As a 10-year-old, Lisa Langley used to commute all the way from her Manchester home to Boston to skate with the likes of Paul Wylie and Nancy Kerrigan.
Now 37, Langley is teaching local children and adults a range of skating level classes a bit closer to home. She was hired in July as the skating director at the new Conway Arena, a state-of-the-art facility that opened in Nashua in September.
Tonight from 6-8, Langley is hosting a fund-raising exhibition for prospective skaters, featuring current students in solo and group performances. Tickets are $5.
“It’s a beautiful facility. It’s a wonderful rink with wonderful management,” Langley, a senior-level skater who has taught classes since 1984, said Friday.
The 200-foot-by-85-foot Conway Arena is the new home to the Daniel Webster College and Nashua and Souhegan high school hockey teams, plus the local youth hockey association, according to Langley’s public relations assistant, Mercy Zaveri. Group and private lessons in basic skills and freestyle at the new rink start at $99 for an eight-week session..
“So far, our learn-to-skate is sold out,” Langley said.
New classes begin in January though, and there are still openings for that session, she said.
Langley is also in the process of starting the Gate City Figure Skating Club, an amateur competitive organization based at the rink that will participate in local and regional exhibitions and meets. The club started to meet in October, but it will be about six months more before it gets official certification from the United States Figure Skating Association, she said.
Langley’s skaters come from as far away as Fitchburg and Acton, Mass., for morning and evening classes and range in age from 3 to adults. One of those adult skaters is Zaveri.
“I’m in the basic-skills program,” Zaveri said earlier this week. While she has skated all her life, Zaveri, 30, had never taken an organized lesson before signing up with Langley.
“I can go in one direction very well,” she said.
Zaveri is hoping to learn some fancier moves in the group sessions she is taking.
“My goal is to compete as an adult in the lower levels,” she said.
The adult classes are open to a range of ability levels. Zaveri grew up studying jazz, tap, ballet and Irish dance, so skating moves are not totally foreign to her.
“In our class, some women had to hold the wall,” while learning to skate better, she said. Langley said so far, only one adult male has signed up for classes and all the children are girls. Men and boys are welcome to sign up, too, she said.
Langley skated for coach Theresa Martin in Burlington, Mass., and later at the Skating Club of Boston as a child. Today, her own 7-year-old daughter, Emily is one of her students and 4-year-old son Eric is learning to skate, too. Skating really is a family affair for the Langley’s; Lisa’s husband, Arthur, played goalie for Saint Anselm College hockey team.
Class levels include basic skills level 1 to freestyle level 6 and the Gate City Figure Skating Club will compete in the intermediate to senior levels at regional competitions.