Dazzling fashions take the ice

Published 5:57 pm Thursday, March 5, 2009

What seems like a hobby to some is to others, their life and even their dreams.

Only an occasional skater, I have likely been spotted on the ice once in the past five years. This makes me all the more astonished by four young ladies I recently had the pleasure of meeting.

Among their intense practices and the stress of the looming competition, 10-year-old Ava Michl, 6-year-old Lindsey Perry, 7-year-old Jillian Daugherty, and 10-year-old Emmie Prewitt took the time to let me quiz them on the skating lingo, their well-rehearsed routines, and more importantly, their skating attire.

These girls are among many children ages 4 to 14 who will be competing Saturday in the Blades in ‘Bama competition at the Pelham Civic Complex.

Both Ava and Emmie have been dancing around the ice for about six years. Ava is a native of Helena and will be competing in preliminary on Saturday and testing for the juvenile division Sunday. She has competed in at least seven competitions placing anywhere from first to last. The tallest of the group, her stunning dark blue outfit was hand designed by Charity DeMotte with $100 worth of Swarovski Crystals added for flair.

The task of hand applying these heavily faceted jewels is common on the ice. All the moms agreed this was a relatively inexpensive way to jazz up the uniform. With the small designer jewels averaging $12/gross (125 gems), the cost of their shine still adds up quickly.

Emmie resides in Hoover and prides herself on placing second and fourth in a previous Blades in ‘Bama competition. She competes not only in the solo category, but in synchronized as well. In the later of the two, Emmie skates with 12 other girls in a synchronized routine, one of four the Birmingham Figure Skating Club offers. She will be competing in Freestyle 2 to add to her repertoire of four competitions. As for her apparel, Emmie and her mom often shop online for something that is sure to sparkle in the rink.

Seven-year-old Jillian had a simple reply to her ensemble selection.

“My dress is blue because I am dancing to Cinderella,” she said with a matter of fact look. Of course! She competes on the Freestyle 1-4 levels and says her main consideration in selecting a skirted leotard is comfort. Her mom agrees that the outfits can often be itchy and velour makes for a good comfort choice as well as providing warmth for the girls on the ice. They are lucky to have their costumes hand-made by Anne-Marie Gamache in Biloxi, MS. Jillian has been practicing her routine for Saturday’s competition since October and can be found at the rink up to five days out of the week.

The girls all seemed eager to get on the ice and happy to be showing their skills. The youngest of the gang, Lindsey, is a level eight skater from Alabaster. She, like Emmie, competes in both solo and synchronized skating. Also like many of the other girls, Lindsey finds most of her outfits at the Pelham Civic Complex when the skaters hold consignment sales. This allows the girls to sell their too-small uniforms in exchange for new ones. Lindsey admits to picking her outfits based on stones and sparkles. She also competes with glitter in her hair for added twinkle on the ice. She has placed first in the music program and second in compulsory. Her one and a half years of skating practice will be put to the test as she competes in her shimmering white ensemble on Saturday.

These four amazing girls are among so many that have accomplished great skills in their young age. They are all eager to show off their talent at the competition this weekend.