2012 Benefit Gala Performance - Photo by Norbert Schramm
2022-2023 Season Performers:
Ensemble Director: Elisa Angeli;
Performers: Armen Agaian, Danil Berdnikov, Collin Brubaker, Mauro Bruni, Angela Chiang, Sarah France, Jennifer Gruver, Ale Izquierdo, Kata Junninen, Angela Kim, Valerie Levine, Freddie Moore, Andrew Saelee, Kseniya Ponomaryova, Liz Schmidt, Aaron Singletary. Figures performer Kate Mangiardi.
Young Apprentices: US Ice Dance Silver Medalists Oona & Gage Brown
ELISA ANGELI joined ITNY in 2008, including on ITNY’s 2008 Tour in France. Becoming the Ensemble Director in 2015, Elisa has choreographed numerous works for ITNY. Elisa is an Italian Champion ice dancer with recognition from the Italian Federation for Ice Skating, studied Ballet with Ludmilla Vlassova (Bolshoi) and Giovanna Franzosi in Milan; also with Christine Wright at the Gibney Dance Center. She studied Modern and Contemporary Dance at the Open Dance Center and at the Music, Art and Shows School, Milan and Aerial Silks at Streb, Circus Warehouse, and 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 ITNY. In 2009, Elisa participated with ITNY at the première of Wintuk by Cirque du Soleil at Madison Square Garden. In Italy, she toured with Italian Champions on Ice, and Ghiaccio Spettacolo as an aerialist and performed in Munich with Spotlight Productions. Elisa has worked as an aerialist since 2014, with Cirque-tacular Entertainment, with which she performed in the show The Art of Circus in September 2016.
ARMEN AGAIAN joined Ice Theatre of New York® as an artist in 2018. He has been ice skating since 2002, developing into a five-time National Champion in his native country of Georgia, and participated in the Junior World Championships three times. He also participated in the 2013 Youth Olympic Games, the Junior Grand Prix (2012-2015) and the 2016 European Championships. When not performing, Armen works as a skating coach in New York.
MAURO BRUNI, MBA, BFA, first performed with ITNY in 2014. A leader in the professional figure skating community, Mauro works as an ice performer, as well as a coach, choreographer, and show director. He has taught students in the USA, Mexico, Britain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Austria. Credits include: Ice Theatre of London creator and founder; House of Mauro creator and founder; Navesink Country Club Artistic Director; lead performer in numerous ice skating productions globally most notably: Holiday on Ice -- star performer between 2007-2018; show director and choreographer for productions in Europe, North America and internationally; head choreographer at the Trelleborgskonståkningsklubb in Trelleborg, Sweden 2016-17. Awards include: US Professional Championships Groundbreaker award; Moins5 choreography award in Monéteau, France; ProSkaters Virtual Skateoff champion. Mauro has been recognized as an AIT certified choreographer PSA rated free skating coach and choreographer, and national and international competitor for Team USA from 1995-2005. @maurojbruni
DANIL BERDNIKOV hails from the city of Samara, Russia, from which he competed as part of the junior national team as well as across his vast native land through high school. He then moved to Moscow both to continue his education and to join Stage Entertainment Russia to begin performing as a skater. Performing for an audience allowed Danil to fall in love with skating in a new way and his career has blossomed over eight years with Willy Bietak Productions and Wheeler Productions in the United States, Stageworks Worldwide Production in the UK and Holiday on Ice Productions and Dynamic Shows Entertainment in the EU. ITNY welcomes Danil as an artist, grateful to his parents, coaches, choreographers, and the fellow skaters who have supported him along the way.
This award is given to someone who is accomplished within our ice dance world and has stayed connected to the field beyond their own performances; someone who has given back to our "icy" world and has been a role model for others to follow.
Jason Lawrence Brown just presented two breathtaking performances at the 2023 World Figure Skating Championships and the 2023 US National Championships with choreography by Rohene Ward (ITNY's 2023 Choreography Award recipient). At World's in Saitama, Japan, he placed 5th overall and received the highest program component score of the competition. Jason is also the 2015 U.S. national champion, a nine-time medalist on the Grand Prix circuit and a two-time Four Continents medalist. 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. Known as one of the world's most artistic skaters, some of Jason's 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. His two programs from 2023 will certainly be added to this list. Jason is hugely popular around the world and particularly in Japan, which has prompt him to learn the language to the delight of his Japanese fans. Jason was the host of ITNY's streaming broadcast "Pivoting Through The Pandemic" in May of 20221. His coaches are Tracy Wilson and Brian Orser (ITNY's 2017 Past Masters Award Recipient).
