2012 Benefit Gala Performance - Photo by Norbert Schramm
2020-2021 Season Performers:
Ensemble Director: Elisa Angeli
Armen Agaian, Angela Chiang, Sarah France, Kate Gauthier, Jennifer Gruver, Ale Izquierdo, Theron James, Valerie Levine, Freddie Moore, Aaron Singletary, Matt Thomas and Sally Jeanne Watkins. Figures performer Kate Mangiardi.
Guest Performers: Elladj Baldé, Zabato Bebe, Liz Schmidt and Kaitlyn Weaver
Guest Host of "Pivoting Through The Pandemic" Jason Brown
ELISA ANGELI is an Italian ice dancer with recognition from the Italian Federation for Ice Skating, who studied Ballet with Ludmilla Vlassova (Bolshoi) and Giovanna Franzosi in Milan, and with Christine Wright at the Gibney Dance Center. She also studied Modern and Contemporary Dance at the Open Dance Center, New York, and at the Music, Art and Shows School, Milan. She studied Aerial Silks at the Streb Lab and at the Trapeze School in New York. Elisa had several years of contortion and extreme flexibility classes with J. Noan and O. Karmansky. Her expertise as a circus arts specialist allows Elisa to bring a unique element of excitement when skating as a principal performer and aerialist with Ice Theatre of New York®. In 2009, Elisa participated with ITNY at the Premiere of “Wintuk” by Cirque du Soleil at Madison Square Garden. In Italy, she was an aerialist with the tour “Italian Champions on Ice,” with Ghiaccio Spettacolo, and performed in Munich with Spotlight Productions. Elisa has been with ITNY since 2008, and was on ITNY’s 2008 tour in France. In 2015 she became ITNY’s Ensemble Director. Elisa also works with Cirque-tacular Entertainment as an aerialist (since 2014), with which she performed in the show “The Art of Circus” in September 2016.
ARMEN AGAIAN has been ice skating since 2002. Armen was a 5-time National Champion in Georgia and participated in the Junior World Championships three times. He has also participated in the 2013 Youth Olympic games, the Junior Grand Prix (2012-2015) and 2016 European Championships. Armen is now a skating coach in New York and is thrilled to have been a part of Ice Theatre of New York® since 2018.
ELLADJ BALDE is a Canadian former competitive figure skater. His mother is from Russia and his dad is from Guinea. He was born in Moscow and immigrated to Montreal at 2 years old. He was on the National Team for Canada for over a decade skating competitively. He speaks three languages fluently: English, French and Russian. Elladj Baldé is a frequent guest performer with ITNY.
Prior to COVID he was doing guest performances on tours all over the world, including Spain, Japan, Switzerland, Korea, and Russia. He is in-demand as a show skater and it has kept him very busy since his retirement from competitive figure skating. While unable to travel due to COVID, he decided to focus on his activism and recently started a non-profit organization called the Figure Skating Diversity and Inclusion Alliance. The organization is dedicated to increasing representation and accessibility to the BIPOC community through many exciting initiatives. While it has been a lot of work, he is very excited about the process they have been making. He has recently started a relationship with the Hockey Diversity Alliance, run by Kim Aliu and Evander Kane, and many other top NHL players.
Balde has had multiple videos go viral on TikTok and Instagram with upwards of 13 million views. These videos have been reposted by the likes of Jada Pinkett Smith, Jennifer Aniston, Complex Magazine, Jesse Reyez, Sony Music, Saweetie, Dan Levy, and many more.
Balde’s goal is to make figure skating cool again and bring it back into the mainstream culture. He wants to inspire young boys to pursue their passion and not be afraid to tap into their artistic and emotional side. He wants young BIPOC skaters to see him and feel like there is a place for them in this sport. Lastly, he wants to show all figure skaters that beyond the competitions, this sport is an art form that anyone can use to express oneself.
When Zabato was a little boy, performers on stage, who were capable of mesmerizing the audience with their tricks, their looks and their ability to tell a story, fascinated him. Growing up in Vienna, Austria, and being the son of a professional African dancer and a Professor of Arts, he was always very interested in creatively combining different forms of art and entertainment.
During his career as an athlete he competed in many national and international competitions. The next step for him was to perform in ice shows.
Since making the transition from amateur skating to professional skating, Zabato has excited audiences all over the world. Some of these include, Israel, Paris, Germany, Qatar, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, Canada almost every state in the USA and more. Being exposed to art, dance, acrobatics and acting during his time as a child and teenager, allows Zabato, to experiment with his abilities everyday as artist and choreographer, while currently being on tour with Cirque du Soleil.
