Luckily, the teen is good al reading lips. Her mom, Kathj Hart, mouthed one word. "Breathe."
The music started, and despite the 200-person crowd, Erin lit up the rink with a skill that had audience members asking aloud about the girl. She finished second at that 2011 competition in Forest Park, near Chicago.
Today, Erin is in Py-eongchang, South Korea, with 10 other skaters as part of Special Olympics Team USA. She's competing in the World Wintei Games with 152 athletes from the United States and about 3, 200 athletes from around the world. The opening ceremonies are today, and competition runs through Feb. 5.
Erin, a senior at Pleasant Hill High School who trains at Springfield's Nelson Center, earned her spot after winning the level two division at the Special Olympics Illinois 2012 Winter Games in Galena.
She was diagnosed with autism when she was just 18 months old. Kathy says Erin has fought through so much since then, including an ear infection while preparing for the World Winter Games.
Before leaving for Korea, Erin practiced one last time at the Nelson Center. Her family watched as she performed her 90-second routine while wearing the teal, sparkly dress she use in the competition. She said she's excited for the international competition and to experience the culture in Korea.
Erin and her 21-year-old brother, Paul, both love Asian culture. They're especially looking forward to the spicy food. They are also eager to see the sights of Korea.
Paul, who will graduate from Western Oklahoma State University this spring, also has autism. He said he's proud of his sister.
Remarkably, Erin's skated in only four other competitions. She first took lessons in September 2011. When she started learning, she could not skate backward. Now, Erin twists and turns and performs her favorite move, the waltz jump.
Kathy and Erin Hart moved to Pleasant Hill in July 2011 to care for Kathy's parents. Her father endured a bad rollover collision in his pickup and her mother had suffered a stroke. To thank Erin for making the move and helping out, Kathy allowed her to choose one activity. Erin researched where to take skating lessons in central Illinois.
"The rest is history" Kathy Hart said. "She just absolutely took to it like a duck to water."
Erin's Learn to Skate Academy Coach from the Nelson Center suggested the now 18-year-old compete in the Special Olympics. Erin and Kathy make the 176-mile round trip from Pleasant Hill multiple times each week. It's paid off. Erin skipped past level one and moved straight to level two when she started competing.
"It shows her that perseverance pays off," Kathy said.
Erin's dad serves as a load master instructor in the US. Air Force. He's still stationed at Alius Air Force Base in southwest Oklahoma, The distance gives mom and dad different perspectives.
Kathy watches every practice. She sees the incremental steps, but Rawn Hart sees huge strides - the leaps and bounds.
"Every chance I get to come up to support her in one of her events, it's really great," said Rawn, who's hoping to be relocated to Scott Air Force Base east of Belleville.
As part of a military family, Erin has attended nine schools. Born in Mississippi, she most recently lived in Oklahoma. Skating eased the latest transition and helped Erin make friends. She loves skating with both Team USA and the other Nelson Center athletes.
"She'd been really bublied once before and this has added a whole new level of confidence for her," Kathy said.
Teachers told the Harts it's obvious when Erin will be skating after school. Those days, she's in a great mood, almost giddy. Those are long days though.
"By the time she jumps in the shower (after practice), she is dead dog tired," Kathy said. "But, she's always happy."
Moving up after Korea.
Quickly moving through the skating ranks is no easy task.
"She's made phenomenal progress in such a short amount of time," said Janet Icenogle, Erin's coach.
Icenogle is a certified Special Olympics coach. She said skating is a great outlet for people with developmental disabilities because it meets their sensory needs. Erin's shown a desire to succeed on the ice. She's determined and always maximizes her time in the rink, Icenogle said.
"It takes a lot of perseverance. It also takes a lot of dedication on behalf of the skater," she added. "The skater's got to want it."
Erin is Icenogle's first skater to compete internationally.
"What I think most of us as coaches would tell them, 'Live the experience. Enjoy the experience,'" the coach said.
Erin is set to graduate high school this spring. Her parents aren't sure what she'll do next. But, one thing is certain: Erin plans to continue skating. She'll move to a more advanced level after the competition in Korea, "She'd skate with a walker if she could," Rawn Hart said about Erin's plans to continue on the rink.