The Pro Skating Historical Foundation continually compiles a chronology of theatrical and professional figure skating.

Compiled by: Susan Austin. M.A.


Date Historical Event
B.C. Skating originated in Scandinavia
1st Century Skating mentioned Scandinavian literature
1180 Monk FitzStephen describes skating in “Description of London”
1396 St. Liedwi takes a terrible fall while skating and became crippled. Subsequently becomes patron Saint of skating
1660 Charles II, Duke of Monmouth learned art of skating from Dutch ladies in exchange for teaching them English country dances
1772 A Treatise on Figure Skating, by Captain Robert Jones of London – first skating text
Mid 1700 British army officers introduce skating to the North American Continent
1776 Court of Louis XVI accepted skating into the court. Marie Antoinette, a skilled dancer trained by Noverre, became a proficient skater
1795 Figure of ‘heart on one leg’ becomes universally known as a three turn
1800’s ‘Gilet Rouge’ – first artists of skating in France where expression and form were paramount
1813 Le Vrai Patineur by J. Garcin, a member of the ‘Gilet Rouge’, is first book in French
1818 Roller skating included in ballet The Artist of Winter Pleasure in Berlin
1840 Conjectured birth date of Jackson Haines
1849 Meyerbeer’s opera Le Profete – the scene ‘Anabaptist Ice Carnival’ performed on roller skates
1852 The Art of Skating by Cyclos (George Anderson) began to put order in growing repertoire and reduce figures to a system
1863 Jackson Haines first comes into fame by transferring his ballet dancing skills to ice and roller skating. Introduces theatrics and music to skating.
1864 Jackson Haines leaves U.S. to tour abroad
1867 Jackson Haines developed the “Vienna School of Skating” the beginning of International Style
1875 Jackson Haines dies in Finland
1886 First artificial ice rink, Chelsea and Charing London
1880 & 90’s First ice show in Vienna, St. Petersburg, Troppau and Munich
1892 International Skating Union founded
1896 First official world championship
1906 Ladies division established in world championships
1908 Skating introduced to the Olympics?  Ice Ballet conceived in Berlin – interrupted by WW1.
1914 “Tank Era” – Performances on small sheets of ice in restaurants, hotels etc. Sherman Hotel in Chicago installed a cabaret style dinner show
1915 Berlin Ice Ballet , “Flirting at St. Moritz” brought to the New York Hippodrome by the efforts of Irving Brokaw. Ran for 300 days before a 6,000 seat house (a record on Broadway at the time). Charlotte starred in “Flirting at St Moritz”; “The Frozen Warning” Charlotte’s first and only American film
1917 Waldorf-Astoria in New York installed an ice show
1924 Sonja Henie’s first international competition (eleven years old)
1926 “Ballets on Ice” First professional ice show in England staged at the London Coliseum theatre
1931 World Professional Competition established in England (Moved to Spain in the 1960s) Mostly ice show skaters participated.
1932 After the Olympic Games at Lake Placid, the ice became stage for lavish ice shows. Casts of more than 100, lavish sets and 30 piece orchestra. In Westover, England at the Bournemouth Ice Rink, annual ice ballets were staged
1933 April – National skating association held a competition to discover and introduce new dances suitable for rink skating (ie. waltz, tango, fox trot, etc) Sept. 28 “On Ice” with Mickey and Minnie. Animated Short. Disney Production
1936 Shipstad & Johnson’s “Ice follies” First large scale, all pro touring show. Opened in Tulsa, Oklahoma
Sonja Henie opened her own ice show in Madison Square Garden — broke records for attendance and receipts. (Then did a nine city tour) Sonja Henie made first movie, “One in a Million”. “Marina” ice ballet at the Sports Stadium in Brighton, England. Produced by Claude Langdon
1937 “Gay Blades” a touring company formed by Maribel Vinson and Karl Schaeffer. Toured U.S. “Sonja Henie with her Hollywood Ice Revue” presented by Chicago Stadium begins the first of many tours produced by Arthur Wirtz.
1938 International Ice Review – a touring show headlined by Karl Schaeffer, Maribel Vinson and Guy Owen.
1939 MGM Studios makes “Ice Follies of 1939”. Starring James Stewart and Joan Crawford. Skating scenes feature the “Ice follies” company.
1940 “Ice Capades” organized by John Harris pioneered the introduction of operettas and musicals to the ice show format
1943 “Silver Skates” Belita’s first movie
1944 “Holiday on Ice” – First show to travel with its own ice. Promoted by Emery Gilbert, Morris Chalfen and George Tyson. Republic Pictures stars Vera Ralston (Vera Hruba) in the film “Lake Placid Serenade” (later re-released as ”Winter Serenade”)
1945 “Suspense’ – Possibly Belita’s best know movie
1946 August – The US Army constructs the Casa Carioca open air nightclub in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, for US occupational personnel. Three tiers of tables for 700 diners overlook a 30X45 ft ice stage with retractable dance floor. “Ice Cycles of 1946” co-production of “Ice Follies and “Ice Capades” melds their skaters and previous production number to tour smaller North American cities.
