Student Sets the Ice on Fire!

Posted on July 22, 2014 by

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Fire Dancing & Ice Skating

Ashley Clark Ice Skating with Fire Fans

Last year, we had the unusual opportunity to work with US Ice Skating Gold Medalist Ashley Clark. She came to us looking to help her integrate fire into her ice skating performances. In just a few months, she began performing in Sun Valley 4th of July weekend 2013. At the time, her act consisted of a palm pot section where she does a back flip — perhaps the only ice skating artist in the world who currently does a backflip on the ice with fire — coupled with fire poi and fire fans. As challenging as it may be to learn the props themselves, the tools, especially poi, took on a life of their own as Ashley hit the ice. It wasn’t simply a skill of learning to use the props, but rather, to use the props as she glided across the ice and integrated the two skills together. She did such a great job with her show in Sun Valley she was asked to appear elsewhere as fall of 2013 rolled in. In October, Ashley found herself working on a show at Great America where she had this short and fiery minute on the ice as part of a much larger production.

Ashley has had great success with her new act and after her jaunt at Great America, she was had the opportunity to strut her stuff in Europe. In December, Ashley found herself near the France/Italy border in Chourchavel where she had an opportunity to perform her full routine for EuroSport (think of them as the ESPN of Europe) and here is the set she did there.

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Ashley with Poi Photo: William Lee

This spring, Ashley had an opportunity to do a photo shoot with some of our beloved Fire, Fotos, Footage and Fun photographers who generously took some time to capture Ashley, the fire and ice all at once

We caught up with Ashley and asked her to take some precious moments to give us an interview. Here’s a look at what she said.

GlitterGirl (GG): Can you please share with our readers a bio of awesomeness about you?

Ashley Clark (AC): HI, my name is Ashley Clark, I am a professional ice skater that recently combined fire in my repertoire. I am a 2X US Gold medalist originally from Denver Colorado, now living in the Bay Area. I have performed in 64 shows during my 15 years of experience, been to 57 countries, 6 continents and 49 of the United States. I have been fortunate enough to performed with some of the top production companies such as Disney On Ice, Holiday On Ice, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, just to name a few. Right now I am the only female professional figure skating soloist worldwide to perform a back flip on the ice, with fire.

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Ashley with Fans Photo: Fototaker Tony

GG: As a gold medal winning artist, can you share with our readers a few thoughts on practice, what you enjoy about it, how you get through the tough days, how you find motivation and continually fuel your creative inspiration?

AC: I think it’s important to do what you love to do, and continually challenge yourself. On top of performing, I also teach figure skating here in the Bay Area. I am always motivating my students to keep their practices challenging, yet fun. I personally challenge myself to never stop learning. You’ll surprise yourself how inspiring you can be to yourself, and others.

GG: What inspired you to combine the art of ice skating with fire dancing? In what ways has it been what you expected and in what ways have you been overjoyed/deflated by what you’ve experienced when working on combining the art forms together?

Ashley with Fans Photo: Julian Leong

Ashley with Fans
Photo: Julian Leong

AC: I saw someone practicing fire poi for the first time a few years back on the beaches of South East Asia, in Boracay. I fell in loved with the trance of the flames, and the art of the spinning. Moreover, I loved the idea of fire and ice. Little did I know, 5 years later I would move to San Francisco and meet the one and only, GlitterGirl that would help make that dream a reality.

After 6 weeks of working off the ice together, I moved it to the ice to work out the kinks. The biggest challenge was learning how to manipulate the fire poi to move in the same direction as I was going on the ice. As you can probably imagine, gliding on ice at a face pace creates a whole new dimension when you’re moving forwards, backwards, sideways and upside-down. But with much perseverance and determination, we figured it out! It’s still a work-in- progress, and I’m constantly trying new things to improve my skills on, and off the ice.

GG: What advice would you give young artists — by which I mean those new to pursuing their artistic passion — as they explore and step out into the beginning of their careers?

AC: When I quit competitive figure skating 15 years ago, I thought my skating career was over. I never thought I’d be touring the world getting paid to do, what I love to do, while playing with fire! Turns out…nothing is impossible.

There’s never a bad time to try something new, you’re never too late, or too old. I would challenge new and old artist to never stop learning.

The time is now, Dream BIG!

If you want to book Ashley or begin your ice skating journey, catch up with Ashley here on Facebook or go see her at the Yerba Buena ice skating rink in San Francisco.

If you’re ready for private instruction to help integrate fire into your act, want to try Zero to Fire in 4 Hours!, want to join our next beginner class or have other questions, contact GlitterGirl directly or subscribe to our newsletter for mailbox delivery of this and other articles written by Temple of Poi founder and visionary, GlitterGirl, who has been a full time flow arts coach and instructor since 2002. If you seek professional guidance associated with creating a safe performance, obtaining a permit in San Francisco or other personalized coaching, contact GlitterGirl directly for a free consultation (GlitterGirl <that pretty little at symbol> TempleOfPoi <daaaaaaaught> com).

 

Posted in: Articles, Performance