Jamaica Plain resident Elin Schran skated with Dorothy Hamill, performed in the Ice Capades and recently launched Joy Skate Productions, which is hosting a benefit for the veteran and military communities on February 4 on the Boston Common.
Schran answered questions about the new company, the benefit event and more.
Q: When and why did you create Joy Skate Productions?
Schran: I started Joy Skate Productions in June of 2018 to make the joy of skating accessible to more people. I love skating -- the sense of freedom you have when you’re gliding on the ice, and the sense of community that comes when you enjoy the ice with others. I want to encourage those who have never skated to give it a try, and those who are elite skating competitors to remember the importance of playing. I also want to provide high quality skating entertainment inexpensively so that enjoying an ice show can be affordable to more people.
Q: What is your background in skating?
Schran: I started skating as soon as I could walk. My mother was an Olympic Champion in 1956, and when we were little she would bring me and my sisters to the rink. She introduced us to the incredible fun of skating, and that is what I would like to pass on to others. From the time I was about 8 years old, I competed and then performed in professional tours and shows. I work with child, teen, and adult competitors and non-competitors. Lately, I’ve been working with hockey players, too!
I always enjoyed competing, but once I experienced performing in shows as a professional, I found my true love of skating. I toured with the Ice Capades, performed in shows produced by Charles Shulz, started three different show companies of my own, and I do choreography work for competitors of all levels. At every stage and turn of my career as a performer, competitor, mentor, choreographer, or motivator it has always come back to one fundamental truth -- a love of skating is the most important fuel for creation and success on the ice.
Q: Among Joy Skate's offerings are adaptive/therapeutic skating clinics. Please tell us more about those clinics.
Schran: Skating is for everyone! We provide adaptive/therapeutic workshops that are geared to differently-abled skaters. Skaters can use supportive frames to help with balance, bring their wheelchair onto the ice, and of course lean on a coach’s arm. We play games in our workshops that help with strengthening fine and gross motor skills, balance, and basic skating skills.
Q: You created IceFlow, a yoga-inspired skating class. Can you please describe that class? It probably doesn't involve mats, right?
Schran: Haha! That’s right, no mats. But lots of breath work, visualization, and stretching. An IceFlow class is the time to be in the moment, to let go of what you may have been able to do yesterday, and what you may hope to do tomorrow. It is judgment-free and designed for every skill level. The group of skaters gathers at one end of the rink and I demonstrate a step. Then we move from one end of the rink to the other doing the step together. Before each pass, we inhale light and joy, and exhale stress, expectation, and anything we don’t need to carry. The goal is not to get the step “right,” but instead to connect with the breath as we move.
Q: You previously skated in Ice Capades shows. How many shows were you in and what was that like for you?
Schran: I was fortunate to be cast in the Ice Capades show Cinderella, Frozen in Time. We toured all across North America for eight months, performing two shows a day, five or six days a week. I met the most incredible people during that time, and was exposed to a quality of skating that I had only dreamed of.
Dorothy Hamill owned the company then, and she was wonderful to work for. She poured her heart and soul into the show and created a gorgeous ballet on ice. She had us do a very strict edge class every day that British Champion John Curry had created and the technical intensity opened my eyes to a totally different way of skating than I had known. I often say that even though I had been skating for over 25 years when I started Ice Capades, it was during my time as a company member that I really learned to skate. After Ice Capades, I worked for two seasons for Charles Shulz, creator of the Peanuts cartoon, in his holiday ice show in Santa Rosa, California. It was a beautiful show that played for three weeks over Christmas and I loved everything about it!
Q: And you worked at Dorothy Hamill's Fantasy Skating Camp. What was it like working with one of the most incredible figure skaters of all-time?
Schran: Dorothy Hamill is a wonderful person. I worked with her at her camp in Nantucket for four years and the one in Scottsdale, Arizona for two years. She loves skating and created her adult skating camp to celebrate the adult skating community that, for a time, had been overlooked. She worked hard to build an environment that was focused on the joy of skating that we all share. She has been a huge inspiration to me in so many ways, including in the creation of this company.
Q: Tell us about the February 4 event.
Schran: I am thrilled to be able, with the incredible support of The Skating Club of Boston, to celebrate our veterans and military families! We are hosting a free skating party at The Boston Common Frog Pond on Feb. 4 from 7:30pm-9pm to express our gratitude to the men and women who sacrifice so much for all of us.
The Skating Club of Boston has donated ice time, rental skates, and hot cocoa. Professional coaches have volunteered their time to be on the ice helping beginners, leading games, and offering mini lessons. Space is limited, so we are asking those who are interested to sign up at onlinebooking.joyskateproductions.com.