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14th Annual Kick-Off Classic This Weekend

Skaters from all across North America will compete at the Wings Stadium Events Center
Kalamazoo, Mich. - Teams from all across North America will converge for one of the greatest synchronized skating competitions in the country, as the Greater Kalamazoo Skating Association (GKSA) host the 14th annual Kick-Off Classic this Saturday, November 23rd-Sunday, November 24th. In total 116 teams will be competing this weekend, that a far contrast to the inaugural Kick-Off Classic when 11 teams competed in 2000. The event, which is sanctioned by the U.S. Figure Skating Association, will feature over 1,800 skaters at various skill levels from beginner through adult. 
There will be six states and two Canadian provinces represented this weekend. The furthest competitors will come from Laval, Quebec, Toronto, Ontario, Edina, Minnesota and St. Louis Missouri. Besides teams traveling to Kalamazoo, local skaters will also have a chance to shine. Western Michigan University will making their annual appearance and the GKSA will have five teams (Exhibition, Beginner1, Beginner2, Open Juvenile and Intermediate) competing.
Synchronized team skating is a fast growing team sport with over 400 teams currently registered with the U.S. Figure Skating Association.  Teams typically consist of 8 to 16 skaters and compete in divisions defined by age of the skater and the size of the team.  Synchronized skating is comprised of intricately choreographed footwork, difficult pass through and for some divisions even doing lifts like you see in Olympic ice dancing.  Similar to Olympic skating, the teams all have required elements that their programs must contain and they are judged based on the entire team’s achievement of those required elements.  There are many patterns during their performance including a circle (skating in a circle formation), line (skating in one long straight line), block (skating in a closely packed formation), wheel (rotating lines or pinwheels) and intersection (lines or groups passing through each other).
Synchronized skating may soon become part of the Olympic experience, which will give fans of figure skating an opportunity to expand their knowledge of team skating.  The competition begins at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 23rd at Wings Stadium and will run until 8 p.m.  On Sunday, November 17th, the competition will continue from 8 a.m.-11:30 a.m.. Admission for the event is $9; $8 for adults over 62 years of age, and children under 5 are free.  Organizers of the event invite the entire community to attend.
Greenleaf Hospitality Group offers an unmatched choice in world class hospitality through a variety of offerings from hotel lodging and events to dining, retail and entertainment. The Kalamazoo-based company owns and operates the Radisson Plaza Hotel & Suites, Holiday Inn West and Wings Stadium. In addition the following businesses are part of the Greenleaf Hospitality Group: Blush Salon + Spa, Burdick’s for Breakfast, Old Burdick’s, Rio Coffee, Sydney Apparel, Kalamazoo Athletic Club, Kalamazoo Wings, Webster’s Prime, Wings West and Zazios Italian Restaurant & Bar.
For more information about this weekend’s event, please contact Mike Modugno, director of public relations and broadcaster at 269. 226.0384.
14th Annual Kick-Off Classic This Weekend
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