once in a lifetime.

My friend Jordan Cowan (@OnIcePerspectives) is an incredible on-ice cinematographer and photographer. He was actually hired by Stars on Ice to create exclusive video content for them (imagine if a skater was following Nathan Chen with a camera on the ice, cool right?). I’m so excited to see the show through his lens. It’s always a treat.

The show opens up with a high-energy group number consisting of the main cast members. You’re immediately drawn in and revved up for the show. I actually got the chance to watch the first three numbers from the ice seats. It’s definitely the best place to watch the show! It’s interesting because when watching competitions, I love watching individual skaters. However, during shows group numbers are some of my favorites! It’s a new setting and you won’t see them outside of shows such as Stars on Ice.

Stars on Ice Group Number in Long IslandBradie Tennell skates to Diamond at Stars on Ice in Long IslandVincent Zhou skates to a medley of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Made in China at Stars on Ice in Long Island

Right after the group number, Bradie takes the ice. It’s been great to watch her grow into her own style and be so comfortable out on the ice. Vincent had a really fun number to a mix of his long-program music, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Made in China.

Johnny and I truly love each and every skater on this tour. I would rewatch every single program if I could. Some notables we really enjoyed were Mirai Nagasu, Maia and Alex Shibutani and Jeremy Abbott. Of course, we loved Nathan Chen’s programs.

Maia and Alex Shibutani skate to Coldplay at Stars on Ice in Long Island Nathan Chen skates to Next to Me at Stars on Ice in Long Island Nathan Chen skates to Next to Me at Stars on Ice in Long Island Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donahue at Stars on Ice 2019 in Long Island

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