Sunday may bring the metro’s most memorable ice storm yet. That’s when the Oklahoma City Figure Skating Club presents The Ice Storm, a winter performance celebrating the growth of arts and culture in the city.
The story follows the Spuds family as it searches for creative ways to weather one of the state’s severe ice storms.
“The Spuds find that, because of their ice skates, they can still travel throughout the city,” said director and choreographer Chris Castleberry. “They save the Civic Center’s annual Nutcracker performance because none of the real ballerinas are able to ice skate to the venue.”
A native Oklahoman with 23 years of experience in figure skating, Castleberry assisted with choreography for the 2002 Winter Olympics’ opening and closing ceremonies in Salt Lake City. He performs regularly at Lyric Theatre and is a principal dancer with Hartel Dance Group.
“We are thrilled to have one of the best skating choreographers in the world lead this event,” said Barbara Higgs, OKC Figure Skating Club president. “This is such a beautiful event that combines the sports and the arts.”
Castleberry shares her enthusiasm. “We have so many talented young figure skaters in Oklahoma,” he said. “This is an amazing opportunity for parents to take their children to a family event, perhaps even open doors for those who might take interest in the sport.”
At 4 years old, Gabrielle Alspaugh is the youngest skater in the Storm.
“I am going to be a snow flurry and a tiny little mouse in The Nutcracker,” she said. “I am excited because skating in the spotlight is what I have always dreamed about.”
Gabrielle took an interest in the sport after seeing the Oklahoma City Barons’ Ice Girls perform at a hockey game.
“I love to skate and now I can even skate on one leg and go backwards,” she said.
Another performer, Melissa Jaggers, is a Barons Ice Girl. She began skating when she was 6.
“I think it’s neat that we will get to remind everyone of all that OKC has to offer,” said Jaggers, now 21 and a University of Central Oklahoma student. “And because we’re on ice, it’s with a twist!”
The Ice Storm leads the audience through a tour of OKC, including the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, a Thunder game, a Barons game, the OKC Ballet’s Nutcracker and the OKC Philharmonic. Skaters will perform to music from local artists.
Castleberry hopes the show will bring awareness to the city’s figure skating club.
“We’ve long been Oklahoma’s best-kept secret in entertainment … but hopefully will gain some exposure for our nationally ranked skaters,” he said. “The Ice Storm is a light-hearted celebration of all that Oklahoma City has to offer and will bring your family closer together than sitting together on the couch!”