Host of "Pivoting Through The Pandemic" Streaming Broadcast
Jason Lawrence Brown (born December 15, 1994) is an American figure skater. He is a seven-time medalist on the Grand Prix circuit, the 2015 U.S. national champion, and a two-time Four Continents medalist (2020 silver, 2018 bronze). Jason won a bronze medal in the team event at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, becoming one of the youngest male figure skating Olympic medalists. Brown is known as one of the world’s most artistic skaters. Some of his programs have become iconic, including his Irish step dance free program and his 2021 short program to the music of Nina Simone with choreography by Rohene Ward.
ANGELA CHIANG grew up in New Jersey but now calls New York City home. Her passion for figure skating started as soon as she stepped on the ice at the age of four. Angela credits her accomplishments in skating to her mother and grandmother’s encouragement. Both dreamt of becoming graceful figure skaters. After retiring from her competitive career in 2000, Angela joined ITNY as a young apprentice and became a full-fledged cast member on and off with the company since 2003. She has found skating with ITNY to be truly instrumental in developing her artistry and is thrilled to perform with the cast this season! Angela is a USFS double gold medalist, a graduate of NYU with a B.A. in Journalism and Metropolitan Studies, a former instructor for the Figure Skating in Harlem, a former member of the NHL’s New York Rangers City Skaters squad, House of Mauro performer. She continues to devote herself to her students and her love of coaching at Chelsea Piers for the past eighteen years.
SARAH FRANCE originally comes from Pittsburgh, PA, but now splits her residences between New York, NY and Saint Paul, MN, where she has been an ice dance coach and choreographer since 1998 working with Regional, Sectional, National and International competitors across all skating disciplines. Before taking the ice, Sarah started her love of movement studying ballet and eventually transitioned to performing professionally in modern dance and several other disciplines as well as skating and teaching. Sarah is a five-time US Open Professional Figure Skating Championships competitor, US Figure Skating triple gold medalist, and national ice dance competitor. She is honored and excited to be performing with ITNY, having followed Ice Theatre of New York® since she was inspired by it as a young skater herself. Sarah debuted with ITNY in the spring of 2019.
KATE GAUTHIER (Performer) grew up in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Banff, Alberta. In true Canadian fashion, she learned to skate at the age of four on the pond behind her house. She is a Canadian Nationals Senior Ladies Competitor and Quadruple Gold Award recipient. After her competitive career, she spent eight years travelling the world as a Principal Performer for Disney on Ice. She has additionally had the privilege of performing with Ice Dance International and House of Mauro Productions. Her passion for entertainment also extends to the stage and screen. After studying acting at the New York Film Academy, Stella Adler Studio for Acting and The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, she has had the pleasure of acting in several film and theatrical productions. You can catch Kate in her monthly comedy show, ‘Too Nice - A Very Nice Variety Show’ at The Peoples Improv Theater, and another monthly comedic play series, ‘Telenovela 101’ by the Something from Abroad Theatre Company, at the Kraine Theater. Kate is beyond thankful to the ITNY for giving her a home on the frozen stage, here in New York.
JENNIFER GRUVER fell in love with the sport of figure skating at the age of six and with the love and support of her family, coaches, and directors, that love has not wavered in her 22 years of skating. A Colorado native, Jennifer spent 16 years competing in the Southwestern Region before following her dreams of becoming a professional performer. After graduating from the University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Anthropology, Jennifer spent 5 years traveling the world with Disney On Ice. She wrapped up her touring career in December 2016 to pursue more of her dreams in New York City. In the short time she has lived in the city, she finds herself coaching, choreographing and performing more than ever. This is her second season as a member of the Ice Theatre of New York® Ensemble.
ALE IZQUIERDO was born in Leon Guanajuato, Mexico. She started as a figure skater at the age of 9 years old. She is a 5 times Mexican national competitor and won 1st place at the International Santis Cup Switzerland at 2007 (Novice Level). She and moved to USA for training in 2009 and trained under the tutelage of the Ukrainian team of Victor Petrenko, Galina Zmirvskaya and Nina Petrenko at the Ice House in Hackensack, NJ. She has been a member of ITNY since 2011.
THERON JAMES (TJ) is a Middletown, CT native who currently resides in New York City. Theron – nicknamed TJ - began figure skating at the age of 12 after his mom won a raffle at his brother’s middle school auction for lessons at the local ice arena. TJ competed on the national level until he joined his first touring ice show in 2009 and has worked for multiple companies such as Holiday On Ice, Disney On Ice, and Royal Caribbean. His Unique style and technical abilities have been entertaining and performing for audiences around the world. He has 10+ years coaching experience both locally and overseas. He made his ITNY debut in the 2019 City Skate Concert Series.
