While the majority of the Disney On Ice: Frozen cast has come from a competitive ice-skating background, Jackson Stevens gave me hope for a career change.
The 27-year-old Canadian is one of the ensemble skaters and played ice-hockey for many years before switching to figure skating.
“Within a handful of months, very luckily … I ended up in Disney On Ice,” he said.
Stevens has since been touring with the company for three years.
When I was about six I went ice-skating for a friends birthday party and loved every minute.
Unfortunately for my dad, each winter until I was about 11 I would then drag him to the ice-rink so I could glide around and around while he read a book.
Surely this gives me enough knowledge and ability to become a Disney princess?
I could totally have a crack at the role of Anna, I do know there’s no Australian skaters on the current production in Wollongong (Disney On Ice has around nine different productions showing around the world at any given time).
Friday morning I met with some of the team at the WIN Entertainment Centre and my ice-skating teacher Jeremie Boisier.
The aim was to impress and not fall over.
As I sat in the stalls and watched Sam Mac finish his live weather crosses for Sunrise I started to feel nervous, remembering it had been quite some time since I hit the ice properly.
Whenever ice-skating, it’s good idea to wear gloves as falling over is what I’m good at and the cold ice hurts.
The only problem was when I pulled mine out of my handbag I discovered I’d thrown a pair of socks in there instead. Oops.
Des, can you not have your arm so stiff!
Jeremie, who’s been skating for two decades, told me the key to being a princess (or Queen Elsa) was to be “graceful”.
“Des, can you not have your arm so stiff,” Fairfax photographer Sylvia Liber yelled as Jeremie and I posed for a photograph.
At first the ice was bumpy as I tried to glide around the winter wonderland.
Jeremie showed me some moves like skating on one leg (with arms out like an aeroplane) and doing a spin.
In my head I felt I nailed it though the video proves me to be wrong.
He asked if I could skate backwards, but without gloves that was certainly out of the question.
After my 20 minute lesson Jeremie said I had potential to become a princess but I should keep practicing.
He did say I was a better skater than Sam Mac, and the first media person he’s tried to teach a spin to.
When children do it they have no fear. As you get older you remember how much it hurts to fall over, but we shouldn’t let that stop us having fun.
Bring out your inner child I say!
The closest ice-rinks to Wollongong are in Sydney, although a rooftop rink will come to life on the top of the Novotel during July.
Thirroul’s Claire Cronin-Smith and her daughters experienced Disney On Ice for the first time on Thursday.
“I’d only ever been to something similar in England when I was 10,” she said.
Alice Smith, 9, and her sister Nieve, 8, were mesmerised by the costumes and the unexpected Disney friends like Mickey Mouse and Minnie who joined the Frozen cast for a dance.
“The kids had never seen anyone glide around like that in costumes,” Mrs Cronin-Smith said.
“They kep saying ‘I can’t believe they’re ice-skating’.”
From a parent’s perspective she was impressed by the prompt starting time and the fact they were out the doors and on the way home before 9pm.
INTERVIEW WITH PRINCESS ANNA
Taylor Firth, 26, plays Anna and has been part of the team since 2010.
Like many of the ice-skaters the Canadian began figure-skating at age six and went on to compete internationally.
One of the biggest hurdles she’s had to overcome is the affect chronic asthma has had on her career.
“I have fairly severe asthma and I realised it was very much stress induced so when it came close to competition I would have an asthma flare up and get real sick,” Ms Firth said.
“I find with [performing] it’s a lot less stress for me.
“If there’s a little something different one show it’s not that big of a deal in the long run; and people are here to see their favourite characters.”
This is the first time touring in Australia for Ms Firth, who’s favourite part of the show is calling the children down to crowd around the ice (something they can’t do overseas).
“To be able to give kids high fives and say hello to them is really neat, I’ve never been able to do that in my seven years performing,” she said.
Disney On Ice presents Frozen runs at the WIN Entertainment Centre until Sunday June 18.