A born athlete from Burnaby, CB,
Canada’s Donna Good-Campbell is still a force in the field of figure skating
today, as a coach and competitor at the age of 78. Donna has been part of the Ice Capades West
Company in 1957 and 1958, and has spent her life coaching, both at home in
Canada as well as in Argentina.
What has become your passion? Recently the group of skaters I met up with,
some still working, and some of us retired, we decided to compete in some adult
competitions. I decided to go for it and
entered the Adult Bronze Interpretive Group V.
This group was aged 56-80 yr. age group.
I was the oldest competitor in the Skate Canada Super Series Final at
age 77, also after having a total hip replacement. I was just recovering from the hip at the
last reunion, but I did to the Street Dance?
A 2018 Update:
At the Super Series Skate Canada, I won a Bronze Medal, as well as a silver. I was competing against skaters 18 years younger than my 78 years at that time.
I recently competed in the World
Winter Masters Games 2020 in Innsbruck Austria. The youngest competitor
in some of the sports, skiing, for example age limit is 28 and I think for us
it was 30 yrs. of age, the youngest allowed. I skate with a group of
adult ladies who call ourselves Team
Okanagan. There are 10 of us all competing at different levels
separated into age groups. I, of course, am in the most elderly
group. It was quite a challenge to do this, but all the younger ones are so
gung ho, and I can still skate a bit, so off I went. I’m not too big on
jumping due to the two hips being replaced, and being 80 yrs. of age.
The team came home with 13 medals!!
I didn’t medal because of not being able to do a qualifying jump, however, I did skate my best. I trained 3 times/week, and worked very hard to get the program together. I’m taking a bit of a rest right now, the competition ended on January 19th. It was quite an undertaking, and I actually met a girl (lady) from New Westminster who at one time trained with my old coach. So we had a few trips down memory lane. I’ll enclose my skating video, and maybe send some more photos a bit later. We skated at the Olympic Arena the WWMGames are like a mini Olympics with all the sports. This is the first year that Figure Skating has been included. So there were big opening ceremonies, etc. and they are held every 4 years.
Congratulations to Donna and the team.
You inspire us!
— JoJo Starbuck, two-time member of the United State Figure Skating Team for
the Winter Olympics, will help judge Seacoast Skating with the Stars at 2 p.m.
Saturday at Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond.
She will be
joined by U.S. Figure Skating Pairs Champion Sheryl Frank, and last year’s
Seacoast Skating with the Stars champion, Sean McGrimley, a physical education
teacher at Little Harbor School in Portsmouth.
following the format of television’s “Dancing with the Stars,” pairs six local
volunteers with professional skaters to perform a brief routine for the panel
previous years, the show also features performances by Ice Dance International
professional skaters, including Ian Lorello, Klabera Komini, Rohene Ward, Neill
Shelton, Lara Shelton, Kseniya Ponomaryova, Alissa Czisny and Collin Brubaker.
with her childhood skating partner, Ken Shelley, made skating history in 1968
when the two became the youngest pairs team America had sent to the Olympic
Games. That was followed by victories in the U.S. Pairs Championships in 1970,
1971 and 1972. They won the bronze medal at the World Championships in 1971 and
1972. In 1994, they were inducted into the United States Figure Skating Hall of
Fame. Starbuck and Shelley turned professional in 1972, headlining “Ice
Capades” for four years. In addition to designing choreography for World and
Olympic skaters, Starbuck conducts skating workshops around the world, has
performed in two feature films, and published her autobiography, “JoJo
competing with Michael Botticelli, earned the bronze medal at the U.S. Figure
Skating Championships four consecutive times, won the Eastern U.S. Pairs
Championship and finished seventh at the 1980 Winter Olympic Games.
will can weigh in on this year’s winning pair. Tickets for rink-side viewing
include public skating after the show. For details, go to strawberybanke.org.
When depicting sports in a film, authenticity is key. Before actress Margot Robbie, who received an Academy Award nomination for her lead role in the film I, Tonya, began filming, she spent four months working with the film’s choreographer, Sarah Kawahara.
Not only did Kawahara teach Robbie to figure skate, she meticulously re-created Tonya Harding’s skating programs. This involved teaching Robbie’s two skating doubles, Heidi Munger and Anna Malkova, the actual choreography as well as working with Robbie to realistically portray the former skater, fully utilizing all the skills the actress had learned.
“Margot is athletically inclined,” Kawahara said. “I took her basic abilities and tried to put them into the forefront and nurture it so that she would have an advantage when she had to skate. She’s a hard worker and she embraced the idea of being able to skate beyond just going in and out of a frame. That was advantageous.”
