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Skaters thrill audience with winter program

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- With the Christmas season comes a variety of special programs across the Central Savannah River Area.

One last Sunday included ice skaters performing to Christmas music in a program sponsored by the Figure Skating Club of Augusta.

More than 300 people came out to watch children, teens and adults take part in the annual Christmas program held at the Augusta Ice Sports Center, off Augusta West Parkway.

One performer in Welcome Aboard the Polar Express was 16-year-old Ashley Frankenfield, a junior at Thomson High School.

"We practiced for the Polar Express about five weeks, learning our complicated snowflake-looking shapes," said Ashley.

She praised her coaches, Renee Austin, Judi Johnson and Ashley Hawkins, saying their choreography "was phenomenal."

The Dearing teenager, who was featured in a front-page article in The McDuffie Mirror earlier this year, has participated in several Christmas programs at the Augusta Ice Sports Center. She began taking lessons there when she was 9.

"My favorite number was Hot Chocolate ," Ashley said of last Sunday' performance. "It was the toughest number, but it was energetic and fun."

She complimented the learn-to-skate group, saying, "They did a terrific job, considering that was their first ice show."

Many of those youngsters were clad in pajamas and gowns.

As for Ashley, she was among several ice skaters who performed solo routines, which thrilled the audience.

"The response to our show was amazing," she pointed out. "You could say we sold out a free performance. There was absolutely no standing or sitting room left. It was great to perform in front of an audience again. They were definitely dazzled by our jumps, spins and cute costumes."

Ashley currently is working toward testing and is hopeful of making it to the 2011 nationals during her senior year in high school.

Because she is working so hard to fulfill that dream, Ashley won't be playing on the Lady Bulldogs' soccer team next season.

"It makes me sad," said Ashley of not playing soccer. "I love my team and I hope they do great."

Web posted on Thursday, December 17, 2009

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