As Craig said in his recent story, we are so fortunate as professional skaters to be able to do what we do and not only get paid and travel all over the world but really put ourselves in a position to meet so many amazing talented performers, people in the business and most of all make so many connections that really can be used as resources for yourself as a professional. I think my fondest memories as a young professional skater fresh out of high school and the amateur skating world, was when I toured with “Disney On Ice” which at that time was called “Magic Kingdom On Ice” starring my all time favorite skater Linda Fratianne! She was one of my idols growing up as a little girl and to think I was going to be in this big show with the Olympic silver medalist was like the coolest thing that could ever have happen to a litle girl from Paxton Massachusetts. I was like a super star, now! Annie Schmidt built such an impression on me and made the show sound like the most glamorus life you could ever have! She was the talent coordinator at that time. When I got “The Call” it was probably the most memorable moment as an 18 year old skater could have. I have to say there were some moments I will never forget and most of all people I will never forget!
I remember meeting Jill Shipstad for the first time during rehearsals and thinking, “She is like a star from the Ice Follies and I’m actually getting choreography done by her!” I thought she was the most glamorous show girl ever! She was so fun to work with and I remember her teaching me the little hand position that I still can do to this day and remember how hard I had to work to make my hands look like Alice in Wonderland! She did it so perfectly and she had one of the best sit flexes in the world! She worked so hard to show me how to make my legs do that pose and I tried so hard but I think I was missing about 2 feet worth of leg compared to hers! I remember Bob Paul asking me if I was going to change my hair color and make it more blond to look like a real show girl should! I was horrified had no clue what hair dye was all about, but I’ll tell you I learned pretty quick! Because of Bob Paul I have remained blond to this day and love it … thank you.
How about those darn eye lashes for the first time! Ok, my Mom didn’t really let me wear makeup back then so I was at a complete loss of what eye lashes were all about not to mention how I was going to get those on my lids. Thank God for my roommates who rescued me from this horrible dilemma. That was a great laugh! I think we all can relate to our first experiences at the show and I feel so lucky to have met so many wonderful people that taught me so many aspects of the show world. About the travel, I can’t even explain what an amazing effect being in Japan had on me. Granted we were there for quite a long time and adjusting took a little while especially looking at that little fish on my plate fresh out of the water thinking am I really going to be eating this? Needless to say Sushi is now one of my most favorite foods in the world to eat! What I loved the most about the country was how people remained so traditional in a country that was so modernized! I loved the whole culture and its beautiful, traditional ways. I remember going to watch the Geisha dancers and watching traditional Japanese Karate demonstrations as well as the giant Sumo wrestlers. Needless to say I now take traditional Okinawan Karate and love it!
Where would I have ever gotten such amazing adventures as these but in the ice show! Now as a coach I look back and have some great laughs with some of my show friends and most of all use some of my teachings in my career now. Not the eye lash story but really learning the business from the best of the best back when show skating was changing from Ice Follies to Magic Kingdom to now Disney On Ice. How lucky I was to share such great times with such incredibly talented people.
Posted by: Beth-Anne Duxbury Last modified on: 1/22/2006