PELHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – Some of the best young figure skaters in the nation are in Pelham this week competing for a national championship.

The Pelham Civic Complex is hosting the National Theatre on Ice competition this week. Competition began Saturday and runs through Saturday. More than 80 teams from across the country are in town for the competition, including teams from as far away as California, Minnesota and Boston.

Leaders say the key to success in Theatre on Ice competitions is to be theatrical – the more the better. The goal is to use music and skating to tell a story. It’s similar to Disney on Ice, except in a competitive setting.

“You see all the tricks, the jumps and the spins and things like that,” Danny Tate, director of the Pelham Civic Complex, said. “But you see characters, you’ll see things that are trying to portray themes and things like that. So it’s a very wide range of skating.

Tate also coaches the Magic City Theatre on Ice teams, which feature local skaters. Their open team performed an Irish drinking song Wednesday and finished first. If they perform well enough Thursday, they’ll claim the championship in the open division.

Skaters say it’s a great opportunity to compete against the top teams from around the country.

“Once competition season comes, you see how much work you’ve put into the programs,” Verania Garcia said. “And it’s really fun to see everyone else coming in, see what they do and then showing them our program.”

The Pelham Civic Complex also hosted the event in 2016. In 2017, the teams traveled to Evansville, Ind. Last year’s competition was in Chicago.

“It’s crazy, because I mean we’re hosting it this year and I just feel really proud of our team and everyone,” Audria Liliac said.

Thursday’s competition begins at 1:30 p.m.