My Book-Mrs. Paddington and the Silver Mousetraps
Mrs. Portulaca Purpilopilis
and the Purple Adventure Goggles
Facts to Wow your Friends!
1.Can you explain to kids what a professional skater is all about?
A professional skater is someone who takes their love of skating and lifelong practice, talent and ability to the stage. We love traveling to different cities around the world to perform for different families, and making them smile while doing what we love. The difference between an amateur skater and professional skater is that a professional skater is paid to skate.
2. What is the best part of your career choice?
Traveling, experiencing the world and all the different cultures. Seeing all the children we make happy every show.
3. What would you say was the most difficult aspect of your career choice?
Traveling would also be the most difficult part of our lifestyle. Living in a different hotel room every week is tough. On one hand you have someone to make your bed every day, on the other hand living out of two suitcases for a year is difficult. Not to mention missing our families.
4. Do you have a memory or two you'd like to share with young people concerning working with Disney on Ice? What are several characters you have been? Are some characters harder than others perhaps because of the costumes necessary to wear?
Over the ten years I've worked for Disney on Ice I have been lucky to portray many roles. On Finding Nemo, I portrayed Bloat the Puffer fish, I even blew up! That character was fun, but the costume was a unique experience to skate in. My favorite part was the full face makeup complete with a unibrow! I had the wonderful opportunity to be trained on the silk for the aerial act in the jelly fish number. I would do thirty foot drops with my skates on. On Let's Celebrate, I love portraying Alice in Wonderland. This show feels like a Wonderland with all the different characters, celebrations and stories.
5. Any suggestions for young people who might be interested in your career? How might they start now to learn about your career? Which skills are necessary to be successful in your career?
Work hard and follow your dreams. I have been skating since I was five. I would encourage anyone to get involved in a sport they love, especially ice skating. Keep training and audition after high school.Timing,balance,a sense of humor(in case you fall,etc.) , acting skills, being able to perform in front of people, and being a team player are important skills.
8 . Describe a typical day at your job. How many hours a day do you have to practice?etc.
Every day is different. The weekends and holidays are our busy time. A typical Saturday, you would see us arriving at the arena an hour and a half before the first show. We would check in, put on our makeup, receiving any daily announcements and notes, warm up and stretch and then "on with the show." We usually have about a two hour turn around and then a second show. After another break with a company meal, then we have our third show of the day.
9. What got you interested in becoming a professional skater? Did anything at school help to foster your interest in this career? How did you go about getting a job at Disney on Ice?
When I was five we had just moved to Houston, TX and were walking through the Galleria with the indoor skating rink. I saw the ice skaters and asked my mom for lessons. She said no. I was persistent and finally after a week of asking she started me in ice skating. While most kids dreamed of the Olympics I think I was always more oriented toward the professional performing side of skating. My favorite competitions were in Spotlight, where you were encouraged to wear fun costumes and have different music. My favorite number was'Putting on the Ritz' where my mom dressed me up like a giant ritz cracker with a top hat and cane. I was interviewed at age twelve after an exhibition during a hockey game and asked what my dream was and I said to perform.
I went to college for two years and during that time auditioned for Disney on Ice. My skating coaches had been performers for different ice shows and encouraged me to audition. After three auditions and a two year wait, I was hired to Toy Story 2. I have been here for the last ten years enjoying a career that lets me keep skating.
10. What was one of the most interesting places you have performed?
Every culture shows their appreciation differently. In North America the kids dance, sing, and shout. The biggest difference was in Japan. They are very quiet but applaud after every number. At the end of the show they throw flowers and toys on the ice. By the end of the week we had so many flowers we didn't know what to do with them.
11. Anything else you’d like to share with young people about your career? Perhaps, what is the hardest skating technique, etc.
There are many difficult aspects to ice skating. Sometimes it is difficult to stand on one foot. I enjoy the difficulties in jumping and spinning, but also appreciate the intricacies and hard work that goes into pairs, two people who skate and do lifts together.
Photograph from Madeleine Blish-Thank You!