An Emmy Award winner for her work choreographing the opening and closing ceremonies at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Kawahara is a member of the U.S. Figure Skating, Skate Canada and Professional Skaters Association Halls of Fame. She worked with Scott Hamilton for decades, creating some of his iconic routines and choreographing the TV specials “Scott Hamilton Upside Down,” for which she won an Emmy, and “Scott Hamilton and Friends”.
Renowned throughout the skating world, Kawahara has created many individual programs and choreographed multiple television specials. She also choreographed and directed numerous ice shows for Willy Bietak Productions, including the cruise ship shows. Her first film was the 2005 Disney movie Go Figure.
“There is so much detail in what I do as a choreographer and director for shows, but when you do film the level of detail is so infinitesimal,” Kawahara said. “It’s broken down into tiny bits and then magnified. What may take five seconds [in a film] might take an entire day to shoot. There are so many different ways they need to cover the movement. It’s broken down into such tiny bits to get the emotional hit that they want.”
Many of Harding’s programs are captured on video or film, and Kawahara studied everything she could find. While keeping as close to the original as possible, she had to adapt some things to suit Robbie’s abilities, such as switching which leg Robbie used in one of Harding’s trademark high kicks.
The doubles were closer in height to Robbie, who is 5 feet, 6 inches, than Harding, who is 5 feet, 1 inch. They all wore body padding, which was particularly challenging for the doubles when doing triple jumps. Kawahara said the simplicity of 1990s-era skating took Munger and Malkova a bit of time to get comfortable with as they’ve grown up with the IJS.
“Tonya’s style of skating at the time was not decorated at all,” Kawahara said. “She was a fast skater and she spun really fast. I was lucky with Malkova because she’s a really fast, good-centered spinner. As young people who weren’t around in that era, it was interesting to hear their take on what they were looking at because I made them study the films as well.
“It wasn’t about just doing the tricks; it was about emulating the skater. Even though you’re a double, you have to be an actor and skate and stroke like this person.”
While I, Tonya required precise attention to detail and re-creating actual competitive skating, Kawahara’s work on Blades of Glory (2007) involved over-the-top comedy and a decidedly tongue-in-cheek approach to skating. She oversaw all the skating lessons for the actors, hiring Judy Blumberg, Susan Austin and Lisa-Marie Allen to work on their skating skills as per her specifications.
“I have my own set of shortcuts for teaching actors to skate, because I know what they’re going to need and what we’re going to shoot,” Kawahara said.
It varies from film to film how much skating the actors do, which is usually connected to the abilities of the actors. By example, in Blades of Glory actor Will Arnett (Stranz Van Waldenberg) was a good skater, and at points he skated with Amy Poehler’s (Fairchild Van Waldenberg) double, Tiffany Scott.
“Jon Heder (Jimmy MacElroy) really took to the ice and was a natural at it,” Kawahara recalled. “It was harder for Will Ferrell (Chazz Michael Michaels), but comical every day and he worked hard at it. He would look at me and say, ‘Backward crossovers are the most unnatural thing I have ever experienced in my life, and I consider myself an athlete.’
“Amy Poehler didn’t really like to skate, but she did it. With the small amount of skating — she could skate on and off — she could act up a storm and really sell it. I did this whole move where he lifted her and then she went down in between his legs, she reached between and he pulled her up. She could act her way through it. It was amazing.”
Kawahara used multiple skating doubles for the male leads — four for Ferrell, two each for Heder and Arnett — selected for their physical similarities to the actors because in some instances computer-generated images were used to put the actor’s face on the skater’s body. Also, ability to perform certain script-driven maneuvers came into play.
“In their narrative they wanted some crazy tricks,” Kawahara said.
Kawahara had the doubles on the ice with the actors several times, so each could see the other’s rhythm and movement.
“Actors are natural mimics, so it helped them,” she said.
One day, they were filming in an arena with about 800 people plus 1,500 “stuffies” (blow-up dolls) in the seats, and Heder and Ferrell performed a 90-second routine from start to finish. Kawahara said it was a wonderful moment because that was the one and only time they got to skate an entire program.
“It’s not just about the skating,” she said. “It’s about the lighting and the shadow and the angle and the actor’s expression.”
Recently, Kawahara has been working on the upcoming Netflix series Spinning Out. Season one consists of 10 episodes, seven of which will have skating. As opposed to a film that has one director, a series involves multiple directors and crews across the episodes.
“There are lots of skaters,” Kawahara said. In addition to Johnny Weir and Dylan Moskovitch, who have speaking roles, many skaters are involved in the action sequences. The film centers on a senior ladies competitor who has lost her nerve and is planning to quit when a Russian coach convinces her to become a pairs skater.
