SURREY — Elizabeth Roman has very fond memories of hitting the ice in the very first North Surrey Skating Club show, back in 1967.
“I was a candy floss – that was my costume,” she recalled with a laugh.
“I was pretty young, and that was my first year of skating.”
Today, Roman is a longtime skating instructor who came up with the idea to replicate the club’s first show, called “Under the Big Top,” in celebration of its 50th anniversary. The ice carnival will take place this Saturday (March 4) at North Surrey Recreation Centre’s old rink, with show times at 1 and 6 p.m.
It’s a special event for Roman in more ways than one.
“The circus theme is so much fun,” she raved. “I don’t remember everything that happened on the ice back then, but I do remember the lights and music and it was a really cool thing. It was a show, right? And that’s the experience all of these skaters have during their first show, that ‘Wow!’ feeling. That’s why I love doing carnivals because they all get that same feeling, that rush of excitement.”
In 1967, an organist played the music live while seated on a bench, on the ice.
“It was done very different in those days, of course, and truthfully the music is better now, better quality,” Roman noted.
She estimates that she’s taught more than a thousand skaters over the years.
“I go to the mall and people always come up to me to say hi, former students, and some of them are pregnant or have kids now. Like, how did that happen? They grow up, graduate, get married and then I see them. It’s neat.”
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PICTURED: Skating instructors Elizabeth Roman (left) and Rowena Lochhead are helping to create an “Under the Big Top” show to feature North Surrey Skating Club members on Saturday (March 4) at North Surrey rec centre. (Photo: TOM ZILLICH)
Among Roman’s former students is Rowena Lochhead, who now coaches at the club, along with her brother, Evan.
“My first carnival here was in 1996, I think,” Rowena recalled. “It was ‘Grease’ and I was a race-car driver. I was just five years old. I had a tinfoil helmet, that’s what I remember, and I was involved in the shows until a few years ago when I began coaching the lines, the program lines, doing choreography, the different groups.”
The club has about 190 members right now, including CanSkate-rs and private students. All will be featured in Saturday’s shows.
Among the youngest performers is Roman’s granddaughter, Isabella.
“She’s five, and this will be her very first show, and for me that’s pretty special,” Roman said with a wide smile. “The only thing that would have made it even more special is if she were a candy floss in the show, but she’s not.”
Roman isn’t sure exactly how long she’ll continue coaching skating, but she loves the work.
“The smiles on their faces are priceless when they learn something and think, ‘Wow, I really just did that. Did I really do that?’ Moments like that are special. It’s not an easy sport, it’s a very difficult sport, and it’s hard to achieve really high levels, and when they do they really have to work to get there. It’s a big deal when they do.”
Roman cherishes the faded old program she has from the club’s first “Under the Big Top” ice carnival.
“We aimed to give the show a similar feel to that first one, and it is,” she explained. “A few things are almost the same. We took that circus theme and, with five brains (of the lead instructors), we came up with some pretty good ideas.”
Advance tickets for the show are $8 for youth and $12 for adults, or $10/$15 at the door. For more details, Northsurreyskatingclub.ca.
Posted below are submitted photos of performers in costume for Saturday’s show: