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Brian Orser has grown with Stars On Ice show

Source: Kitchener-Waterloo Record
Date: April 18, 2001
Author: Richard O'Brien

Brian Orser has been with Stars On Ice so long he has seen other skaters come and go.

The 1984 Olympic silver medalist and eight-time Canadian champion started on the U.S. tour in 1988 after the Calgary Olympics and was part of the show's growth into Canada.

And when Stars On Ice comes to the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium on Sunday, it will mark the 11th year the tour has been in Canada.

"I was lucky I turned pro in '88," Orser said. "I got to go with Stars On Ice and I was part of that growth. We took it from an exhibition tour to what it is now.

"Now, it's a major production. Skating is the focus but there's a lot of thought, preparation and rehearsal that goes into the whole entity rather than a group of skaters going out and doing their individual solos."

This year, Orser will see 1984 gold medalist Scott Hamilton go. Hamilton turned professional in 1986, has been on the tour even longer than Orser, and plans to pursue a career in show business, perhaps on Broadway.

Throughout any Stars On Ice show, skaters interact with other skaters. The theme of this year's show is Hamilton's farewell tour, a journey through his life.

"Now that he is in his last season it's opened the door for a lot of options," Orser said. "I think a Broadway production is certainly an option for him, something he's always wanted to do.

"Every day is his last day in that city (where he is performing) so it's quite emotional."

Orser, who will skate a routine set to Motown music, is enthusiastic about the show's production value.

"It's rock and roll, really," he said. "It's great lightning, great sound, great costumes choreography and great skating."

Other Canadians with Stars On Ice include four-time Canadian champion Kurt Browning, eight-time Canadian dance champions Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz and three-time Canadian champion Jos e Chouinard.

This year's tour includes three Russian skaters -- 2000 world champion Alexei Yagudin, Russian champion Maria Butyrskaya and 1992 Olympic silver medalist Denis Petrov.

Tickets for Sunday's show at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium are sold out.