From U.S. Figure Skating:


Imagica performs at the National TOI Competition in Hyannis, Mass. (Photo by Joanne Vassallo Jamrosz)

by Joanne Vassallo Jamrosz, special to U.S. Figure Skating Online

One is an up-and-coming unit working to make a name for itself. The other is a national and international power that is regarded as the gold standard in its sport.

On the surface, likening Redwood City Ice Theatre to Imagica Theatre On Ice is like comparing a club skater to Michelle Kwan. But if you talk to the coaches and team members, you find they have more in common than you would think.

“Enthusiasm, passion to skate, teamwork, trust in the coaching staff and a willingness to try and be a little better each year,” said Tasney Mazzarino, head coach of Imagica TOI of Boston, when asked the secret to her team’s success.

Jodi Porter, head coach and artistic director of Redwood City Ice Theatre, echoed Mazzarino’s words when she explained the appeal of Theatre On Ice.

“It is rewarding to see [the skaters’] work ethic, determination and teamwork develop through the season. I enjoy being able to take artistic risks and push the team creatively,” Porter said. “That is what Theatre On Ice is about.”

Both teams had memorable 2010-11 seasons. Imagica won the gold medal in the adult division at both the 2011 Nations Cup and the 2011 National Theatre on Ice Competition in Hyannis, Mass., while Redwood City’s junior team added a bronze medal from the 2011 National TOI Competition to its trophy case.

“What makes this team work is the skaters’ enthusiasm and commitment toward a common goal,” Mazzarino said. “Over the years the team has grown. We have worked hard to structure things so that we have procedure in place to have things flow as smoothly as possible and all the skaters know what is expected of them before the season starts.”

“We have a great group of skaters this season, and they have worked really hard and improved so much,” said Susan Blaisdell, Redwood City’s team manager and one of its coaches. “We really emphasized that the season was shorter this year–with the national competition in April instead of June–so they had to work harder, and quicker. We like them to skate their best and put their love of skating into the program.”

The success of both programs is due not only to those directly involved with the teams but also the rinks at which they skate.

Mazzarino praises the Skating Club of Boston for giving the team the resources it needs to thrive.

“Without its support, we would never be able to grow to a team this size,” Mazzarino said.

Theresa Lee, an original Imagica team member, said the weekly Sunday evening practices at the SC of Boston were greatly beneficial to the team’s development.

“The consistent ice time helped perfect skating skills over the years, and team members started striving to increase their own individual abilities,” Lee said. “Throughout the years our programs have become more complex, and as the team grew, the number of skaters on the ice created an additional challenge, but our coach handled it extremely well. As the team has grown, we’ve also had to become more efficient in our team management, and an adult TOI team was formed.”

To read the rest of the article, please see here.