☆Exclusive Disney on Ice Interview – mancubmindfulyoga☆

We are extremely excited to bring you this exclusive. We are joined by Jenna @mancubmindfulyoga who is not only an incredibly talented skater from DISNEY ON ICE, but one of the principal cast skating as ANNA from Frozen (among others). Here we’ll discuss her background, getting to work with Disneys premier touring company and stories from on the road. We are privileged to bring you Jenna. Skater, Yoga Instructor, Princess.

COME: Jenna, thank you so much for joinging, us. Let’s start at the beginning. When did you begin skating?

Jenna: I started skating at 6 years old and immediately fell in love with the sport and grew up competing. My family and I would go see Disney on Ice every year. I started telling my Mom that I wanted to skate for Disney since I was little!

COME: Great to have that vision at such a young age. So how long have you been skating for now?

Jenna: I have been skating for 25 years, with 12 of those being with Disney on Ice. At the time I wanted to audition there wasn’t a Disney production coming near my town, so I mailed a VHS tape with clips of my skating and an “about me” intro. I got a call 3 weeks later letting me know I’d been cast in a show starting the coming autumn.

COME: Wow what a break! And who have you had the chance to play during that time? *readers listen to this…

Jenna: I have had the opportunity to portray many roles! Personal favorites include Anastasia (one of Cinderella’s stepsisters), Ariel, and Anna. One of my most magical perfomances, was getting to perform the role of Anna in Scandinavia. It was a truly magical experience to perform in the place that inspired the story.

COME: That is an awesome line up. Two of Disney’s most iconic princesses. This must be any girls dream. But dreams also come with work. What kind of training goes into your performances?

Jenna: My training differs depending on whether or not I’m home on break, or on the road. When on tour, I like to give myself one or two rest days per week. Usually on those “rest” days, I end up walking miles because I’m exploring the new cities and countries with my husband. I often go for a run and do some yoga on days off. On work days, I come in early to practice for an hour before preparing for showtime. I usually get in a little yoga before the performance too. We can have up to 3 performances in a day! Stretching is super important after the show to prevent injury!

COME: Yikes, I could imagine. Three shows a day! That’s alot of time on the ice. You’ve told us about the intense training and performance involved during the show but how early do you have to prepare before opening night? And how many people go into making a production happen?

Jenna: A new Disney on Ice production has an 8 week rehearsal period to get the show ready! That doesn’t include all the pre production and planning that happens before actual rehearsals start. My most recent show had 54 people making up the cast, crew, and staff.

COME: We can only imagine the work that goes into a show. Where have you enjoyed performing most, and what do the massive cast do in their down time?

Jenna: I can’t say I have a favorite place I’ve visited! There have been so many amazing experiences! I really enjoyed Vietnam and Sweden. It really does feel like a  big extended family on the road. We often play games together between numbers and shows. Bananagrams and Dobble are 2 favorites! We also spend holidays together. It’s not uncommon for people to host little get-togethers in their rooms around Christmas time to celebrate. My husband and I had castmates over to watch Elf and drink hot chocolate last Christmas. We find our little ways to make life on the road feel homey.

COME: How lovely to not only play these incredible roles, but with your Husband too. Please tell us about your time skating together.

Jenna:I met my husband in Japan when I switched to a different Disney show. We have been traveling and skating together for 9 years now, married for 4. My husband has been skating for 44 years, 25 with Disney! We train together a lot, but also with the others in the cast. Training alongside our cast members is a great way to learn and perfect new elements! Everyone comes from a different training background and it makes for a great learning opportunity for everyone.

COME: I can imagine it’s an incredible opportunity to collaborate, you must be so close during these shows and I imagine you would have some funny stories to share?

Jenna: Funny moments… So, if one of the cast is sick, the other skaters fill in for her spots in ensemble numbers. We all have to know all the steps for everything just in case some one is sick. Anyway, it was written on our show board who was meant to skate her spot, but because the hand writing was confusing two of us showed up on the ice to do the same spot! Haha it didn’t take long to figure out what had happened. Thankfully, we are all so familiar with the choreography, we were able to adjust the number to accommodate an extra person!