OONA & GAGE BROWN
OONA & GAGE BROWN, became World Junior Ice Dance Champions representing Team USA at the 2022 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Tallinn, Estonia., The 2023 US Nationals marked their debut in Senior competition. A sister and brother ice dance team from Long Island, NY, they have been skating together for six years in numerous international competitions; performing regularly with Ice Theatre of New York. all that time, while training with coaches Inese Bucevica and ITNY choreographer Joel Dear for over two years. They’ve recently worked with On Ice Perspectives at beautiful Bryant Park Ice Rink and received much love and recognition for the resulting video of their Metallica Free Dance, which has gone viral.
ANGELA CHIANG credits her accomplishments in skating to her mother's and grandmother’s encouragement. Both dreamt of becoming graceful figure skaters and Angela has found skating with ITNY, which she joined as a young apprentice, to be truly instrumental in developing her artistry. Her passion for figure skating started as soon as she stepped on the ice at age four in her native New Jersey. A USFS double gold medalist and graduate of NYU with a B.A. in Journalism and Metropolitan Studies, Angela went on from her competitive career to work as an instructor for Figure Skating in Harlem, a member of the NHL New York Rangers City Skaters squad, House of Mauro performer and a beloved coach at Chelsea Piers over the past 18 years. A full-fledged cast member on and off with ITNY since 2003, she feels thrilled to perform with the cast this season!
Performer/Director of Outreach Programming
SARAH FRANCE joined the Ice Theatre of New York in 2018, bringing her passion for ice dancing and broad knowledge of skating skills and disciplines to the company. France has translated her skills to many different areas as an ensemble performer with ITNY, in addition to being a choreographer, edge class instructor, aerialist, inline skater, dancer and off ice instructor. Her dedication to skating and desire to share her love of the ice with others has made her a sought after instructor and performer. She believes strongly in the ability of skating to transcend barriers, teach life lessons and give opportunities to all who wish to make their home on the ice. In addition to her work with ITNY, France’s skills have been highly valued in training developmental through internationally competitive skaters, working as a coach, choreographer and program director. She is a faculty member for Shattuck-St. Mary’s International Figure Skating Center of Excellence training camps and a welcomed guest coach in skating programs around the world. France has worked with competitive athletes representing over 40 different countries and facilitated the transition to professional careers for many young skaters. She takes particular interest in developing strong foundational skating skills, mentoring coaches, as well as teaching those who wish to further refine their mastery of skating technique. Her well-rounded education on the ice has allowed her to flexibly work in all disciplines of skating, as well as successfully lead instructional programs as a skating director. She is honored to be the Director of Outreach Programming for ITNY and looks forward to sharing the joy of dancing on ice with students around the greater NYC area through these efforts.
JENNIFER GRUVER has been a member of the Ice Theatre of New York® Ensemble since 2017. 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 five 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, where she finds herself coaching, choreographing, and performing more than ever. Jennifer has performed on screen for Disney On Ice media, Saturday Night Live, SELF magazine, Sleep Number and other local entertainment providers. Jennifer is the Director of Figure Skating at Navesink Country Club in Red Bank, NJ.
KATA JUNNINEN is a 25-year-old skater, actor/performer, and aspiring choreographer originally from Finland. She’s skated since she was 3 years old, but for most of her career she specialized in Synchronized Skating. During her 20-year career Kata has represented Finland internationally since 2010 and competed at the highest level in the Senior division since 2015. She has represented 3 countries, Finland, Sweden, and the USA in synchro and finished her career as a member of Team USA on the synchronized skating World Team 2018-2020. She has always loved performing and has a degree in Acting for Film and Television from NYCDA. Kata joined Ice Theatre of New York in 2021.
ALE IZQUIERDO has been a member of ITNY since 2011, and performed as part of the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall in the 2021-2022 season. A native of Léon, Guanajuato, Mexico, Ale started figure skating at age 8, becoming a three-time Mexican national champion, and she won first place at the International Santis Cup Switzerland in 2007. She moved to the USA in 2009, to train under the tutelage of the Ukrainian team of Victor Petrenko, Galina Zmievskaya and Nina Petrenko at the Ice House in Hackensack, NJ. She performed in Dancing on Ice with Torvill & Dean in the United Kingdom and in the Netherlands. Ale has been the advertising face of Polyglide Ice, a surface ITNY uses in its studio.
