Participants from the Wissahickon Skating Club’s Spring Skating Exhibition gather on the ice just before their final bow after the show. (Photo by Christina Grierson)

by Christina Grierson

This past Saturday, the Wissahickon Skating Club hosted its Spring Skating Exhibition. Sixteen skaters from a range of different proficiencies, spanning from six to 25 years old, performed their own special routines on the ice.

This exhibition is one of two that the club puts on every year – one at the end of summer and one at the end of spring. The club often puts on an event each year called The Wisscapades, which typically showcases group numbers and synchronized teams. Exhibitions however, are focused primarily on individual skaters and give the participants a chance to get more creative with their own routines.

Julie Cardinale, a fourth year skating director at the Wissahickon Skating Club, was responsible for putting together the event, creating the playbill and doing the music edit for a few of the skaters. Cardinale is also one of the coaches at the club, even choreographing the one group number that closed the show.

“An event like this basically gives them a platform to try out performance,” Cardinale said.

The exhibition was an open invitation show for any skater to join the line up, staff and coaches included. The skaters consisted of a mix of club and non-club members. In fact, some of the participating skaters even came from neighboring rinks in the Philadelphia area.

Cardinale emphasized the significance of having a show like this one where beginners in particular can get accustomed to skating in front of an audience, saying that the event is not a competition, but more so about gaining experience.

“By having the open format, it just gives like newer skaters that are starting who haven’t joined the club yet, it gives them a chance to try out performance and see if they like it,” Cardinale said.

This event was also a way for the skaters and the club alike to get exposure from outside clubs. Family members, friends and spectators were all invited to enjoy the routines and even got the chance to throw on some skates and get on the ice once the exhibition was over.

Contrary to popular belief, ice-skating is not exclusive to the colder months. In fact, the Wissahickon Skating Club hosts a series of classes and camps throughout the summer for all ages. Starting in July, the club will have skate sessions on Tuesday nights where they demonstrate skills on the ice for skaters of all levels. They also offer different group lessons that range in costs and to wrap up the summer, they will have “Get The Edge,” a figure skating camp in August.