Friday, April 23, 2010

Stars On Ice at the Q

For most people there is a perception that goes with figure skating — elegant, diva-like and strong-willed. However, Olympic ice dancer Tanith Belbin says none of those associations are true. Instead, she says "nerd" should be on that list.

She says she talked her partner, Ben Agosto, into going on a tour of the Florida Everglades just so she could feel as if she was in the opening credits of CSI: Miami.

“He said ‘I just need to get a red wig so I can be Horatio and we will go out there’,” she laughs, admitting that more often Ben is the one talking her into outdoor activities. “He’s the Bear Grylls, Man vs. Wild, guy."

Belbin’s natural habitat is indoors, on ice and on April 30 that ice will be inside Quicken Loans Arena. Belbin, along with her partner and 16 other figure skaters including men’s Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek, Olympic ice dance silver medalists Charlie White and Meryl Davis, will stop in Cleveland as part of the Stars On Ice tour.

We recently talked to Belbin about everything from her favorite part about Stars On Ice to her thoughts on Cleveland, and what it’s like dating her competition and fellow star Charlie White.

What is your favorite part about Stars on Ice?
I would say just the entire collaborative effort. It is different from any other show, where they just do the exhibition format that just features one skater, one at a time, in a roll call. This show has always had a theme, sort of a cohesive run of it, and you get to do the numbers with skaters from all generations.

What do you think about Cleveland?
We’ve been skating in Cleveland for shows and things like that almost every year since 2000. In fact the last time we were [in Cleveland] doing a show with another tour was a couple of years ago, and we were getting ready to go on the ice to start the show and the Cavs were having a meeting at [Quicken Loans Arena]. The whole team just walked by us down the hallway. They were calling my name on the ice and I was trying to get LeBron James’ autograph.

What is it like competing against the person you’re dating?
It’s interesting. Thankfully his role in my life as my boyfriend is above and beyond any other role that he takes in my mind. When we are competing we’re so focused on what we’re doing individually that it’s never having our wires crossed in our minds. I don’t know if it would work for everyone but it works for us.

If you could tell anyone anything about the Stars on Ice tour what would you say?
I would tell them that seeing skating live is absolutely nothing like seeing it on television. I know that people have said that about different sports before, but skating is one of those that you need to be there to fully take in. I have heard people for years and years who have come to their first skating event and come up to me afterward and say that this is so much better in person, you can see the speed and you can take in the full performance, you can see the facial expressions and Stars has cast itself with not only the best skaters but the best performers.”

Tickets start at $25 (plus a $3 facility fee) and can be purchased by visiting the Quicken Loans Arena website.

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