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FRAMINGHAM – Framingham High sophomore Vanessa Finder will compete for Team USA in the World Competition for Theater on Ice April 21-23.

The Figure Skating Club of Boston will host the 7th Annual Nation’s Cup event.

Sanctioned by U.S. Figure Skating, the International interclub event is conducted in accordance with the current Ballet on Ice International Guidelines.

Finder is a sophomore at Framingham High and is representing Team USA in figure skating/ theater on Ice competition.

This is the first Nation’s Cup, post the COVID pandemic. The last Nation’s Cup was in held in 2019 in Epinal, France.

Finder started skating at the William Chase Arena in Natick at the age of 6.

“My husband and I bought Vanessa’s first skates at Ice House in Wellesley,” said mom Suzanne Finder, who said Vanessa “loved the ice, since day one.”

Mom said “we totally did not expect this. Once she won her first competition, that changed the trajectory.”

Vanessa said she has “continued skating since the age of 6 because it has been a way for me to have fun, express myself, and meet new people. The environment at skating is generally very positive. I love it!”

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Finder, 15, said she knew she wanted to skate competitively after her first skating competition, at age 7.

“I always naturally loved performing and competitions were a way for me to display my programs to the public,” said Finder, who attended Solomon Schecter Day School in Newton and Walsh Middle in Framingham.

“I love skating because it makes me feel free,” said Finder. “Sometimes just gliding on the ice can feel like flying. The coolness of the air, the smell of the ice, and the sound of edges crunching is so refreshing. Additionally, skating is the perfect place for me to release outside stress and express the emotions I bottle inside, especially during Theater on Ice.”

She just finished the Skating Club of Boston’s annual club show Ice Chips 2023.

On the ice along with Finder for that show was Nathan Chen, the 2022 Olympic champion, a three-time World champion (2018, 2019, 2021), and a six-time U.S. national champion (2017–22).

The Skating Club of Boston is Finder’s home club. She joined in 2017, when she started Theater on Ice.

Finder will compete at the junior level at the Nation’s Cup 2023 this week. The name of her team is ACT 1.

Theatre On Ice is a form of competitive figure skating that combines the grace of figure skating with the excitement of theatre and dance.

Since January, she has been on the ice practicing 18-20 hours a week, said Finder.

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SOURCE asked Finder about her program for the Nation’s Cup competition but she said “I am not permitted to reveal what our program music is, but I can discuss the moods for each musical piece.”

She said her free skate, or long program is “confident, beautiful, powerful, mysterious, embracing yourself, connecting with the group.”

She said her choreographic exercise or short program is “Tragedy, Anger, Sadness, Heartbreak, Fury, Power.” 

For the short program, “we are judged on three different themes each year. This year’s themes are call and response, rotation, and nature,” said Finder.

Programs are evaluated on technical merit and presentation, with emphasis on originality, costuming, artistry and musicality.

Known as “Ballet on Ice” in Europe, teams consist of eight to 28 skaters on the ice telling a story together.

“Although I love the long program as a whole, my favorite element would be our final step sequence. It is so beautiful and confident. The team also looks strong while we perform all together. The moves and the messages are bold,” said Finder.

The most difficult factor is when we have to skate blindfolded with our extremely long, heavy dresses. My team has to put on and take off the blindfolds multiple times during the program.

Besides the hours on the ice for practice, Finder cross-trains with ballet and dance classes weekly. She also does off-ice conditioning and strength training.

That strength training is needed for the jumps in her program. Her favorite jump is the “flip because it has always been one of my strongest and most consistent jump, but I also like the Salchow,:” said Finder.

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But Finder said she prefers spins to jumps. “My favorite spin is my solo haircutter or my level 4 combination spin,” said Finder.

“What makes the Theater on Ice skaters stand out is the fact that we are all performers and extra artistic,” said Finder.

In 2024, Finder hopes to pass Senior free skate and wants to ace her “Gold solo and partnered Freedance tests.”

Five years from now, she hopes to be training for “international competitions in ice dance.”

Right now, she is a Framingham High student who loves her science classes.

“I love biology and medical sciences, but this year English is my favorite subject because I have an amazing teacher who challenges me, and I have learned so much this year so far,” said Finder.

She is a typical teen in some ways with the stress of school and homework, but due to her competition schedule and travel, she said she “not able to spend as much time with friends and socialize.”

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Finder said she has too many musical artists to list but on repeat on her playlist is “Vivir mi Vida, Despacito, SHUM (the Ukrainian song that my team skated to last year), world’s smallest violin, Judas.”

When she is not in class or on the ice, Finder said she likes to “sleep, dance, sing, go out.”

She describes herself as “ambitious, passionate, bubbly.”

Finder said her ice skating style is close to Jason Brown’s.

She admires Latino skater Donovan Carillo. He “always puts on a great show,” said Finder.

She also loves Maddison Chock’s style.

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She is a “beautiful and exquisite ice dancer. I would love to be able to ice dance like her,’ said Finder. “When I ice dance, I wear my hair down like Maddison does.”

She is impressed with Adam Blake, her “extremely talented choreographer,” said Finder. “He always brings so much energy to his pieces, and he is just so unique.”

Once she is done with skating – years away – Finder, would love to have a career in the medical field.

But for now, she enjoy performing on the ice, and being with her family.

“I’m very family-oriented. I love my culture and my family,” said Finder, who added her favorite place in Framingham is “home.”

For more information on the Nation’s Cup or to watch Vanessa Finder skate, click here.

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By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.