Worst Ice Skater Ever?

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Produced by Charlie Todd and Matt Adams

For our latest mission an ice skater stranded alone on the rink transformed from a novice into an expert in New York’s Bryant Park. The project was a collaboration with Ice Theatre of New York. Enjoy the video above first, and then check out the photos and report below.

Starring: Kenny Moir, performing Ice Theatre of New York’s repertory piece “In A Nutshell”
Music: Mozart – Clarinet Concerto, 2nd movement
PA Voice: Itai Shoffman
Shot by: Matt Adams, Keith Haskel, Chloe Smolkin, Lisa Nussbaum, Kristopher Knight, Gabriel Chai, Myo Campbell, Spencer Thielmann, Adam Nawrot, Andrew Ellis, Dylan Tuccillo, Andrew Flynn Soltys
Photography: Katie Sokoler, Brian Fountain, Ari Scott, David Bledsoe – See below for Flickr links of their photos.
Produced by: Charlie Todd and Matt Adams, Ethan Lercher, Moira North, Itai Shoffman

Every winter Bryant Park transforms its lawn into a ice skating rink. Earlier this year, Agents Adams and Sokoler were hanging out in the park when they witnessed a very funny moment. Every couple of hours the skaters are required to exit the rink so that the zamboni can clean the ice. While this was happening one man, a very poor skater, was stranded on the ice by himself, continually falling. This drew a large crowd of people gawking at his struggle. Agent Adams and Sokoler got an idea: what if we put a professional skater in this position and had him suddenly transform from a novice to an expert?

I met with Ethan Lercher from Bryant Park to discuss the idea. Ethan had helped facilitate our Mp3 Experiment in the park last year. He recommended I check out Ice Theatre of New York to find a skater, and directed me to a YouTube video of skater Kenny Moir doing a performance that seemed like exactly what I was looking for. When I saw the video, I couldn’t believe it. If we could get Moir to do this as an undercover performance in Bryant Park it would be perfect.

Agent Moir has nearly 50 years experience as a figure skater, having started at the age of 3. A native of British Columbia, Kenny competed in 9 Canadian Championships, resulting in a silver medal and several appearances at international competitions. He is currently the Executive Director of Figure Skating at New York’s Sky Rink. It was great to have such an experienced professional on board for the mission.

About five minutes before the zamboni cleaning was set to begin, Agent Moir entered the rink and blended in with the rest of the skaters. His bright red sweater and scarf made him stand out as he clumsily held onto the railing.

Agent Shoffman made the normal PA announcement to the crowd indicating that it was time for a zamboni cleaning and that all skaters should leave the rink.

Within a couple of minutes, Agent Moir was left completely alone on the opposite side of the rink.

As the zamboni entered the rink, Agent Shoffman got on the PA again and this time personally addressed Agent Moir, “Sir in the red sweater, you need to exit the ice.”

The crowd started to notice the poor guy stuck in the middle of the rink.

At this point, Agent Moir fell to the ground, creating even more of a spectacle.

We had classical music playing on the PA system throughout all this, and at this point the song subtly switched to the Mozart piece for Agent Moir’s routine. Over the course of five minutes he slowly transformed from a novice to an expert.

It was a blast watching the crowd realize what was going on as Agent Moir started doing more and more advanced moves. There was a huge crowd of skaters watching by the entrance, and even more inside the locker room area looking out the windows.

Agent Moir’s performance also attracted a crowd of onlookers in the two-story restaurant adjacent to the rink.

Other onlookers pressed up against the mounds of snow on the outside of the rink for a closer look.

When the piece finished, Agent Moir nonchalantly skated towards the exit to the applause of the crowd. He took off his skates and left the area as if nothing strange had happened.

Mission Accomplished


Agent Katie Sokoler’s flickr set
Agent Brian Fountain’s flickr set
Agent Ari Scott’s flickr set
Agent David Bledsoe’s flickr set

– See the full performance of “In a Nutshell” on Ice Theatre’s YouTube channel.

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91 Responses to Worst Ice Skater Ever?

  1. Dakota says:

    Good Job guys!

    I really liked this one.

    Simple yet very awesome.

  2. Mandy says:

    love this! :) made late-night homework so much more enjoyable.

    thanks charlie + IE crew!

  3. Jenn says:

    Awesome! IE, you rock!

  4. JoelG says:

    This has got to be one of my favourites yet – an awesome (but gentle!) play on people’s emotions.

    Great stuff as always guys!

  5. Dave H. says:

    Love the photography on this!

  6. Elentarien says:

    Nice one. I liked it. Very simple.

    I am a little disgusted with people just standing around to watch him struggle, though, and not one person making a move to *help*. If it had been a real novice skater, that was mean. Way to make someone dislike the sport. Good thing I wasn’t there. I probably would have ruined the performance by trying to help. lol

    • Charlie says:

      The ice guards knew what was going on and were told not to help. Everyone else had no way of getting out there as the doors were closed.

    • M. L. says:

      @Elentarien: I had the same reaction. Knowing the guards kept the doors closed explains the lack of help, but I still thought, as you put it, that some of the audience’s reaction was just “mean.”

  7. Louise says:

    Almost made me cry, that was BEAUTIFUL!! Loved it!

  8. Hari Chakyar says:

    Endearing as ever to see ridiculing guffaws turn into “wow” and “aw” smiles. Kudos IE team! :D

  9. Paul Klenk says:

    Charlie, congrats on one of your most delightful stunts yet. A real treat.

    And you HAVE to love this guy’s sweater… My second favorite part of the performance!



  10. veganchick says:

    Loved it. If you used me for part A of this video it would have been authentic! I can’t skate for the life of me. TODD, please don’t make us wait too much longer for another mission, please.

  11. Kelly says:

    That was beautiful! It brought tears to my eyes.

  12. Christine says:

    Aw, I loved it! I love watching figure skating, and this was especially nice, because I’ve played the Mozart Clarinet Concerto before! Lovely end to the month!

  13. Clarissa L. says:

    Loved this one! Totally made my night. Actually had me close to tears :)

    • boompje says:

      it brought tears to my eyes too. I don’t know why, but I guess it’s just like Bambi for the first time on ice …

  14. Megan says:

    fantastic! a very clever idea – well done guys!!

  15. Cristina says:

    Love it! And the photos came out amazing! Keep it going!

  16. virginia rea says:

    I absolutely love it, and cannot believe I was just thinking about Ice skating I did at Wolman, now Trump’s in Central Park, when I lived in NYC, the city of my birth.. Thanks to you, Charlie, and to this excellent skater for a fun wake up this am….. Love, love, love you!

  17. Lisa Jones says:

    My favourite part is the Canadian Gloves! You rocked them! Go Canada

  18. Todd says:

    Great! I’d love to see some of the reaction/aftermath interviews.

  19. Gregor says:

    Finally an another absolutely great idea. I really like that mission.

  20. I think I saw him at the Ice theatre in New York with Johhny Weir about a year ago. Awesome performance…people were like looking wondering why he was on the ice and then..Pow