Over the weekend, 130 of the Island’s skaters took to the ice at the MV Ice Arena as the Martha’s Vineyard Figure Skating Club presented its 33rd Annual Ice Show. After two pandemic-induced years of not performing, the skaters were met with huge cheers from the audience.

Maia Donnelly performs her solo routine at the ice show this weekend. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Twenty-one numbers were performed by skaters ranging in age from toddler to late teens. The most experienced skaters at the Freestyle level received solo spots. Ryan Giordano was a favorite on and off the ice. A group of younger skaters dedicated a dance to Taylor Swift’s song 22 in honor of Mr. Giordano’s guidance and team spirit. Mr. Giordano is a member of the MVRHS class of ‘22. He recently achieved his second gold certification with U.S. Figure Skating and hopes to continue training so he can compete in a future Winter Olympics.

Many dances were performed by skaters of mixed levels and ages. The mingling of skill levels and specialized moves produced large production numbers where dancers formed in groups of three to four or came together in chorus line or pinwheel structures where they worked as a group.

Never too early to start skating. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Snowplow Sam, a dancing bear, entertained and encouraged the youngest of skaters as they moved across the ice in helmets, snow pants or brightly colored skirts. Freestyle-level skaters and instructors Beth O’Connor and Jane Elizabeth Taylor kept a close eye as members of the beginning (Snowglider) and intermediate (Bridge) levels glided across the ice and performed jumps, camel spins and executed foot work using the full skate blade.

The supportive strategy is a deliberate one. As show director, Ms. Taylor shared with the Gazette that “The ice show is successful because we allow people to have success where they are. At whatever point that is. Each skater has their own special skills or ability. We encourage them to step outside their comfort zones, but we celebrate what each skater does well.”

Mya O'Neill — Mark Alan Lovewell

Ms. Taylor speaks from experience. Not only is she a professional skating instructor and the club’s show director but as a teen she participated in MV Figure Skating Club programs and achieved a gold medal status.

Assistant show director Beth O’Connor described the process of putting the ice show together as an extended one.

“The show changes every year,” she said. “We rotate programs, costumes and music, so sometimes planning for an April show takes nine months.”

This year, group rehearsals began six weeks ago. Buying time on the ice is cost prohibitive and the Oak Bluffs Library donated rehearsal space. Two days a week, skaters learned their choreography and formations on a stable floor surface before moving to the ice eight days before the first performance.

Molly Crawford and Ryan Giordano display the Ukrainian colors. — Mark Alan Lovewell

The full extent of that effort was particularly felt in the finale and curtain call. All but the smallest skaters, who presumably needed to get home for an early bedtime, stretched in a line that extended almost the full length of the ice. Seeing the skaters together prompted proud and grateful cheers and brought smiles of delight to the faces of the skaters.

More pictures.