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Ice Shows

I fell into (literally and figuratively) doing ice shows. While working down at Disney World, I began to take ice skating lessons. Coming from a small town, I thought it quite the novelty to be somewhere with an ice rink that was open year round, least of all in the Florida summer heat. I wasn't sure what I would do with the skill, but my partner's wife was an ice skating instructor, so I took the opportunity to learn a bit.

A couple of years later, I got a call from a production company that did ice shows in theme parks all around the country. They had gotten my name from a couple of unrelated referrals as a juggler that worked on ice! That wasn't how I saw myself, as I had never performed on ice before, so I asked where they had heard that. Sure enough, my friends down in Florida had recommended me, so I took a fill in spot working in Cincinnati for the summer.

I am a pretty good skater - for a normal person. But, put me on stage with former Olympians and I don't look so good... It quickly became clear that it would be best for me to present my act wearing cleats rather than skates. This was fine with me because it gave me the opportunity to use the ice for slides in the choreography.

I had a great time that summer, and was asked back the next year for two other productions. After the third, I was asked back to perform in a fourth production at the Busch Garden's ice show. Unfortunately, I had to turn that one down because I needed to go back and finish my degree. It would have been fun to have been in the same show that my wife had worked as a costumer several years before.

In all, I enjoyed over one thousand performance between the three productions.

Of all of the shows that I have been involved with, I think the ice shows were among my favorites. It was a great situation to be a variety act. The shows were short, and comprised of only five acts. There were two skating numbers, the variety spot, followed by two more skating numbers. The audience had seen just enough ice skating by the time I took the stage, that they welcomed juggling as a change of pace.

The rinks were VERY small. No for me, since I didn't work on skates, but for the poor skaters. They would have to do their routines very slowly, while constantly turning to switch directions. One mistake and you are out of the show,literally, because you would find yourself sitting on somebody's lap in the audience!

As a soloist, I had more freedom to improvise and connect with the crowd, so I tried to draw on some of my street performing experience to lighten up the show. It was great fun for me to break the fourth wall and work with the crowd a bit during my act. Many of the big chorus numbers were very grand, with lots of big costumes and sparkly things. I felt like the shows needed a personal touch, so even though I used background music, I would come out and actually talk with the audience, and make jokes during my act.