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5 reasons to watch a synchronized skating competition

Steel blades, ninja-like precision and chiffon skirts– synchronized skating is back at the Giant Center in Hershey for the 2016 Reflections Synchro Invitational competition.  This Monday over 100 teams from up and down the East Coast will take over the hockey ice with twizzles, mohawks, lifts and spirals, each team performing in exact unison and the speed of 20 Ovechkins.

Synchronized skating is the fastest-growing sport on ice, and fans are rooting for its inclusion in the 2022 Winter Olympics. Sixteen-year-old Alana Greenawalt, local skater and fan of synchronized skating, said “synchronized skating competitions are like no other in the sport of figure skating.”

Reflections Synchro Invitational is hosted by the Central Pennsylvania Figure Skating Club in Harrisburg, and the club’s own Team Reflections will be competing in the Beginner, Open Juvenile and Open Adult divisions.

If you want learn more about this newest incarnation of ice skating, Greenawalt has five good reasons to head to the rink and “think synch!”

Synchronized skating is chills, thrills and — sometimes — spills.

Razor-sharp blades cutting through ice in tight formation and breath-taking intersections make for an edge-of-your-seat experience. “Watching synchronized skating can be like watching NASCAR,” Greenawalt said. “Particularly when there are high-speed collisions that fling skaters down on the ice.” No one wants to see athletes fall. But make no mistake—these lovely young ladies and adorable kids are also fierce athletes.

Where else can you see female athletes who look like Vogue models?

Fit, fabulous and zhuzhed to max—you gotta love a sport that encourages competitors to make hard work look like no sweat. Imagine the Rockettes on skates,” Greenawalt said. “Synchro skaters fly across the ice in perfect unison, looking beautiful and glamorous, all while performing an interpretation of music and choreography that ranges from ballet and Broadway to hip hop and bebop.”

Competition music is the ultimate mash-up of Jay-Z, West Side Story and Disney’s "Frozen."

Figure skating program music is moving beyond Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff. Team NEXXICE from Canada, the reigning world synchronized skating champion, has skated past programs to Henry Mancini’s “Peter Gunn,” music from the movie “Edward Scissorhands,” and “Americano” by Lady Gaga. This year, the Team Reflections Open Juvenile team skates to the wild and whirling music of violinist Lindsey Stirling.

Learning the scoring system will raise your IQ.

Figure skating no longer uses a simple 6.0 scoring system. Now, skaters earn points for each element they perform — blocks, wheels, moves-in-the field —and judges look at each team’s performance quality, unison and speed across the ice. It’s a bit complicated, but once you do figure out the scoring system, you become an honorary member of MENSA.

So many makeup and hairdo ideas for your next workout at the gym.

“Costuming, hair and makeup should give some indication of a team’s competition program music and theme,” Greenawalt said. “My mom and I have a little game where we try to guess the theme of the program as soon as the team takes the ice and before the music begins.”


Reflections Synchro Invitational

When: Feb. 14-15, 2016. Competition begins 8 a.m. Monday, Feb. 15 at the Giant Center and runs all day until approximately 8 p.m.

Where: The Giant Center, 550 Hersheypark Drive, Hershey

Cost: Tickets available at the door. Admission is $15 and includes a program. Admission is free for active military with ID and kids 8 and under. $10 for seniors 60+. Giant Center parking is $8.