WHO KNEW? …that on a Sunday in the fall of 1969 a skating open house at the Michael Kirby Skating School River Forest IL, would change my life.
One Sunday afternoon in 1969, my mom took my sister Barbara and me to a skating open house at the Michael Kirby Ice Skating School in River Forest. It was there that I was to put on my first pair of skates and watch as Norah Kirby helped my sister lace up her first pair. In an instant we fell in love with skating. Mom signed us both up for classes and soon we entered local competitions and participated in the Kirby school ice recitals. We could not get enough of skating and learning new jumps, spins and tricks.
The Chicagoland Kirby schools closed in 1973 but former students are still known today as “Kirby kids”. Many of us regrouped at the Northbrook Park District Ice Arena. Einar Jonland (ISIA founding board member) and Frances Dorsey Friesen (two time US National Figure Skating medalist and principal skater in the Ice Follies), taught a competitive figure skating program with a strong emphasis on show skating. The annual show NORTHBROOK ON ICE, directed by Fran, was a highly anticipated community event and also proved to be great preparation for joining a professional ice show. Thanks to Michael Kirby, and the direction of Einar and Fran, I am one of many Chicago area skaters to pursue a successful professional skating career. Starting in 1977 I joined the ICE CAPADES East Company production of MAKE A WISH starring Dorothy Hamill with eight fellow Northbrook skaters. A total of ten skaters from Chicago were hired that year with eight of us from the Northbrook Ice Arena, a testament to the program’s success. I continued performing with the ICE CAPADES in the 1978-79 East Company production of STARSTRUCK, the 1980-81 East Company production of LIGHT UP THE ICE starring Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner, as well as the 1981-82 West Company tour of LIGHT UP THE ICE. In the subsequent years many more Northbrook skaters would join professional skating shows, in total forty six. (see list below)
Without a doubt, ICE CAPADES was an exciting glamorous experience and showcased the hottest and most innovative ice skating talents from around the world. The skaters, choreographers and staff became a tight-knit family with lasting bonds into today and tomorrow. After Ice Capades, I pursued a successful career as a graphic artist in Los Angeles, London and currently Chicago. While I enjoy my work today, I also treasure the cherished friends and fantastic experiences that figure skating enabled.
PHOTOSTRIP: 1969 Barb skating with Michael Kirby • 1970 on our way to a Kirby School recital, Barb and Ted • 1977 Ice Capades cast Chicago skaters: Kathy Porter, Debbie Mason, Debbie Lorenzo, Brad Doud, June Eagleton, Laura Petrovskis, Stephanie Perom, Beth Weinstein, Lori Porowinski and Ted Bogdanowicz • 1980 Ted Bogdanowicz, Frances Dorsey Friesen, Barbara Bogdanowicz • 1981 Ted Bogdanowicz
Northbrook skating talent that joined professional ice shows: Darlene Arnieri, Kim Barth, Barbara Bogdanowicz, Ted Bogdanowicz, Julianna Cashman, Patricia Cashman, Deborah Casanzio, Tom Cerniak, Amy Coe, Melissa Coe, Gina DiTardi, Brad Doud, June Eagleton, Lilli Erickson, Florence Erie, Tracy Forbes, Mark Forbes, Jennifer Johnson, Debbie Lorenzo, Dawn Lorenzo, Heidi Mallace, Jenny Martorano, Winfred Mayer, Jan O’Brien, Paula Orbeck, Jennifer Ostrem, Karen Ostrem, Lisa Oswald, Linda Paulsen, Laura Petrovskis, Nancy Pirwitz, Lori Porowinski, Kathy Porter, Dorsey Plummer, Deanna Reczek, Jill Reiter, Karen Reiter, Valerie Puzzo, Dawn Rogner, Barbara Russell, Chuck Shaull, Judy Shaull, Steve Shaull, Sue Shaull, Grace Trautwein, Bebbie Menzie Wells
More famed Kirby skaters include David Kirby, David Santee, Jimmy Santee, Will Grendall and Nancy Burian.
Submitted by Ted Bogdanowicz