When the curtain rises on the Livingston Community Players’ production of “A Chorus Line” on November 13, a cast member from Verona will be missing. Matej Silecky will be 119 miles away in Aston, Pa., competing in a sport he that has been part of his life since kindergarten: figure skating.
This isn’t just any competition, though. It’s the U.S. Figure Skating’s Eastern Sectional Competition. And Silecky, age 16, isn’t just any skater: He is the U.S. Figure Skating’s 2010-2011 North Atlantic Region Junior Men’s Champion and the 2009 Regional Novice Men’s Champion. The top four finishers at Sectionals will go on to Nationals and then, perhaps, to the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Silecky will be in all the other four performances of “A Chorus Line,” and its co-producer couldn’t be more pleased about it all. “We will all keep our fingers crossed for this very fine, talented young man,” says Phyllis Meranus. “He does dance magnificently in the show.”
According to his mother, Julie Parker Silecky, Matej has been skating since he was about 4. He started in a beginning with a Tot Hockey program, but was soon asking to “skate without the stick”. Through skating, he has traveled to Japan, Russia, Canada and throughout Europe, and trained with some of the world’s top coaches. To be better at the performance aspects of the sport, he has studied a variety of dances (ballroom, ballet, hip hop, Ukrainian folk dance), and took acting classes at Montclair State University. And if your head isn’t spinning yet, consider that Silecky also competes in snowboarding with the United States of America Snowboard Association.
Which sort of explains why he is no longer enrolled in Verona’s public schools. Silecky was in elementary school at F.N. Brown (which another budding Verona figure skater, Cassidy Herko, now attends), and started middle school at H.B. Whitehorne. But as his skating training became more intense, he switched to a distance-learning program and is now a high school senior with the Laurel Springs Academy for the Gifted & Talented in Ojai, Calif. Silecky is currently taking Russian at Montclair State, which could come in handy: The 2014 Olympics will be held in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.
What are his chances of competing there? Make your decision after watching the video below, shot earlier this year when he became the Junior Men’s champion.