Lake Cowichan’s next generation of figure skaters took to the ice Friday night as members of the Cowichan Lake District Skating Club, ages four to 14, shared their annual performance wrapping up the season.
The show was titled “Putting on the Glitz,” a theme reflected in the girls’ shimmering silver skirts and the boys dapper white shirts and black top hats. Most of the children were participants in the CanSkate program, which is a national beginner skating program.
Head coach Lorraine Francisty said her main goal with the CanSkate students, who range in age from four to seven, is to introduce them to the basics.
“Some of the kids started in September and couldn’t stand up and they’re all standing up now,” she said. “We hope the kids develop a love of skating. That’s what it is about.”
Francisty has been with the club for 36 years, and has had a love of skating since she first started as an eight-year-old.
In addition to working with the new skaters, Francisty also has two skaters in the pre-junior and junior levels.
“The kids that are in the pre-junior and junior are learning beyond [the basics]. Jumping and spinning and all that,” she said.
Pre-junior skaters Callie Hartshorn and Crystal Work opened the show with their performance of “All that Jazz.” Later, junior-level skater Michael Marshall took to the ice, umbrella and all, for a solo performance set to “Singing in the Rain.” And finally, 14-year-old Morgan Shyshka wowed the audience with a number called “Jazz Hot.”
Last month, Shyshka competed at the Vancouver Island Region Skating Championships and took home silver.
Kristine Sandhu, president of the Cowichan Lake District Skating Club, said she and her fellow volunteers were very proud of Shyshka and the progress shown by all the young skaters this season.
“The past two years have been a building for our club,” said Sandhu. “We had been losing skaters to join hockey or they just weren’t interested in skating anymore. So the past two seasons we’ve worked hard to promote skating, to keep it affordable and we’ve had a very successful season. We all couldn’t be more pleased.”
Sandhu said the CanSkate-level children will eventually have the option to advance to pre-junior status, which means they are eligible to compete.
“They work really hard and they’re nervous of competing, but when they get their first competition under their belt, the ones that are really eager just flourish,” she said.
The show also featured performances by visiting skaters from Duncan, Fuller Lake and Nanaimo.
The local skating club’s season runs from September until mid-March, and offers pro-rated registration anytime throughout the year.
Sandhu, who grew up in Lake Cowichan, skated as child and has always loved the sport. She urged any kids, no matter their age, to consider getting involved.
“We offer a wide variety of learn-to-skate programs,” she said. “You’re never too old or too young to learn to skate.