Time to get your skates on

Time to get your skates on

Taking to the ice can be an expensive yet rewarding pastime - as our four intrepid junior reporters discovered with the help of a professional troupe


Members of Fantastique on Ice perform at The Rink.
Members of Fantastique on Ice perform at The Rink.
Photos: Chris Lau/SCMP
Performing an elegant spin on ice skates takes years of practice. Last week, our junior reporters met members of the Australian skating troupe, Fantastique On Ice, to find out if that's true.

The troupe were in Hong Kong for a week of workshops and performances to mark the fifth anniversary of The Rink at Elements mall, in Kowloon.

Coach Richard Laidlaw gave our junior reporters a free, yet valuable skating lesson ...

Showing off

Fantastique On Ice is a jolly mix of skating, singing, dancing, acting, acrobatics - even dangerous fire breathing - on ice.

It was the first time the eight Australian performers had ever come to Hong Kong to skate.

The professional skaters wore beautiful glittering costumes as they showed off their exquisite figure-skating skills. Their sophisticated jumps, splits, and turns - performed at high speed - looked effortless.

Their performance was especially enjoyable because they were gliding and dancing to familiar, upbeat pop songs, such as Lady Gaga's Edge of Glory, Born This Way and Telephone.

Fantastique On Ice's style certainly helps brings a lot more entertainment to the skating rink.

Nola Yip

There's a price to pay

Tacye Hong, Nola Yip and Leona Chen are offered guidance by Fantastique on Ice's coach Richard Laidshaw.

Coach Richard Laidlaw says that it is difficult to be an ice skater and secure stable government funding in Australia. Skaters need to win enough points in competitions to receive the grant.

Ice skating is also a costly sport. A professional skater needs to use four pairs of skates per year; a pair of professional-standard skate boots can cost up to HK$8,000, while the blades can cost up to HK$7,000.

Skates can be damaged easily when skaters practise their jumps. They must withstand forces equal to up to seven times the skater's body weight when a skater lands on the ice. This huge force can lead to blades becoming blunter, too.

Laidlaw says ice skating is a beneficial activity for youngsters as it teaches children to set goals - such as the countless techniques that skaters must perfect. This approach can be applied to all other aspects of life.

Leona Chen

Icy evolution

Ice skating has developed a great deal over the years - both in terms of equipment and techniques.

Advances in technology mean skating blades have never been so thin. Having narrower blades offers ice skaters greater and easier control of their movements on the ice, so they can do harder tricks.

The technique of skaters has also greatly improved. Triple-turn jumps amazed us in the past; now skaters do four turns, which means a jump with five rotations will be possible soon.

Ice skaters have trained really hard to achieve such goals; these improvements mark ever greater milestones for this physical and elegant sport.

Tacye Hong

Skating 101

Richard Laidshaw gives Samantha Lau (centre) a helping hand on the ice.

Ice-skating is certainly not an easy sport. But two of the professional performers gave me some basic tips to get started.

When you skate, after you push with one of your legs, don't forget to return your leg to the original position, with both your ankles touching each other. This can help stop you from tripping over.

Also, instead of keeping your feet parallel, as you do when walking normally, skating requires you to position your feet in a V-shape. If you fail to do this, it's very likely that you'll remain on the same spot, regardless of how hard you try to push with your feet.

Samantha Lau

Young Post Junior Reporters' Club organises regular activities for our members to join. If you'd like to be part of it, send your name, age, school and contact details to reporters.club@scmp.com now, with "jun rep application" in the subject bar



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