“It’s a lot of pairs skating,” said Kawahara, who in addition to skating programs choreographed dramatic moments that unfold on practice ice. “She’s a singles skater first, so I have singles skater doubles and I’ve got pairs skater doubles to reflect different levels of her pairs skating. When she starts to get better, there are different doubles. I have all those different layers.”
The Canadian pairs team of Evelyn Walsh and Trennt Michaud went immediately into filming after competing at the 2019 World Figure Skating Championships.
“In Spinning Out the skating choreography is bound to the story and what part of the story we’re telling,” Kawahara said. “For me, it’s music-driven and dramatically driven by dialogue. The skating is as integrated as I’ve ever seen it in a production. It is presented as an integral part of the story. They really wanted to get the emotional beat of the moment.
“It’s nice to have a learning curve at this point in my career.”
TONAWANDA, N.Y. —
We’re celebrating the women who are making Western New York shine in our City
Shapers reports this year. This week, 2 On Your Side’s Kelly Dudzik shows us
how a Western New York native is helping people with disabilities excel on the
is the Founder and President of Gliding Stars.
O’Donnell grew up in Buffalo and lives in Hamburg.
Gliding Stars more than forty years ago and was inspired by her childhood best
friend’s brother who was non-verbal. Gliding Stars is a skating program for
people who are challenged by any type of disability. It’s also a non-profit.
“I toured with
the Ice Capades, I was in the World
Professional Championships many years ago as a pro, and so skating I’ve done
for ever and ever, and I realized as a young adult that it might be helpful for
people with disabilities to learn how to skate,” says O’Donnell.
Gliding Stars has
grown to include thousands of families with chapters in five states.
like to see somebody just open up and their world comes alive when they’re on
the ice?” asked Dudzik.
“It makes your
heart just flood with joy, you know, it’s really cool. And, sometimes on the
sling walker, a little kid will come that’s never been able to move on their
own, and the ice is slippery, so there’s a viscosity of ice that’s very
different than the ground, and they’ll get in this walker that completely
supports their weight, we call it the sling seat, their little toe picks will
get in the ice and all of the sudden, their little face goes, and they never
moved before on their own, people are always moving them. That’s really
fun,” says O’Donnell.
reaction like from the families?” asked Dudzik.
know? They have a sense of hope again because it’s hard, I mean, the families
they have these kids that go through surgery after surgery, and it’s really
hard for them, you know, so I have a lot of empathy for those families, and I’m
happy to be able to help them in some way,” says O’Donnell.
fundraisers throughout the year and the big ice show in the spring. She also
has an equipment company. Rinks across the country buy her walkers to make
skating accessible to everyone.
“What kind of
advice do you have for someone who wants to do what you’re doing?” asked
“Go for it.
Find something that speaks to your heart, and just don’t be afraid,” says
In honor of Thanksgiving, and giving thanks for friends, and family,
we’re taking $10 off the current Early Bird Registration price through
Midnight (Pacific Time) Sunday, December 1st. Remember: Rates will go up
January 1st, so now is the time to take advantage of this chance to
To receive the extra $10 off each EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION you must use Code: ICRBFD.
Looking forward to getting the party started! Sincerely, Ice Capades Reunion 2020
Invented by rink owner Frank Zamboni, the ice-clearing machine celebrates its 70th anniversary this year
The Ice Capades were in Boston on New Year’s Day 1954. That
evening, the Boston Bruins were also scheduled to play in Boston Garden. The
maintenance crew was dreading clearing the ice in just a few hours in
preparation for the NHL game against the New York Rangers.
It was a
laborious process, requiring shovels, brooms, squeegees and pushing small
handheld plows around to clean the surface. It worked—sort of—but the ice
usually had an uneven finish and tended to be bumpy, which could cause the puck
to bounce in unexpected ways and skaters to lose their balance.
Bob Skrak was working for the Ice Capades that day. He operated a new piece of
equipment that smoothed the ice for the figure skaters so it was as clear as if
fresh made. Bruins management immediately took notice and ordered a unit. It
was delivered to the team in the fall.
piece of equipment—Zamboni Model E21, the first to be used by an NHL team—was
a game-changer. It was driven around Boston Garden for years by Lelo Grasso,
who would deftly tip his trademark fedora to the crowd as he circled the ice.
In 1988, when the Boston Bruins ordered a new machine, it sent Model E21 back
to the Zamboni manufacturing plant in Paramount, California, to be
restored. It is now in the collection of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada.