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Fantasy on Ice begins

Advanced level skaters (from left) Emily Quamme, Abby Claussen and Alyssa Meyers skate to “Gold,” one of 35 different skating routines. Members of the Bemidji Figure Skating Club will present the 47th annual Fantasy On Ice with the this year’s theme “Skating to my Playlist” with performance tonight at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m at the Sanford Center. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI — The 47th annual Fantasy on Ice, to be performed by the Bemidji Figure Skating Club this weekend, has involved almost half a year’s worth of work to make it as perfect as possible.

Show director Sarah Haman said Friday there is an arduous planning process for the shows as preparations typically start in September or October for the show date in March.

“It’s a lot of effort from coaches, our board members, parent volunteers,” she said.

This year’s theme is “Skating to My Playlist,” and about 80 local skaters will perform to a combination of songs chosen by them and those selected by Haman. The playlist includes everything from Motown hits to “Let It Go” from the Disney movie “Frozen.”

Even the numbers she selected still were chosen based on input from the young performers, who range in age from toddlers to high school seniors, Haman said.

“I did get lots of feedback from the skaters as to what were some of their favorite artists, what were some of the things they were listening to right now,” she said.

The club, which has existed for at least four decades, now operates as a regional hub for figure skaters. The club’s ability to skate on ice year-round is a special draw to visitors from other towns, Haman said.

“I would say that we’re one of the few clubs in northern Minnesota that has year-round ice,” she said.

The Bemidji figure skating group also sets itself apart from other local organizations by offering advanced training, Haman said. Bemidji alumni have moved on to win state competitions multiple times, participation in national competitions and Disney on Ice, she said.

In addition to figure skating, the club teaches basic hockey skating skills to youngsters during the hockey off-season, she said. The program focuses on skating rather than puck handling but it still helps them become have a more well-rounded set of abilities, she said.

“We have a USA Hockey-endorsed curriculum,” she said. “When it’s not the hockey season (local players) still have an option.”

The Fantasy on Ice shows are planned for 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday at the Sanford Center. The special guest skater will be Joanna Liu, three-time Minnesota state champion. Tickets are sold at the door or from skaters.

Zach Kayser
Zach Kayser covers local government and city issues for the Pioneer. He previously worked for the Wadena Pioneer Journal, and is an alumni of the University of Minnesota, Morris. 
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