LAKE PLACID - There was lots of talent on display at the Saturday Night Ice Show on Aug. 24 in the 1932 Arena of the Olympic Center.
Taking part in the last show of the Lake Placid Skating summer season were more than 30 skaters performing in both group numbers and solo programs. The stars of the show were 2011 national champion and worlds competitor Ryan Bradley, as well as national medalists Amanda Evora and Michael Chau.
Bradley is perhaps best known not only for his 2011 national championship title, but also for his entertaining skating style and showmanship. When not performing in shows, he spends time guest coaching and teaching seminars.
Photo by Christie Sausa
From left, Michael Chau, Amanda Evora and Ryan Bradley pose for a photo at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid.
Bradley was based this summer in Sun Valley, Idaho, another locale that boasts a favorable skating reputation and regular Saturday Night Ice Shows. He said he was happy to be back in Lake Placid for a few days.
"Adult week has been great. I didn't think it was going to be this busy this late in the summer. Not only were there a lot of adults, but also a lot of kids still training," Bradley said. "Lake Placid has a great atmosphere, people have always come here to enjoy Lake Placid and it's so fun to skate here."
Evora's name sounds familiar to most skating fans. With former pairs partner Mark Ladwig, Evora competed in the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver and the 2010 world championships.
After stepping away from competitive skating after the 2012 season, Evora stayed within the sport as a coach, but also started skating in ice shows.
"I have been primarily focusing on coaching, but recently I have been accepting more professional ice show invitations," Evora said. "Mike (Chau) is going to a tour in Germany, so we decided that this would be a great ice show to start with to get us back into ice shows."
Chau, another national competitor, has trained alongside Evora for 10 years at the same rink. With his former pairs partner Tracy Tanovich, Chau won the 2007 national championships and the 2009 novice national championships.
He and Evora never skated together competitively, but have participated in local ice shows together.
"We've done some stuff together as a pair team for our local show, and this is our first time actually going out of state to do something like this together," Chau said. "We work really well together."
Bradley made the most of his time in Lake Placid, arriving a day early to teach lessons. As expected, his presence was inspiring and exciting to those training in Lake Placid. In addition to group lessons (for adults and kids), he also offered private coaching opportunities.
Bradley enjoys coaching and contributing to a skater's development.
"I don't coach consistently, but do a lot of guest coaching," Bradley said. "I have been working with a series of kids for the past five years (in Lake Placid), and it's great to see the improvement in the skaters. When you don't work with them every day, you really see the differences.
"I remember being a little kid and seeing top skaters come in and do the shows and that meant a lot. But when you spend a little time with us and teach and get to know us, that meant a lot to me as a skater. So the opportunity to be that person is really cool."
Like Bradley, Evora considers coaching to be rewarding.
"I think, right now I have just found the love of teaching," Evora said. "After stepping away from skating for a while, I started teaching but I didn't really know if that would be something I wanted to do. But after dedicating myself to it the last year, I thoroughly enjoy seeing the rewards of teaching and helping others in the sport."
Bradley plans to return to Sun Valley for the last of the summer season, and then will be working on a few projects.
Evora will continue to coach and perform in shows with Chau. Their involvement in the sport has not dulled their enthusiasm for skating.
"Being able to perform, the show atmosphere is very free," Bradley said. "We have this great avenue to perform and try to light up audiences, and make great friends along the way."
"Even when I was competing, I have always liked skating for the audience, hearing the applause and skating for the theatrics of it," Chau said. "In some cases, I think Ryan and I are alike. We are both hams, and it's fun ... that's why I really enjoy doing shows."
Like all of the special guests at the Saturday Night Ice Show, Bradley, Evora and Chau have enjoyed spending time in Lake Placid and hope to return in the future.
"The warmth of the community is great," Bradley said. "I always perk up my ears any time there is an opportunity to come to Lake Placid. It's always a good and exciting trip to come back."
The Lake Placid Saturday Night Ice Shows will resume next summer. For more information on Lake Placid Skating, visit www.lakeplacidskating.com.