WHITMAN — Whitman Carousel Family Fun Center held an open house with family and friends of local skaters on Monday night to help defray costs for more than a dozen local skaters who are competing in the 2015 USA Roller Sports Figure Skating Nationals in Albuquerque N.M. from July 19 to Aug. 1.
The night hosted performers of all ages who are traveling to New Mexico as well as beginners and intermediates who are not traveling but performed their first routines — such as brother and sister Christopher, 6, and Laura Miller, 5, of Brockton. The pair skated with light-up skate boots, which glowed neon, and their performances earned enthusiastic applause.
Skating is a family affair for the Urzua children of Whitman. Five of the six siblings skate and have accomplished great skill all learning from their mother in the very skates she wore as a child in their toddler years.
Now mother Betty Urzua works at the Carousel center as does eldest brother John, 21, a manager at the complex.
The family, who are from Spain, are fourth-generation skaters dating back to their great-grandparents, who owned a skating rink in Michigan.
“Daniel, Ethan and I all learned on our mother’s skates. Our grandfather told us he could skate before he could walk,” said John. “I am most comfortable in skates. It’s freedom and I felt like I am flying,” he said.
The younger brothers Joshua, 11, and Isaiah, 13, have excelled in their skating. Even though they only began official lessons since September at the skate center, it is quite clearly in their blood.
Both boys placed in regionals last month in Fairhaven, Mass.
Each said they enjoy practicing and they like seeing their own improvements along with the abundant exercise. Joshua performed for the crowd on Monday, with his young sister Elsy, 7, who sparkled in a baby blue uni-tard as she twirled on wheels.
Most of the skate club choreography is ballroom method although there are numerous different styles of skating throughout the sport.
John and Deedee Viola are coaches at the Whitman center along with daughter Jodee and her husband Scott Cohen the pairs are set to travel with their teams.
The techniques they teach use quad skates, the traditional four wheel booted skate.
Over the years Scott Cohen said he has seen changes in popularity to the inline skate boot, which some teens use during skate times.
“What is old is new again as now the quad skates are making a comeback,” he said.
David Renna has been skating since age eight and after college in his early 20s he hung up his skates.
“I took a hiatus for 30 years,” he said. But upon his return and in the best shape of his life the fifty-something skater is heading to New Mexico in late July.
Renna who is from Malden travels to practice and skates 16 or more hours a week. He estimates his commitment to physical health and his upcoming competition are some of the best choices he has made.
He joked that skating changes as you get older, falling seems a lot harder on the body, so there is less jumping and elegant ballroom choreography — he leaves the splits and daring tricks to the younger ones.
He will compete in esquire team dance and master solo this month.