Click photo to enlarge
The Figure Skating Club of Park City, comprised of skaters ages three to 18, will present its spring concert "Off to Neverland" on Friday and Saturday, May 10 and 11. (Photos by Cynthia Sandoval)

The Figure Skating Club of Park City was established in 2007 with a goal to provide support for skaters of all ages and levels.

One of the ways it has maintained that idea is through annual productions in the spring and winter.

Last spring, the club spun away from the repertory program and did a theatrical presentation of "Alice In Wonderland."

The skaters enjoyed that experience so much, the coaches decided to present another fairy tale for this year's spring concert that will be held at the Park City Ice Arena on May 10 and 11.

This time around, the 50 young athletes will present "Off to Neverland," said Kinsley Johnson, who, along with Giselle Gorder, is a show director for the Figure Skating Club of Park City.

"The story is based on 'Peter Pan,' and we have tweaked the story here and there to make it skating-friendly," Johnson said during an interview with The Park Record. "We wanted to continue doing a (theatrical performance) because we thought the kids would enjoy it more.

"They like performing and do better when they are familiar with the characters," she said. "They get to act and get into who their characters are and do a great job."

The club chose "Peter Pan" because the coaches wanted to do something everyone was familiar with, Johnson said.

"Also, 'Peter Pan' has a Tinker Bell, and every little girl is in love with her and the idea of fairies and that magical aspect of the story," she said. "So, it was like, 'OK, let's go with 'Peter Pan.'"

The problem with choosing a story is that creating a script takes a long time.

"We started writing last November, and just finished our second rehearsal," Johnson said. "But we are so proud of the kids. They work so hard."

The biggest challenge is utilizing the club members' skating abilities throughout the production.

"Our youngest is three and the oldest is 18, so when we start thinking about the story, we have to think about the kids and group them into their different levels," Johnson said. "With this show, our elite skaters have been cast as the main characters and then we have our upcoming athletes who perform the mini solos.

"Then the ones who are working to become more competitive have all the group numbers," she said. "We had to write the script with all of this in mind, and although it was difficult, we did it."

Johnson, who has been with the club since the beginning, said it helped to know the kids well, because each personality plays a big part in the production.

"It is important to pinpoint their strengths for each section," Johnson said. "It's like putting together a puzzle."

In addition to skating, the main characters will display some of their other talents.

"One of our elite athletes, Emerson Alvares, who is 16, is cast as Peter Pan and will be doing an aerial silk presentation," Johnson said. "I've been training her for about six months on the aerial segment, because I used to be an aerial artist."

While there can be a lot of flash that goes into a theatrical production, Johnson said the main focus of the concerts is for the skaters to learn to work together.

"There are a lot of life lessons that are taught through this project, such as being able to compromise and being helpful at a young age," she said. "We all work together and I think this is a great way for us to introduce how to work in the well in the world.

"People who you wouldn't think could get along do, even across age groups," she said. "It's really amazing what the kids end up doing, because they work so well together. I mean, the only word I can think of that sums it up is magic."

The program also benefits the coaches, who all worked with their students to make the show happen.

"We, for the most part, are very technical, because most of the skaters who are in the club are training to be elite athletes," Johnson said. "That's their goal, so all we really see is the technical side of things.

"But when we do something that has a little more artistic freedom, the kids also learn how to mold and melt into a character and express themselves artistically," she said. "They become these beautiful, professional performers, and not only does this help them develop their own skating, it's also a silver lining for us, because we can see what has been accomplished. And it happens right in front of our eyes."

The Figure Skating Club of Park City will present its spring production, "Off to Neverland," based on "Peter Pan," on Friday, May 10, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, May 11, at 2 p.m., at the Park City Ice Arena, 600 Gillmore Way at Quinn's Junction. Admission is $10 for ages five and older. Children younger than five are free. For more information, visit www.figureskatingclubofparkcity.org.