Figure Skaters dazzle through the decades

Posted 3/30/23

The Warwick Figure Skaters held its 49th Annual Show Saturday at Thayer Arena. The theme to this year’s show, “Skating Through the Decades” could not have been more fitting than the …

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Figure Skaters dazzle through the decades


The Warwick Figure Skaters held its 49th Annual Show Saturday at Thayer Arena. The theme to this year’s show, “Skating Through the Decades” could not have been more fitting than the costumes adorned. The skating club  was founded  in 1970 and every year there’s been a show with the exception of those missed due to Covid restrictions. The Warwick Figure Skaters Club is a non-profit organization serving skaters, parents and skating lovers from age three to  adults. From the beginners basic Learn to Skate program, to the advanced freestyle and ice dance programs, to the nationally ranked synchronized skating teams, to the adult skaters, all were represented in the show.

Mayor Frank Picozzi helped kick  the Saturday 6pm show. He addressed the full house crowd with a testimony to the Sandy Lane institution.

He boasted, “This city has a lot to be proud of but nothing more so than the Warwick Figures Skaters.”

He applauded the great success the club has garnered, both historically and currently on the local, regional, and national scale. The many banners that hang from the rafters of the rink attest to all the association has accomplished. Club president Karen Mariano said there are more banners to be added to the collection. Mayor Picozzi continued, “Success does not just happen. The success of this organization has been the result of the people who have volunteered, the support of the families and parents, but most of all the passion, dedication, and talent of all the skaters.”

 The show then began with the club’s traditional ceremony presenting the graduating high school seniors and their parents with flowers and a good luck send-off. This year, there were four skaters honored: Kristen Carcieri, Coco Colette, Johnna Eunis and Zachary Grant.

While the Warwick Figure Skaters have created an outlet for youth to access a safe space to combine athleticism and self-expression it has also done its part for the community and local economy. The club has orchestrated many competitions over the years, both large. There have been modest engagements that bring in skaters from other Rhodes Island skating clubs to regional contests that welcome skaters from up and down the eastern seaboard. Most recently, in pre-Covid 2020, The Warwick Figure Skaters hosted the United States Figure Skating Association’s National Synchronized Skating Competition drawing in thousands of skaters, judges and families. The estimated direct benefit to the economy  was $2.8 million for this event alone. Mariano recalls there was not a hotel room or sheet of practice ice to be had, not only in Warwick but statewide during that week. She pointed out the vast amount of exposure the city receives when the Warwick Figure Skaters travel to out of state, saying, “Warwick is both positively represented and widely recognized.”Mariano also pointed out that more than half of the current Warwick Figure Skaters members are not Warwick residents, but come from throughout Rhode Island and even southern Massachusetts.

She noted, “Whether they are popping into Dave’s Market or grabbing a sandwich at a neighborhood restaurant, they are spending money in Warwick.”

On Saturday, as the audience was being transported through the past five decades with a dazzling display of music and artistry on ice, one sentiment rang true: how far the Warwick Figure Skaters organization has come since its humble start in 1970. For some coaches it was a perfect moment in time to take a pause and reflect.

 Cindy Arling-Brett is a professional singles, group, and synchro coach in Warwick. She is a charter member of the club and has been involved since its inception. Regarding the overall growth of the club she states, “It started very small with a handful of very motivated coaches who were instrumental in getting the club started along with skating parents. The club started with seasonal group lessons and grew into what it is today.” Warwick Figure Skaters started with only three hours of ice time a week and a handful of members. Today, there are 399 registered members utilizing some 40 hours of ice time a week with group and private lessons offered during three different seasonal ice sessions. 

Coach Kristine Wilkinson began her Warwick Figure Skaters journey in 1984 when she began taking lessons at Thayer Arena. She skated competitively in singles, pairs and synchro, then referred to as Precision Skating. She transitioned into professional coaching in 1992, became head of synchro in 2006 and has never looked back. Coach Wilkinson said, “The club has really been growing in the past few years. The numbers have exponentially increased, and interest is on a full upswing. Usually in years with a winter Olympics occurrence we might see an influx but not like the steady increase we have seen over these most recent years.”

When asked why Wilkinson thinks this may be the case she simply states, “Post Covid. Everyone, especially young kids who were stuck at home and could not be active or social, want to get out and try new things.” President Mariano echo’s this idea. She adds, “Of the 399 registered Warwick Figure Skaters members, 240 of them are all in the Learn to Skate Program.”

 It seems that after 53 years the future of the Warwick Figure Skaters shines as bright as Olympic gold. Anyone interested in taking lessons can go to the Warwick Figure Skaters website ( Tryouts for the Synchro Teams are being held Sunday April 2nd and April 16th, 2023, learn more and register at ( The Spring Learn to Skate Program takes place April 19th- June 21st any questions can be directed to ( registration is on the website.

Warwick Vets 8th grader Layla Oneppo channels her inner Rihanna skating to the 2007 hit Umbrella. Layla is 14 and also skates on the WFS team The Munchkins.

Katie Wood nails a perfect split jump in her freestyle solo where she skated to 2000’s hitmaker Avril Lavigne.

The award winning Snowflakes get ready to take the ice at the WFS 49th Annual Show

Nine year old Brooklyn Laskowski gets a new hairdo from her mom Bethany in between numbers. Brooklyn is a member of The Snowflakes and skated to Taylor Swifts 2014 song Shake It Off. Mom Bethany herself is a decorated WFS veteran of many years. They live in Warwick and Brooklyn is in the 4th grade at St. Kevin’s.

Graduating Seniors take a final moment to pose for a photo op. L-R : Zachary Grant, Coco Collete, Kristen Carcieri and Johnna Eunis.

Fifteen year old Kinzy Landy skates to Mikey Cyrus’s 2009’s Ice Crean Freeze. She is the 9th grade at Exeter West Greenwich High School.

Four year old Kiara Conway is showered with flowers for her group performance Cover Me in Sunshine. Here she happily poses with her mom,Courtney, and dad Geoff. This was her first year skating and her mom says she loves it. They live in Warwick and Kiara is in preschool at St. Peter’s.

Patrick Blackwell defies gravity with his flying camel move during his solo performance.

Coach Katie McKenzie and student Johnna Eunis share a bittersweet moment backstage through the glass. Eunis, a senior at Bay View, was getting ready to take the ice in her final show performance. She will attend the University of Delaware in September.

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