1947 “Ice Vogues” is formed by “Holiday on Ice” to tour smaller cities.
1948 April Tom Arnolds “Ice Revue” The Palace Theatre, Manchester, England. With Cecilia Colledge. June 22 – NYC Roxy Theatre adds ice skating to its established stage shows that are performed several times a day between showings of first-run 20th Century Fox films. Roy Blakey has complete list of Roxy shows. The Stevens Hotel in Chicago installs a permanent 17X50 elevator-operated ice tank with retractable dance floor in its elegant Boulevard Room.
1949 “Ice Follies” drops out of “Ice Cycles of 1949” – “Ice Capades continues it as a 2nd year tour with lesser known skaters. Roller “Skating Vanities” makes the first of three annual, wildly successful summer appearances in Europe in London’s Wimbley Arena, Palais des Sport in Paris and Hallenstadion in Zurich.
1950 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, Casa Carioca, a nightclub ice show “Alice In Wonderland” features Lydia Veicht. Also that year, American dancer Terry Rudolph directs “Yipee-Ice-Oh” the first of her ‘theme” ice productions through 1968. The first musical on ice, “Rose Marie” starring Barbara Scott and Michael Kirby. Shows that successfully followed: “Sleeping Beauty”, “Jack and the Beanstalk” “Sinbad the Sailor” and “Babes in the Wood”. “Holiday On Ice” makes first tour in Europe
1952 First World Championship in ice dancing? The legendary “Lido Cabaret” in Paris opens a new show, “Gala” American choreographers Donn Arden and Ron Fletcher include an ice skating scene on a small tank. Ice will be incorporated in every subsequent production. TV Ed Sullivan’s “Toast of the Town” 1 hr variety show includes Sonja Henie in the first televised presentation of her famous hula number.
1953 “Holiday on Ice” first tour of the Far East includes Tokyo, Japan; Djakarta, Indonesia; Manilla, Philippines.
1956 Both 1st and 2nd year companies of “Ice Capades”(have the same title (no more “Ice Cycles”) “Aeros Eis-Revue” East Germany
1958 Sonja Henie films her last film after a 10 year absence in England “Hello London”. “C’est Magnifique” opens in the Café Continental in the Stardust Hotel, Las Vegas, NV. Created by the French Lido de Paris Cabaret and staged (as in Europe) by Donn Arden it features skater Jacqueline du Bief in “Sensations of Paris” LV Stardust/Lido productions include ice skating in 13 different editions over 31 years.
1959 “Holiday on Ice” performs in Moscow, USSR, the first American ice show seen behind the Iron Curtain.
1960 “Holiday on Ice” tours Middle East and Africa
1963 “Ice Capades” sold to Metromedia
1964 “Holiday On Ice” tours the USSR (Leningrad, Moscow and Kiev), a cultural exchangeStardust Hotel, Las Vegas, NV. Created by the French Lido de Paris Cabaret “Bravo!” with skaters Powers & Parker in “Commedia Dell’Arte”Maxi u. Ernst Baier “Berlin Eis Revue” becomes “Holiday on Ice 1964” touring Germany, melding both show’s production numbers and cast members in preparation for a tour of Asia.
1969 “Tour of World Figure Skating Champions “ an exhibition-style tour of world champion skaters produced by Tom Collins.
1970 Nov 5 – Casa Carioca club completely destroyed by fire
1973 World Professional Figure Skating Championship in Tokyo presented by Dick Button
1976 “John Curry Theatre of Skating” opens at the Cambridge Theatre, London, England
1978 John Curry’s “Ice Dancing” opens at The Felt Forum of Madison Square Garden in NYC for a two week run
1980 “Ice Follies” sold to Feld Entertainment.
1981 “Disney On Ice” presented by Feld Entertainment .
1984 John Curry’s Ice Dance Company opened at the Metropolitan Opera Center in New York City
1986 “Stars On Ice” An exhibition based show is founded by Scott Hamilton
1991 “Ice Capades” Files for bankruptcy.
1993 “Ice Capades” Bought by Dorothy Hamill.
1995 “Ice Capades” out of business
1997 American Open Professional Figure Skating Championship established by Scott Williams
2007 “Champions On Ice” presented by Tom Collins closes after 38 year run. “Blades Of Glory” a Dreamworks production starrring Will Ferrell spoofs figure skating