Lucinda Ruh takes Sun Valley for a spin
270 revolutions a minute for Sun Valley Ice Show skater
By JEFF CORDES
Express Staff Writer
Lucinda Ruh spins so fast, her lithe body seems to dissolve into gold and
silver liquid during her Sun Valley Ice Show performances each week.
She wears body suits of those colors,
accentuating her ballet-trained 5-9, 118-pound frame. And when she gets going in her
spins, well, you have to see Lucinda to believe her.
Her spins are calculated at 270 revolutions a minute. Its almost
past dizziness. "I love the sensation of spinning," she said. "Im in
my own world when Im spinninglike Im not really on earth."
Shell come down to earth a little on July 13, when her fellow ice
show skaters undoubtedly will help Swiss-born Lucinda Martha Ruh from Zurich celebrate her
In the meantime, Sun Valley Ice Show audiences will get to ooh and aah and
fully appreciate Lucinda Ruh all summer. Shes here to learn more about performing
And shes a smash hit.
Ice show coordinator Rainer Kolb said, "Its very important for
us to bring in something people dont ordinarily see. This year its Lucinda. I
didnt expect her to work out as well as she has. But Im very, very pleased
with what shes done.
"Shes so athletic, and has the most incredible balance. She
does some unbelievable, unusual spins."
Although Ruh has never finished above 13th place in five world figure
skating competitions from 1995-99, she made her niche in spinning and is now considered to
be the finest spinner in the world.
Not only is Ruh a worthy successor to spin artist Denise Biellmann of
Switzerland, the poised young daughter of Silvia and Rene Ruh has taken the Swiss national
trademark of spinning to new levels.
After Ruh placed 13th at worlds in Helsinki in 1999, figure skating
commentator Dick Button said, "Shes probably the most brilliant spinner
Ive seen in all the years Ive watched figure skating. She also has a marvelous
sense of style and position. She has flair. You can see that she enjoys skating."
Classically trained, and coached by some of skatings elite, Ruh
normally skates to music like Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn and Chopin.
This summer shes doing two numbers"Blues," a new
program choreographed by Alexandr Zhulin, and "Prayer Cycle," choreographed by
Robin Cousins and set to music by Alanis Morrisette. She enjoys the mixture of feelings
that an Asian touch offers.
Thats because Lucinda Ruh considers her true home to be Japan, where
she lived from the age of four to 17.
The second daughter of the president of a Swiss chemical company,
Lucindas family moved to Tokyo when she was four. She has lived in places as diverse
as Iran, Austria, New Zealand, Paris and New York.
Lucinda was educated at the International School of Sacred Heart in Tokyo.
Today, she is fluent in four languagesFrench, German, Japanese and English. She
knows Russian and Chinese.
Trained in ballet from the age of three, she used to go to ballet classes
every day and skate with older sister Michele just once a week at the Prince Ice Skating
Rink in Tokyo.
However, eight-year-old Lucinda decided to forego a scholarship to the
Royal Ballet of London and instead devoted the bulk of her practice time to figure
skating. She said, "I liked the gliding, the movement and the competition.
"I love the artistic side, the interpretation of musicthe
beauty, speed and elegance of skating. What I want to do is portray the ballerina on
Although she gained fame in Japan for spinning, Lucinda broadened her
horizons when she moved with her mother to Toronto at the age of 17. She worked with
Toller Cranston on choreography and Ellen Burka on jumping technique.
One year later she moved to San Francisco and made rapid progress with
Kristi Yamaguchis coach Christy Ness. Injuries sidelined Ruhs attempt to make
Switzerlands 1998 Olympic team, but 1998 turned into an enriching year.
From June through December 1998, she lived and trained at Harbin, China
and worked out with a variety of competitive national-team athletes.
Now, she calls China "the best experience of her life."
She lived with 200 athletes in a compound that had an ice rink and sports
hall. The training was incredible. Within five months, she was landing all five of her
triple jumps. She had good chemistry with the coaches and learned a lot.
In February 1999, Lucinda trained with the famous Oliver Honer in
Switzerland, which led up to her fine worlds effort at Helsinki. She then toured with the
German Stars on Ice.
Lucinda, who now trains in Hackensack, N.J. at the same rink as U.S.
Olympic hopeful Sarah Hughes, said, "Ive had a lot of experiences. And I gain
positive things from each."
She has never had a spinning coach, but now she has her own web
pageheadlined by her spinning image.
But Ruh, the 1996 Swiss national champion who used to raise green turtles
in Tokyo, still has a competitive dream.
Lucinda wants to become a physician specializing in sports medicine, but
she also has medal dreams. She said, "Id like to win a medal at the worlds or