For the second year, Izzy and I brought in the spring by going to the Stars on Ice show (sponsored by Smuckers -- strawberry jam). We both enjoyed it very much. It's held at the huge Verizon center in mid-town DC (so to speak) and the audience was again a cross-section of typical Americans, with perhaps mother-daughter pairs slightly more frequent than other pairs. I missed John Zimmerman from last year as he is in personality someone who overtly connects to the audience, and rouses the group itself to more jollity, more seeming spontaneous repeats. Here he is from another performance with a partner.
But Todd Eldredge:
a real professional, a controlled able dance, was there again, along with a few other fine long-time skaters from last year, new ones and guest stars (relative new comers who are rising in the world of ice-skating and might become cast members eventually).
As this is the fourth or fifth time I've gone with Izzy to watch ice-skating live, I begin to feel I am understanding what the deep apeal of this dance-sport or ice athletics-as-ballet dancing is: I don't think it's in seeing the occasional daredevil jumps, leaps, figures, spins, defiances of gravity, and remarkable pair interactions (boy flings girl about, holding on to her for stability). Rather it's in the basic quiet swirling about on ice to alluring music under a beautiful light show. I at least lend myself to what's happening and feel a release, a vicarious enjoyment of graceful suspension and distancing away of the outer world. It's a kind of self-absorbed oblivion acted out in front of spectators. To reconfigure the way the dancers do, they must let go inhibitions in a controlled way:
Equally compelling, but more in the vein of exhilaration and fun are the group dances interspersed with the couples and singles. Strobe lights can help here but they are the outward decor of the act of dancing on ice itself. A beat is built up that makes all the people together (from 11 to as many as 20 or more) seems to project out to the audience and swathe everyone:
At the end of the second act, traditionally the stars throw stuffed small strawberries. Izzy and I were too far away last time; this time the stars threw them for such a short interval of time.
Still the dancing went on, and that's the thing one goes for. I used to love to dance, and I've tried to ice-skate. As i watch I feel my own body responding to the rhythms and beat and light and images (of love romance or modern tough-dancing). I wish at such moments, it could go on forever.
Izzy helps herself do this by having written a novel which is at a publisher's: Romance and Ice Skate. See her journal, Friday, April 9, 2010.
Tomorrow the point-to-point races on an ex-plantation deep in Virginia; this too brings in the spring as these hunting clubs take time off for the fxes to breed.