TWO years ago they were struggling for cash to meet basic expenses after being invited to perform with rugby star and Dancing on Ice winner Kyran Bracken.
Now breakdancing ice act the Oxford Freestylers, who shot to fame after being named ‘Hottest Ice Stars of Tomorrow’ on the ITV show, are returning to their home city. They glide the surface of Oxford Ice Rink’s inaugural summer gala on Saturday.
Freestyler Joey Tsang, 27, from Blackbird Leys, said the group had taken its unique blend of breakdancing, acrobatics and figure skating to rinks all over the country.
The group’s work has included a tour with Michael Jackson tribute ‘Chiller’.
Mr Tsang said: “It is really nice to perform in our home town.
“Even though we love touring, sometimes the travelling and being away from home gets to us.”
He said he had never dreamed the group would be so successful.
Mr Tsang said: “It wasn’t really until we started touring and we were at the rinks that we realised people were recognising us, and saying ‘that’s them’.
“We’ve signed tons of autographs – it’s been quite overwhelming.”
In June 2009 the group were struggling to pay for travel to take part in the Kyran Bracken show. Theyappealed for help and an anonymous donor granted £600.
Two companies in America have expressed an interest and Magic on Ice in Mexico is in discussions to fly them over to take part in shows over the summer.
The Freestylers – Mr Tsang, Wayne Oliver, 24, from Headington, Andrew Hastings, 24, from Littlemore, Lawrence Osborn-Edwards from Blackbird Leys, and 16-year-old Jordan Heeley – train together once a week at Basingstoke.
At the Oxford gala, they will perform alongside Oxford ice dancing champion Katie Richardson, free-skater Charlotte Davis, British champion David Richardson, dance skaters Sophie Jones and Richard Sharpe and former Russian world champions Fiona Zaldua and Dmitry Sukhanov.
Mr Tsang said: “Hopefully we will be a breath of fresh air compared to what else you have seen.
“We are dangerous and we are exciting, and I think we shock audiences whenever they see us.”
Tickets for the show cost £8.50 for adults, £6.50 for children and are available from the rink or from any Oxford City Council leisure centre.