By Billie Savage-James
Working closely with my coach on my competition routine, the first thing we decide on is the music.
Beyoncé, crazy in love, Charleston style! I then tell my Nana, my dress designer, and share a snippet of the music and she starts creating designs. Together, we decide on a colour. My coaches say bold colours are best, as they really POP on the ice. So, we decide on RED! It just had to be really, as it is “Crazy in love.”
Then we start thinking about the dress. Before discovering Crystal Parade, we would buy rhinestones and hotfix gems from Amazon or eBay. You cannot always guarantee the quality, and on occasions the stones received, were dull and of poor quality. I always wondered why my dresses didn’t really sparkle as much as the other contestants at the competitions; I was very jealous.
This time was different as we were using Crystal Parade and their Zodiac range. WOW! As soon as we opened the packets, I really did need my sunglasses. It was a hot sunny day, and the crystals were sparkling so much, I instantly smiled. We had a range of colours and sizes to choose from. Red, of course, but AB red, light and dark Siam. Clear crystal, AB and Moonlight which were really nice. The sizes we used varied from SS16 right up to SS34.
Our preferred method of application is glue, rather than hotfix. In our opinion, the best glue to use is E6000+ as it is flexible with movement – a key feature for any type of dance or sporting event. Also, for Ice skating you really do need to think about what happens to the glue once the temperature drops, E6000+ is also waterproof, (something to bear in mind, in case you fall).
We start by getting everything together. Syringes, E6000+ glue, Crystal Katana and my Dolly Board. After loading the syringes with the glue, we start applying the crystals. This is where the Crystal Katana and Dolly Board, really help speed up the process. By using the Crystal Katana to pick up the crystals and applying them onto the small glue dots created by the loaded syringe, they are then applied onto the stretched dress that has been fitted onto the Dolly board. This helps to minimise the number of stones that pop off once I put on the dress. Trust me, even if you spend £500 + on a competition dress, stones still pop off!!!
We first apply the crystals in their shapes and patterns that we have decided on. We picked swirls, and geometric shapes. Next, we highlight features on the dress, like the back hem line, the cuffs and lace netting. Lastly, we apply the rhinestones all over in a random scatter, to fill in the gaps. Then, you must let your dress dry. The longer you can leave your dress to dry, the better.
Competition days usually start early, it’s only when my dress is on and hair and make up is done, that I take that first look in the mirror. OMG! I am just overwhelmed. I cannot believe how sparkly my new dress is with the crystals from Crystal Parade on it. I am twinkling so much; my dress is so sparkly in the sunshine; I just can’t stop smiling. I am so excited and, YES, the butterflies have started. Even in my bedroom it’s the huge amount of twinkling from my dress that gets me excited. And there are small little sparkly rainbows all over my dress, from the AB crystals, WOW.
While warming up on the ice, I can see that my dress has more sparkle than the other skaters which just makes me more excited. Now, the tables have turned and I am the competitor with the most sparkle, and I love it!!!
90 seconds later……. I skate a perfect routine. Landed all my jumps, centred all my spins, and added a little bit of sass.
Then my score and position is announced…….. It seems to take ages, but here it is 19.62 my personal best.
Billie Savage-James currently in FIRST position!!! GOLD