With dimmed lights and a clear sheet of ice for the open stage, the InnovationPlex hosted a returned Winter Ice Carnival for 2023.

Having had to shut down for the pandemic, the Winter Ice Carnival returned to Swift Current with a double-feature shake-up of its formula.

In years past, the show followed a theme for its performances. This year, they instead chose to follow a movie and its sequel. Those two films would be SING and SING 2. The animated features follow the talented antics of walking and talking animated animals who perform in talent shows for money and fame.

Helping organize the day of the show was Stephanie Steinley, the treasurer and head of the Winter Ice Carnival. Steinley was helping people get into position and find their way around the gargantuan InnovationPlex, even as the show was beginning.

Stephanie Steinley, smiling for the cameraStephanie Steinley, treasurer and head of the Winter Ice Carnival. 

"It's been a lot of hard work the last three weeks, putting the finishing touches on costumes and everything behind the scenes," said Steinley.  "Our volunteers have been incredible. Coming forward and helping out with everything, taking a lot of the load off of the board, so we've not had to do as much. They've been fantastic."

Some of the volunteers who helped with the 50/50 raffle. Some of the volunteers who helped with the 50/50 raffle. 

Swift Current residents turned up in support of the kids skating in the performance, with a few hundred smiling faces filling the stands.

Down on the ice, they had 70 kids pulling off the impressive routines. However, they do have some guidance during the show.

"We have our two head coaches, and then we have two girls that help those coaches as well, and then we have our program assistants," said Steinley. "They help with the younger kids, so they're out there every day with those little ones."

The show was split in two, with the first half covering the first film and the second half the sequel film. The kids on the ice were in costumes, reflecting the characters and setting of the movies. Films called "SING" do have a fair bit of music involved, which featured alongside the practiced movements of these young performers.

While performed with ease and grace by the skaters, their movements on the ice have been practiced for quite a while. Their first sessions began in September and October and continue through the winter season.

Mice, skating off the goal line together, holding hands.Some koalas hold hands as they skate off the line. 

Getting the Carnival up and going again after a three-year hiatus wasn't a spur-of-the-moment decision. Steinley and others who run it have been sitting on the idea of trying out a movie-based format for years.

"We've had this idea sitting there for quite a while, and we've never done a carnival this way," Steinley said. "We've always done a theme and then just picked songs based on that theme. This year, instead, we decided to follow a movie and thought we'd try something different. It was really fun!"

The structure of the show was all designed and coordinated by the two head coaches of the program, Dorothy Gillis and Shayla Humphrey. They organized the routines, the music, and the condensed storylines.