COME: So not only can you do 3 shows a day you all know eachothers moves! It’s like an actor knowing all the lines of a film. It’s also really cool how you resolved the double appearance. Just shows how knowledgeable you are of your craft. Who do you enjoy performing for the most?

Jenna: I have performed for some famous people, usually local celebraties. But our most memorable guests and the ones that really create the happiest memories are the kids we see!! We love it when kids are dressed up. We always talk about it backstage.

COME: We can vouch for that, although ours came as Spiderman last year! We gave him a pass. Are there any roles you would still like to perform?

Jenna: There are so many roles I would love to portray. I really enjoy roles that challenge me. My dream role would be to skate as Vanessa (Ursula when she’s a human)! I think it would be super interesting to portray a villain and skate something so different.

COME: Yes! That would be awesome, also you could come at the role from another angle having already played Ariel. So, do you have any backstage secrets?

Jenna: Hmmm backstage secrets…. Well in every venue we play we have make-up rooms where we put on our make up, prepare for the show, change etc… And each cast member has their own spot. We all get really creative with our make up spots to make them feel like a home away from home. Some girls have little photos of family, trinkets from traveling, or little toys of  their favorite Disney characters, or just good luck items. It reminds me of old ladies at bingo with their good luck charms!

COME: You’ve shared with us some great stories and memories. But with them must come some sacrifices and harder times, how have these affected you?

Jenna: The hardest part of performing is more to do with the traveling and living out of 2 50pound suitcases! We can get homesick sometimes, but the second we’re behind the curtains and hearing the excited murmur of the audience we remember why we do what we do and how grateful we are to bring the magic of Disney to so many people.

COME: I bet being away from home is real tough. But I would hazard a bet being away from the ice has been harder. How has the closure of performances due to Covid affected you?

Jenna: I can’t even begin to describe how hard it’s been since corona shut us down. No one knew that the last show we skated was going to be the last one for an unknown while. It’s hard to not have that closure. Disney on Ice will absolutely be back when it is safe to resume performances, but no one knows how long that will be. We all didn’t just leave our jobs, we left a close knit family group and a deep passion for our craft and performance. Most of us haven’t been able to skate since that last show, due to closures of indoor athletic facilities. I can’t wait to be back performing and hope to skate for you all again soon.

COME: I have no doubt you will be back, and your shows will be that more special. Taking things for granted is a thing of the past now. And when you are back, we’ll be there to cheer you all on. Now while you may have had to put skating on pause, we love what you have been doing since, please tell our readers a bit more about that.

Jenna: I am RYT-200 yoga teacher and I started my Disney yoga YouTube channel a couple months into the Corona lockdown. Yoga has been a great practice for me on and off the mat, especially during the stress of corona and having to leave my normal life so abruptly. I realized when I was making my own yoga flow sequences, that the morals in Disney movies really fell in line with the principles of yoga. So I started combining the two to make fun sequences for all Disney lovers. I hope that my yoga can provide a sense of well-being on and off the mat! It’s a nice way for me to combine two passions and continue spreading a little Disney magic in my own way.

COME: That’s incredible. I love that you haven’t just sat back but created something new and super exciting. I imagine disciplines for skating and yoga can overlap. Thank you so much again for this great opportunity to sit down with an unbelievable talent and I cannot wait to see you skating again. Before we leave where can folks find you on Social Media?

Jenna: I upload a new class every Monday and my Youtube channel is Jenna Leopard Yoga. I’m also on Instagram at @mancubmindfulyoga

COME: Well folks definitley check the yoga out it is super fun to do (I tried it) and follow Jenna on IG for lots of cool content and hopefully she’ll let us know when she’s heading back to the ice so keep an eye out for that.


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📸 @mancubmindfulyoga

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