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. Tom says:

    Great Job. I think it would have been hilarious if he fell at the end of his routine at the exit. Would have brought the whole piece full circle.

  2. Michelle says:

    That was just very sweet. :) Loved it.

  3. Maria Ortiz says:

    Absolutely wonderful! Would have loved to have seen it live. :-)

  4. Amanda says:

    Thank you. This REALLY made me smile as I read. Wish I could have been there…

  5. Frank Fazekas says:

    This really happened to me the very first time I went ice skating, only with slightly different results. It was at an indoor rink in North Jersey back in ’98. I was on the exact opposite side of the rink from the exit when they announced a Hockey practice would be starting in 2 minutes. I was plodding my way around the boards and finally thought the hell with this, I can do it, and pushed off to cross the ice. I got two, maybe three strides when a “safety” assistant grabbed me from behind. I went down to the ice immediately. Later that night I was in such pain that I went to the emergency room for x-rays. Broken rib on my right side. I missed about a week off work. Since it’s very cold today, I can once again feel an ache in that rib. And every so often, the calcification rubs against my abdominal tissue and it hurts like a bitch. Anyone know what the statute of limitations would be?

  6. Beth says:

    What was that beautiful music?

  7. Drew says:

    I wish he could have done a jump or something to make it even more of an amazing transformation.

  8. ChrisSchmidt says:

    I, too, was dismayed that nobody came out to help him and so many were laughing at his distress. I found myself hoping that the crowd was aware that he was performing. I loved the performance, though!! Gentle and beautiful.
    How about an improv everywhere perormance going off of the (appearantly)
    ‘random act of kindness’ theme?

  9. Stephan says:

    Strange how we take delight in others failures. I would have laughed as well. Thanks for showing what dignity means!

  10. the yellow tooth hawk says:

    best one ever!

  11. Vemi Hemi says:

    Wow, I think it was beautiful! Well done.

  12. virtualDavis says:

    Perfect way to start the week! Huge bear hug to the IE crew for making us smile and laugh once again. Keep the surprises coming. Please! Thank you.

  13. Jason Eppink says:

    Kenny Moir is shockingly elegant! That was just lovely. And I have to echo the kudos to the (huge!) photo team. That looked great, guys!

  14. Robert says:

    Deeply moving performance guys – well done

  15. Karen says:

    It saddened me to see so many people having so much fun mocking the ‘novice’.

  16. TRose says:

    That was a sweet — in a nice, old-fashioned kind of way. Like a Red Skelton bit.

  17. Awesome! You pulled off that “Is this really happening?” moment, and had a built-in audience.
    I loved the fumbling routine almost more than the skillful routine. Very convincing!

  18. berko says:

    I loved it. Touching.

  19. gilliebean says:

    Great job guys! Go Canada!!

  20. Josh Karpf says:

    Excellent — and no less authentic than when the producers of “Britain’s Got Talent” punk’d its audience with Susan Boyle.