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Queens Chronicle

LIC figure skater brings home third

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Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:11 am, Thu Aug 29, 2013.

A Long Island City girl glides on the ice with the greatest of ease.

Oceanna Pak, a soon-to-be junior at the small private school Kew-Forest, and her teammates took third place in theatrical skating at the United States Figure Skating Showcase Nationals in Cape Cod earlier this month.

“It’s very exciting, because it’s our highest achievement,” said Pak.

In the past, figure skating relied heavily on the “super technical,” coach Marni Halasa said, but this competition awarded skaters for their acting and artistic merits as well as their twirls.

National titles are no small achievement.

The group that practices once a week at Chelsea Piers — though, like her teammates Pak practices six times a week on her own at 6 a.m. — had to qualify out of a group of northeastern teams. Pak’s team rose to the top, making them eligible for the Cape Cod competition.

Once there, the nine girls competed against much larger teams of up to 30 teen skaters.

The girls, who are friends on and off the ice skated to a compilation of Cirque du Soleil music personifying characters such as a silver butterfly, a snake charmer and a lion.

They won over the judges with Rockette-esque kicks, group formations and solo numbers.

The first-place winner performed a humorous piece called “Famous Potatoes” and a large ensemble took second place for their rendition of “Oliver Twist.”

“I’m so thrilled because as a coach I know what it takes,” said Halasa, a professional ice skater, coach and belly dancer who had a cameo in “Sex in the City 2.”

What it takes, Pak says, is early mornings, lots of help and encouragement from her parents and friends, bruised tail bones, sprained ankles and sometimes, to the dismay of the aspiring lawyer who dislikes makeup, lots of glitter.

“It gets everywhere and you have pimples for days,” she said with a laugh while sitting on a bench at Gantry State Park.

“But I love it,” she said, making her new bronze metal all worth it. “Being there with your friends makes you able to do it.”

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