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Rockettes Help Kick Off Pershing Square's 13th Annual Downtown On Ice

By David Markland
Published: Thursday, November 18, 2010, at 01:59PM
rockettes kick David Markland [Flickr]

"I love my job," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said before Radio City Hall's Rockette's taught him some kicks.

Radio City Hall's Rockettes were among the celebrities joining Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other city officials at today's opening festivities for the 13th season of Pershing Square's "Downtown On Ice" outdoor skating rink.

"I've put on my 30 SPF and my sunglasses. It must be Pershing Square time," said Jon Kirk Mukri, General Manager, Department of Recreation and Parks, citing the seventy degree weather and clear blue skies above the rink. He said the popularity of Downtown On Ice is evidence of how Downtown has become a vibrant community. When asked about L.A. LIVE's rink, Mukri said he wasn't worried about the competition. "We're the biggest and we're the best."

Mukri credited Councilwoman Jan Perry, also in attendance, with helping start the tradition when she was a staff member with Rita Walters, who she has since succeeded.

"All My Children" star Rebecca Budig and a skating partner performed a brief routine. She said she's been practicing at rink built inside an Arts District warehouse for "Skating With the Stars," premiering November 22nd on ABC. "I grew up skating on a rink in Kentucky," she said, "and now here I am skating in Downtown L.A. Odd."

Mayor Villaraigosa showed up near the end of the event, citing his tardiness on an MTA meeting where he was calling for students to be able to ride Metro free during school trips. "So they could take a field trip here to the Pershing Square ice rink," he said.

The Rockette's posed with the Mayor to teach him to to do some of their trademark kicks. They said they were holding back on their eye high kicks. To see those, they said people would have to come to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at the Staples Center December 9 through 12. The Los Angeles stop is part of a 25 city arena tour, a scaled back version of the annual Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Amanda Suchy, who has been with the Rockettes for over ten years, said the touring show has eighteen dancers as opposed to Radio City's 36, "but you get 36 legs."

Also present was Bob Bennett, a lifelong Los Angeles resident celebrating his 90th birthday. Bennet is one of the three men that over 30 years ago created the system that is still being used to make ice at Pershing Square and rinks around the world.

The ice rink will be open thru January 17th, from noon to 10pm Mondays to Thursdays, and 10am to 10pm Fridays to Saturdays. Skate rental is $2, and time on the ice is $6. The Pershing Square facility will also host a menorah lighting on December 1st, a winter holiday festival with snow and craft making on Decemver 11th and 12th, along with a concert series and "Mommie & Me Stroller Skate" sessions. Popular food trucks will also make occasional stops to keep skaters fed and warm. For more details visit L.A. Park & Recreation's Pershing Square page.

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