THERON JAMES (TJ)
THERON JAMES (TJ) made his ITNY debut in the 2019 City Skate Concert Series with over 10 years international coaching experience under his belt. Having competed on the national level, TJ joined his first touring ice show in 2009, and has appeared in multiple professional companies including those of Holiday On Ice, Disney On Ice, and Royal Caribbean. A Middletown, CT, native now a NYC artist, Theron – nicknamed TJ - began figure skating at age 12 after his mom won a raffle at his brother’s middle school auction for lessons at the local ice arena.
VALERIE LEVINE has collaborated on ITNY events for the past two decades and has been roller-skating as well as dancing tap, jazz, and ballet since the age of four. She started training in figure skating at 11, going on to compete and test until graduating high school, when she turned down a Disney On Ice to pursue her Bachelor’s degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). At 19, she earned her gold level in Senior Ladies Moves and pre-golds in ice dance before skating professionally. While earning her BS in Product Management Textiles from FIT, she minored in dance and trained at Broadway Dance Center in many dance styles, leading to an off-ice career as a professional belly dancer, ballroom dancer and samba dancer. She currently teaches and performs these styles worldwide, while managing her own entertainment company Valerina Dance, which can be followed at ValerieLevine.com or on Instagram @Valerielevine.
FREDDIE MOORE joined the Ice Theatre of New York in 2018. She is a Brooklyn native and U.S. Figure Skating triple gold medalist who has performed at events for Chanel, as well as for Phillip Glass at Rockefeller Center. She has also performed alongside Beth Woronoff in the Hudson Valley. She currently coaches skaters of all ages at Sky Rink and specializes in Moves-in-the-Field. Freddie holds a BA 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?”
LIZ YOSHIKO SCHMIDT
ELIZABETH (LIZ) YOSHIKO SCHMIDT has been skating with ITNY since 2017. Luscious edges, artistic dynamic movement, and traditional ice dancing and fundamentals in figures inform her skating and professional career which began in 2013, at the age of 18, performing internationally in Germany, France, Austria, Egypt and across the United States. A Japanese/German American skater who hails from Chicago, IL, she recently moved from San Francisco, CA, to New York City. A U.S. Figure Skating double gold medalist in Freestyle and Moves in the Field, and a silver medalist in Ice Dancing, Liz received her BFA in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2018, and has exhibited her paintings and art work across the Bay Area. Liz took Jazz Fusion dance class at the Alonzo King Lines Dance Center in San Francisco from Lynn Brilhante for 7 years. Her former skating coaches are: Lorna Brown, Beata Handra, Paul Spruell, Phillip DiGuglielmo, Louis Vachon, Audra Shindo-Chan, and most importantly Larry Holliday (African American 6x US Adult Nationals Campionship champion, former Ebony on Ice performer and her first coach).
AARON SINGLETARY grew up in Pennsylvania skating for the Penguin Figure Skating Club and started his national competitive career training with Craig Maurizi at the Ice House in Hackensack, NJ. Aaron earned gold in Moves in the Field as well as Freestyle. Aaron now coaches primarily at City Ice Pavilion in New York City. Over the years Aaron has had many internationally revered coaches. Each left a prominent mark on his approach to skating and singling one or two would be a disservice to the others. He aims to further his knowledge so that one day he too may be an internationally recognized performer and coach. The 2019 Home Season marked his debut with Ice Theatre of New York ®.
MATT THOMAS remembers seeing ITNY perform at Rockefeller Center as a young boy and feels privileged to have become a member of the educational outreach and performance groups of ITNY able to pass on that dream over the last three years. Introduced to skating through the Learn to Skate Program in Syracuse, NY, he continued to train as a figure skating competitor and in 1998 became the Eastern Sectional Champion. He has always loved the ice and considers himself blessed to still be skating three decades plus from his initiation and spreading the joy through his continuing career as a skating coach. A professional saxophonist, Matt holds a Bachelor's in music from SUNY Buffalo, and performs regularly both in NYC and internationally.