FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Dennis Levesque has traveled enough to know when to appreciate a nice facility and its program. And the learn-to-skate program at Cleland Ice Rink is phenomenal, he said.

Levesque's daughter, Casey, 14, takes weekly classes at the multipurpose facility, on Reilly Street. As a skating student, Casey was privy to a special clinic Friday conducted by Disney on Ice skaters who portray Disney characters and stories both nationally and internationally.

The clinic took place from 3:45 to 5 p.m. at Cleland, with about 40 participants and six Disney on Ice instructors.

The clinic "helps me be a little more confident," said Casey.
"This is pretty amazing. We're lucky to have this opportunity because my dad moves around a lot and it's just real nice that we get to have something like this happen to us," Casey said.

"The Disney on Ice instructors are excellent skaters," said Lauren McCabe, 9. The clinic was cool and she said she enjoyed performing famous Disney scenes.

Skaters also worked on pinwheels and synchronized and artistic moves, alongside their Disney on Ice idols, said Nicole Lillard, a learn-to-skate instructor who first began skating at age 12.

Figure skating is a lifetime sport, said Brenda Hicks, an instructor who has worked at Cleland since 1983. It is a sport that offers an important life skill like discipline. It is the same discipline that former students often write to her about after leaving Cleland to pursue an education or career, Hicks said.

Figure skating teaches both discipline and strength, not unlike karate, and offers both individual and team-sport opportunities, he said.

"You get the best of both worlds," Levesque said.
Learn-to-skate welcomes skaters of all ages and skill levels who are interested in improving existing skills or learning new ones. Emphasis is placed on learning skating fundamentals, whether hockey or figure skating-oriented.

New learn-to-skate sessions will be offered Nov. 29, for three weeks, at a cost of $30 and Jan. 3, for six weeks at a cost of $60, said Liz Egetoe, skating director.

For more information about programs and services offered at Cleland Ice Rink, including private and group lessons, figure skating clubs, youth ice hockey and parties for unit, birthday or special interest groups, all accessible to both military and civilians, call 396-5127 or visit

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16