Skating, Gymnastics Spectacular To Return

Jamestown will be thrust into the national spotlight again later this year when Disson Skating returns to the area with the 2013 Progressive Skating and Gymnastics Spectacular.

The show, featuring Olympic, World and national champions from both sports, will take place on Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena. The event will be hosted by Olympic figure skating champion Kristi Yamaguchi, three-time U.S. figure skating champion Michael Weiss and Olympic gymnastics champions Nadia Comaneci and Bart Conner. Tickets will go on sale today at 10 a.m.

The event, which was deemed a success last year, looks to capitalize on the support of the community, as well as some fresh additions to the event, in order to draw another sold-out crowd to the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena.

“The first year I brought this here for many different reasons,” said Steve Disson, Disson Skating president. “I have a friend on our board that lives in Chautauqua, and I was familiar with the region through him. Also, a number of the skaters had mentioned that the eastern regionals were held here, and people in the figure skating community said that there was a nice arena here and a lot of interest in skating. We’ve found that our shows tend to do well in smaller markets, and we love trying different things. Our title sponsor is Progressive Insurance, which is based out of Cleveland, so it’s not too far away for them, either.”

According to Disson, last year’s skating and gymnastics spectacular was the second-most successful show that the company has produced with regard to how quickly the show sold out.

“We did a show with Andrea Bocelli in Bridgeport, Conn. that sold out in one hour,” Disson said. “Our show in Jamestown last year sold out in three weeks, which is just amazing. The people that work here at the arena, the people in the community, were just fantastic. Everything about it was good. We had an enthusiastic, packed crowd. Kurt (Silcott) started talking to me about bringing it back the day after we did this last year.”

Disson Skating will be producing four shows this year: a family skating show at Penn State with Sara Evans, a holiday show in Jacksonville, Fla., an Olympic send-off show at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, and the Skating and Gymnastics Spectacular in Jamestown. Disson noted that this is a very unique event – it’s the only one of its kind that combines figure skating, gymnastics and live entertainment – and that Jamestown was the first show location that the production company committed to for 2013.

“I would love to see this event continue as an annual event here in Jamestown,” Disson said. “I don’t want to bring back the same entertainment every year, though, so we’re bringing in a lot of new faces.”

Every skater and gymnast that has been confirmed for the event this year is at the very least a national champion, something Disson doesn’t think he’s ever seen in the shows that he’s produced.

“These aren’t people that have just competed,” Disson said. “These are individuals who have taken the gold on national, international and Olympic stages.”

The figure skating cast will include: Two-time Olympic medalist, three-time world champion and seven-time Canadian champion Elvis Stojko; Olympic medalist, world medalist and six-time Canadian champion Joannie Rochette; two-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner; U.S. champion Ryan Bradley; U.S. champion Max Aaron; U.S. pairs champions Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir; and U.K. current Dancing on Ice champions Beth Tweddle and Daniel Whiston.

The gymnastics cast is set to include: Olympic champion Nastia Liukin; Olympic medalist, World medalist and U.S. champion Jonathan Horton; Olympic medalist and world champion Tweddle; world medalist and U.S. champion Jake Dalton; and world medalist and U.S. champion John Orozco.

This year’s event will also bring in two new entertainment acts, Bella Thorne and Coco Jones. Both Thorne and Jones are Disney stars who have recently launched their musical careers, and also have starring roles in some of Disney’s highest-rated productions. Thorne is the star of the Disney Channel original series “Shake It Up” and recently returned from filming the upcoming comedy “Blended,” in which she stars alongside Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Her first single, “TTYLXOX,” has sold more than 300,000 copies to date and will be performed for the first time on national television during the event. Jones starred in the Disney film “Let It Shine” in 2012 and is currently on tour with musical acts Mindless Behavior and the OMG Girlz. Her albums first single, “Holla at the DJ,” has garnered more than 2.2 million views on YouTube, and she recently performed on the finale float at the 2013 Rose Parade.

“We’ll be doing another middle school assembly this year with Bella Thorne, too,” Disson said. “We haven’t picked the school yet, but we’ll bring her in the day before the show. We’re trying to do things to bring this event out to the community. You’ve got Bella doing a school visit, the cast of the show visiting the Lucy-Desi Museum, we’re trying to make sure we have a hometown connection.”

State Assemblyman Andy Goodell was on hand for the announcement of the event and applauded Disson for bringing it back to Jamestown.

“What’s great about this performance is that once again, Chautauqua County is being highlighted nationally,” Goodell said. “Every time this happens, we get to show off why Chautauqua County and Jamestown are such incredible places. This event, along with others that we’ve done, all of those things let the entire world know that this area is a truly unique and truly great place to live.”

Mayor Sam Teresi called the event “world-class entertainment in a world-class facility in a world-class community,” and said that he was proud to be associated with the high quality show that (Disson Skating) puts on in Jamestown.

“We’re really excited to come back,” Disson said. “Events like this will put Jamestown on the map.”

The show will be broadcast nationally on NBC on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, from 1-3 p.m. Following the initial telecast on NBC there will be two rebroadcasts of the show on AXS TV (formerly HDNet).

The show, in its entirety, will be posted on IceNetwork.com for viewing for six months following the initial telecast on NBC, as well.

For more information about the event, contact the Jamestown Saving Bank Arena at 484-2624, or visit www.jamestownsavingsbankicearena.com.