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Pa. rink hosting Holiday Ice Show

November 25, 1998

Ice showBy MEG H. PARTINGTON / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer




ZULLINGER, Pa. - The Christmas season will glide into Pennsylvania this weekend as little toy soldiers and Frosty the Snowman take center stage at Doris I. Billow Ice Arena.

The Holiday Ice Show at the Olympic-sized rink in Zullinger will feature amateur skaters ages 2 to 50, and one professional.

"They're all the stars," says Julianne Lesniak, program director at the rink, of the approximately 60 performers in the show. About 95 percent of the skaters take group lessons, some take private lessons and about 30 percent of them are in both, she says.

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This is the first Christmas show at the rink, which opened Dec. 19, 1997.

Jessica Nelson, 5, of Rockville, Md., will don a nightgown and carry a Teddy bear in her solo, skating to "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." During her performance, she will do some complicated moves, including a toe loop, a spin and a waltz jump, which Lesniak says beginning skaters eventually develop into an axel, then a double axel.

Jessica says she's been practicing her Christmas program during lessons, which she takes three times a week. The beginning and the end of her solo are her favorites because she gets to hold and kiss her bear, whose real name is "Nurse Teddy," she says.

Erin Benedum, 21, a professional skater who is training for the December 1999 U.S. Open, will perform alone in "O Christmas Tree" and "O Holy Night." She also will dress as Frosty the Snowman for a group performance in which she will pull some of the younger skaters onto the ice in wagons.

Benedum rented the Frosty costume - at $60 a day - for a week before the show so the children would get used to seeing her in it and not be scared of the spirited snowman on opening night.

"We're going the extra mile so the kids really have fun," Lesniak says.

Benedum is a coach at the rink, along with Lesniak and Cary Sumerland. Each choreographed parts of the show.

Some other highlights of the show include a solo performance to "Silent Night" by Laura Kasinof, 13, of Greencastle, Pa., who recently qualified to compete in a regional competition. The brother/sister duo of Patrick and Colleen Conway of Poolesville, Md., will perform together and a group of six boys will do "March of the Toy Soldiers."

Sean Guy II, 10, of Greencastle, one of the "soldiers," said one part of the number is particularly difficult: "when we fall on our butts."

There also will be a rapper Christmas song, during which the children will demonstrate some hip-hop dance moves.

"That is probably going to bring the house down," says Lesniak.

There will be plenty of elves and reindeer, including 4-year-old Morgan Williams of Hagerstown, who, as the red-nosed favorite, Rudolph, will show off the skills she has acquired in the last six months.

Students from Greencastle-Antrim High School have been painting the show's sets, the materials for which were all donated.

"The community has pulled together. I've never been in an area with so much support," Lesniak says.

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