Sooke skater performs with injured ankle

Leonardo Maekawa missed a few rehearsals for Grease on Ice, but learned sequences visually

Leonardo and Pilar Maekawa

Leonardo Maekawa, one part of the Sooke brother and sister skating duo, performed in the on-ice adaption of Grease with an injury on March 24-25.

The show itself entailed six weeks of rehearsal, six days a week for about an hour each time.

The dedicated skater broke his ankle last October after he took a jump and landed incorrectly. The injury ended the season early for him and his 17-year-old sister Pilar Maekawa, whom he skates in pairs with.

Although the setback may have been discouraging for others, Maekawa,19, views the injury introspectively.

“That little incident cost us the season, but everything happens for a reason,” he said.

The injury didn’t stop Maekawa from performing the lead role of Danny, the protagonist who forms an unlikely relationship with the new girl in town, at his best. Although he could only physically participate in two of the six weeks of rehearsal, Maekawa attended each practice and learned the sequences visually.

Maekawa said the show ramified his love for skating.

“It was a moment of euphoria,” he said. “It just brought my love for skating to a whole new level. Me and my sister love performing for audiences, this is like a little treat for us.”

According to Maekawa, the three productions at Archie Browning Sports Centre were nearly sold out each time, with many returning spectators.

“It went perfect, it was excellent. All three shows were a great success, the crowd loved it, they were cheering after every single performance,” he said.

“We were all very sad to see the show end.”

The pair have been skating for 12 years, and Maekawa said they’ve been, “eating, sleeping and breathing skating for a long time.” 

“It’s almost like my sanctuary,” Maekawa said.

He said the next plan of action is to regroup, and focus on the upcoming season, which will hopefully lead them to the international scene.

“We’re hoping to, once my ankle gets healed up, to get into the international level,” he said, adding the pair have their eyes on Olympic ice.

Leonardo hopes his ankle will heal this April in time for the international season in September.