In “Breaking the Ice,” an eight-part docuseries that makes its debut tonight on WE TV, Washington, D.C.-based coach Rory Flack, a trailblazing skater in both the amateur and professional ranks, as she assembles, coaches, and introduces to the world a synchronized skating team composed totally of girls of color. The 10 middle and high school girls who comprise the team had some prior skating experience and were chosen after a tryout.
“One of the girls I had been teaching for about two years; another one I knew and one more was a beginner when I started teaching her,” said Flack. Her son, Remington Burghart, works with her on coaching Team DMV. “He helped me pick the skaters. He also works with me side-by-side. He’s able to spot the qualities that I’m looking for, so I have four eyes on the ice instead of just my two.”
Remington, a former pairs skater, also helps with lifts, music, and synchronicity. As Flack struggles with sarcoidosis that at times keeps her from being on the ice as much as she would like, he is able to be with the team.
Parental involvement has been growing as the series evolves. “We started with one practice a week because that’s all the parents were prepared to do,” said Flack. “As we got into it, they were wanting to do more and more and more, so we slowly picked up ice time in the competitive season.”
Having everything captured on film was a lot of fun, but it did get a little intense at times. “It’s really cool that I got to be me on camera, and for the kids and hopefully the audience to see the sparks in their eyes when they start to understand,” Flack said.
For the series, DMV has a double meaning. It obviously reflects the locale of the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia, but it also stands for Divine Motivational Visionaries, the force that drives the skaters and their coaches.
Although on-ice filming for “Breaking the Ice” concluded in April, Flack hopes to continue working with the team.
“Their comfort in front of the camera came with their comfort on the ice,” she said. “I saw them progressing as their speed increased, as their skating improved, as they started to connect more on the ice…and bond as a team. I saw their confidence grow. I would like to develop this team for years to come.”