VALERIE LEVINE has been dancing tap, jazz and ballet since she was 4 years of age and started roller-skating at that time. After begging her parents for figure skating lessons, she started training at 11. She auditioned for Disney On Ice during high school and was accepted but decided to get her bachelor’s degree in college first. She went on to get her Senior Ladies Moves and Pre-golds in ice dance by 19 and skated as an ice girl for the NHL teams the New York Rangers and the New York Islanders during those years. She furthered her dance knowledge while in college getting her Bachelor’s Degree in Product Management Textiles from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She minored in dance and trained at the Broadway Dance Center in many dance styles, which led her to her current career as a professional belly dancer, ballroom dancer, Brazilian samba dancer, fire performer and the like. Valerie has collaborated on ITNY events for the past decade. You can find out more about Valerie Levine on her website: Valerinadance.com
Performer - Figures
KATE MANGIARDI is a USFSA gold medalist in Moves in the Field. She has been coaching throughout the tristate area for over 15 years and enjoys working with all levels. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts from Vassar and MFA in painting from RISD, she has been exhibiting her work in various museums and galleries. In 2009, Mangiardi was awarded the W.K. Rose Fellowship in the Creative Arts. Kate merges her experience as a skater into her art through exploring the connection between the etching a skater leaves behind on the ice and creation of a drawing. Kate is excited and grateful for the opportunity to explore this direction in her work with ITNY.
FREDDIE MOORE is a Brooklyn native and U.S. Figure Skating triple gold medalist. She currently coaches skaters of all ages, and has performed alongside Beth Woronoff in her company Calle Ouvert. Outside of her love for performing and coaching, Freddie has a B.A. in Creative Writing and has published her work in Electric Literature and Hazlitt, among other places. One of her favorite quotes from Walt Whitman is: “And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?” She first performed with Ice Theatre of New York® as a child, and is thrilled to continue showing her love for skating with the ITNY company.
Elizabeth (Liz) is a Japanese/German American skater from Chicago, IL, currently residing in San Francisco, CA. She is a U.S. Figure Skating Double Gold medalist in Freestyle and Moves in the Field, and a Silver medalist in Ice Dancing. Luscious edges, artistic dynamic movement, and traditional ice dancing informs her skating and professional career which began in 2013 at the age of 18, performing internationally in Germany and across the US. She received her Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Painting from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2018, and is exhibiting work across the Bay Area.
AARON SINGLETARY grew up in Pennsylvania skating for the Penguin Figure Skating Club and started his national competitive career training with Craig Maurizi. Over the years Singletary has had many internationally revered coaches and singling one or two would be a disservice to the others. Each left a prominent mark on his approach to skating. Aaron earned gold in moves-in-the-field as well as freestyle singles. Aaron now coaches primarily in Newburgh, NY at Ice Time Sports Complex. His students include National medalists Jacob Sanchez and Olivia Alexander. He dreams to further his knowledge so that one day he too may be an internationally recognized performer and coach. The 2019 Home Season marks his debut with Ice Theatre of New York.
MATT THOMAS grew up skating in Syracuse, NY, where he was introduced to skating through the Learn to Skate Program. He continued to train as a figure skating competitor and in 1998 he became the Eastern Sectional Champion, before moving on to his current career as a Skating Coach. He has always loved being on the ice and considers himself blessed to still be skating, 29 years later. He remembers seeing ITNY perform at Rockefeller Center as a young boy, and now feels privileged to have been a member of the educational outreach and performance groups of ITNY for the last three years. Matt is also a professional saxophonist, holding a Bachelor's degree in music from SUNY Buffalo, performing regularly both in NYC and internationally.
SALLY JEANNE WATKINS
SALLY JEANNE WATKINS is a U.S. Figure Skating triple gold medalist and holds an Intercollegiate National Senior Ladies title. While Sally enjoys skating professionally, she also loves coaching and exploring the aerial arts. She earned her Bachelors in Engineering-Physics and Chemistry from Miami University and her Masters in Environmental Engineering from NYU. Originally from Seattle, Washington, she currently lives in New York City. Sally has been performing with ITNY since 2012.
Guest Performer & Choreographer
Empathetic communication—through sport, dance, public speaking, or charity—is Kaitlyn Weaver’s passion and gift. As an athlete, she reached the highest honor of figure skating and competed for Canada at the Olympic Games, and thrice stood on the World podium with her long-time ice dance partner, Andrew Poje. Kaitlyn remains active in the professional skating world and uses her platform for advocacy while dividing her time between New York, NY and Toronto, ON. Post-competitive life finds this ambitious creative engaging in her skating community, participating in and initiating global fundraisers, and part-time coaching and choreography. Ice Theatre of New York, Inc. has commissioned Kaitlyn to create a new solo dance repertory piece for the Company, which she will choreograph and perform.