Sunday, July 05, 2015

7 figure skating scenes in movies and TV shows NOT about skating

The Ice Princess, Cutting Edge, Blades of Glory...every skater has seen at least two out of the three I'm sure.

I think skaters are pre-programmed to seek out films, TV shows and even adverts that feature figure skating - despite knowing they'll be angered on some level by the unrealistic elements and timescales contained within. Of course everyone can knock out a double axel after three weeks of lessons, right?

But how many of these little gems did you notice? And are there more? Please do share your own in the comments.

1) Orange is the New Black

Uzo Aduba (aka Crazy Eyes) in her skating days, left.

This scene featuring my favourite character Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren was the inspiration for this blog post, actually. When I saw the episode a couple of weeks ago, I just had to Google the actress, Uzo Aduba, to find out if she was a figure skater. No non-skater could land that lovely off-ice axel, I thought. Sure enough, it turns out Uzo skated for 10 years as a youngster. No surprise.

2) Buffy the Vampire Slayer

The first time I saw this scene was long before skating was on my radar, and I recall my younger self thinking what a lovely skater Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy) was. Now I recognise the simple but elegant turns for what they really are :-)
Still, it's nice that she still has some of those skills she picked up as a child.

In the episode, Buffy refers to the "Dorothy Hamill phase" she went through while growing up.

This scene was from "What's My Line Part 1" - episode nine of Season 2. I particularly like that Buffy then kills the bad guy with her skate.

3) Rocky/Rocky VI

Shockingly, these are not films I've actually seen myself. I probably should rectify that situation, especially after being quite touched by this.

In this original one, I couldn't help but think skates would have been far easier!!

And as for this scene from Rocky Balboa (Rocky VI), in which Rocky revisits the site where the ice rink once stood with his now-deceased wife's brother, well, I must have got something in my eyes...

4) Flashdance

More well-remembered for Jennifer Beals' famous dance to Irene Cara's What a Feeling, some might also remember that her main character Alex's best friend, Jeanie, is a figure skater. In this scene, Jeanie takes part in a skating competition (under spotlights, as you do) to the song Gloria. While neither the music nor costume would actually be allowed in a competition, it's a nice scene, nonetheless.

The skating scene was  filmed at Monroeville Mall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The same mall was  used during the filming of George A Romero’s 1978 film, Dawn of the Dead.

5) Somewhere

This 2010 film features a young Elle Fanning (sister of Dakota) as the daughter of a Hollywood actor. The character is a young figure skater, and Elle (all credit to her) actually did the skating herself in the movie, despite having to learn it from scratch in about three months.

As the skating includes little spins, and jumps, this really isn't bad going from Elle (though in honesty, I can't tell you what the jumps are meant to be, as they're extremely cheaty versions!)

7) Death Parade (Anime)

Again, I haven't actually seen this series or its related film, but finding this somewhat beautiful clip has inspired me to find it and watch it, for sure.

Death Parade is a Japanese anime series spawned from a short film, revolving around the premise that souls must do battle in game form to determine their judgement in the afterlife. This character, Chiyuki, is an assistant to one of these "judges".

She suffers from amnesia, but through this scene she finally rediscover her memories of being a young figure skater. I personally love the song she skates to and will be putting it forward to my coach should I ever need a new program!


  1. Judging from how uncomfortable Sarah Michelle Geller looks on the ice, I don't think she took more than a few "Learn to Skate" classes when she was younger. And considering how young her character was, shouldn't she have preferred the skaters of the 80s and 90s to the 70s?

  2. She says she competed when she was young but I'm guessing she must just mean at a local level, like Spin, Spiral, Jump types of competition.

    When it comes to her Dorothy Hamill phase though, I would actually assume that's about right. I think people forget how long ago Buffy was actually on TV. It feels like yesterday to me, but it actually began in 1997. So if you assume the characters were about 16-17 years old at the time (I'm not sure how old they were actually supposed to be, this is my estimation), that would mean Buffy was born in 1980, so it's not too unlikely she would admire a 1970s skater. I certainly admire skaters that skated "before my time".

  3. Lots of nice finds here! Good catch on the off-ice axel, it's true that only a skater would be able to do that. That is funny on the Buffy one that she kills the bad guy with her skate. And yes, beautiful music on the last one.

    1. Thanks Mary :-) Haven't we all slayed a bad guy with a blade strike to the throat?? ;-)