Olympian Karen Chen headlines Aspen Skating Club’s spring show in return
Skaters will take to the ice on Saturday with two performances
After not staging a show last March because of the pandemic, the Aspen Skating Club is set to return to the Aspen Recreation Center ice for two shows on Saturday.
And to make up for the year away, the club has brought in two-time Olympic figure skater Karen Chen to headline the annual spring showcase.
“The kids are really excited to be doing another show this year,” said Teri Hooper, the club’s figurehead and lead coach. “We’ve done well with what we’ve provided our town to see for expertise and elite skating. But, yeah, this is really exciting that she’s truly off the plane and coming here, and then in two weeks goes to worlds. So, she is still training and kind of slotting us in between her main events.”
Last month, the 22-year-old Chen competed in her second Olympics and helped the United States win silver in the team event. The native Californian — her parents are originally from Taiwan — also plans to compete later this month in the world figure skating championships in France.
But, between the two biggest competitions of the season, the 2017 national champion is planning a pit stop in Aspen like she did many years ago as one of the country’s top rising talents.
“Karen skated our show when she was 14,” Hooper recalled. “She came and skated our show that year and this year when I was looking at who to bring in, I thought, ‘You know, she is going to the Olympics and it would be really cool if she could come back and visit Aspen again,’ and she agreed to come. I’m really excited to have her.”
Chen is part of an impressive list of skaters who have skated in Aspen Skating Club’s spring show, including Aspen’s own Olympian in Jeremy Abbott. Olympian Mirai Nagasu and international competitor Alex Johnson headlined in both 2019 and 2020.
While the annual spring show often gains attention because of Olympians like Chen, it’s really a showcase and fundraiser for the club skaters, who like everyone else fought through numerous pandemic-related challenges this past year in order to stay on the ice.
“Our program is doing really well right now. It’s growing,” Hooper said. “Our retention was pretty good over the pandemic. Of course, we were closed down completely for a while, but once we got up and going again, we had good retention.”
Chen will help close a program this year that features about 50 local skaters, from the little ones who are still learning to perform, to the six high schoolers who will take the ice. The 2022 theme is “Broadway on Ice” and will include songs from many of Broadway’s popular shows.
“People will enjoy the music selections we’ve made. It will be familiar, unless they know absolutely nothing about Broadway,” Hooper said. “I tried to cover different eras and I didn’t quite go in show order that way, but I tried to touch base on older ones as well as newer shows.”
Hooper said to expect songs from shows such as Chicago, Sweet Charity, West Side Story, Grease and Wizard of Oz, to start. She expects the performances will go on even after the skaters have left the ice.
“You will walk out singing Broadway songs. Whichever one clicks for you and is familiar for you,” Hooper said. “I tried to keep it family friendly, of course, because our shows are always geared toward families and children.”
There will be two shows on Saturday, the first at 2 p.m. and the second at 5:30 p.m., both at Lewis Ice Arena. Tickets can be purchased online at aspenshowtix.com or at the door; children under 5 are free, age 5 to 17 costs $10, and adult tickets are $25.
Hooper said all on-ice tickets are already sold out, but there are plenty of general admission seats remaining.
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