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WHERE ARE THEY NOW?


in the cast able to do a backflip,” said Smith, whose castmates in Ice Odyssey (choreographed by


Sarah Kawahara) included Danny Clausen, Caroline Miller, Michael


Morales and David Szurman. “Te audi- ences were excited about everything, which made it a lot of fun to skate for them.” In addition to two short-term cruise ship gigs, other professional jobs Smith has done


over the past three years include a Christmas show in Wolfsburg, Germany, and a tour of


Czech Republic with Broadway on Ice. “Te audiences in Czech Republic were fan-


tastic,” Smith said. “Sometimes over 10,000 people at a show. It made me so disappoint- ed it was only two weeks. I wanted to do it for a year.” While Smith admitted he misses the inten- sity of competing, he’s filled his time with other inter- esting and exciting things. Known as a great jumper — one of the few U.S. men to consistently land quads at the U.S. Championships — show skating has turned him into a performer. “I still like to challenge myself to do difficult jumps in the shows, because I really enjoy that chal- lenge,” he said. Te proximity to the audience in the cruise ship


shows has brought a new dynamic to his skating. “I had a tango solo a couple of years ago, which


involved a couple of kicks,” Smith said. “Sometimes the snow would fly off my blade and land in the lap of the person in the front row. It was always a funny laugh. It is great to have such an intimate audience.” Another thing professional skating has taught him is to be less picky about things. Smith used to obsess about every little detail. Nowadays he sometimes goes months without having his blades sharpened. “Professional skating has taught me I am capable of going out and doing a good job even without the exact same warm-up routine and without having my skates be just perfect,” he said. “I wish I was a little more relaxed about all those things when I competed.” Te cruise ships shows (which are overseen by


Willy Bietak Productions) all include ensemble skating along with the solos and adagio. It’s giv- en Smith a taste of what a team sport must be like. Traveling for professional jobs has also given him the chance to reconnect with skaters he met years ago on the Junior Grand Prix circuit, but hasn’t seen since.


“I really enjoy the syn-


chronization of group skat- ing,” he said. “It’s also nice to have people appreciate what you can do instead of always being told what you could do better.” B etw een gigs, home


base for Smith is Salt Lake City, where he moved toward the end of his competitive days. He grew up in Baltimore and trained for years in Delaware, Bal- timore and Boston. Since Smith left competitive skat- ing, his parents have moved to Durango, Colo., which is a six-hour drive from Salt Lake City, so he doesn’t anticipate relocating back to the East Coast. When he’s in Salt Lake City, he does some coach- ing. Local coaches are welcoming and eager to have him work with their students. He also goes to Bos- ton to fill in for Suna Murray when she goes on va- cation, and while there he does some choreography for her students. He said he came to have a greater understand-


ing of choreography and musical interpretation when he worked with Lori Nichol toward the end of his competitive career. He utilizes tools she gave him in his show skating. Smith’s next cruise ship contract, which will take him to Scandinavia for the first time, begins in the fall. Over the next few months he’s working hard to develop a specialty act, which will give him more flexibility in his professional career. He declines to re- veal the nature of the act just yet, but hopes it will allow him to do more short-term contracts and travel to more places.


“Te fact that I get paid to go and see these amaz- ing places, I feel really lucky,” he said. Reflecting on his competitive days, Smith said his


free skates at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 2006 and 2008 stand out in his memory. He also recalls the first quad he did at the U.S. Championships, which happened in the short program in 2001. It was the first time he felt he really belonged at the senior level. Although he wasn’t able to watch this year’s U.S. Championships live, he immediately pulled up Max Aaron’s winning free skate online when he got to port. “Tat was so exciting,” said Smith, who greatly


Big jumps and classic skating were signatures of Smith’s during his competitive days. He still incorporates big tricks into his professional performances.


appreciates how the international judging system has enabled skaters who perform well to upset the favorites. “Tat didn’t happen in the old days.”


SKATING 9


PHOTO BY MICHELLE HARVATH


PHOTO BY GUANG NIU/GETTY IMAGES


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