For ice skater Annee Magee, next week’s Disney on Ice: Dare to Dream shows at the Spokane Arena mark something of a homecoming.
Magee, although originally from Portland, spent a great deal of time in Spokane skating with the Lilac City Figure Skating Club at Eagles Ice Arena during her competing days.
“During the summer, ice time in Portland is a little bit limited,” Magee said.
But that wasn’t the only factor. It turns out getting off of your home rink carries a lot of other benefits.
“Putting yourself in a different atmosphere before competing, getting out of your comfort zone a little bit to train actually helps with handling your nerves,” Magee said. “So when we went up to Spokane, my coach would get to visit family and I got more ice time. It was kind of an all around winning situation.”
So, for a few years Magee lived between Portland and Spokane, training and getting as much ice time as possible to prepare for competitions. Now she’s transitioned out of competition and gone merrily into the entertainment world of Disney on Ice shows. In “Dare to Dream,” she’s a member of the ensemble.
“I grew up competing in figure skating, but a few years ago, I decided I wanted to step away. I still loved skating. I just wasn’t really into the competitive field anymore,” Magee said. “My coach and my mom were actually the ones that suggested that I give ice shows a go. So, we created an audition video. I sent that in to the casting director with Disney on Ice and was really fortunate and lucky to be accepted pretty shortly thereafter.”
The change in atmosphere between competition and performance has been a rewarding experience for Magee. As she begins her third season with Disney on Ice, the most refreshing aspect she’s found has been the level of audience involvement.
“You feed off of what the audience gives you, and it’s amazing,” Magee said. “I know from experience that no matter how tired you are, once you go out on the ice and the audience is cheering and singing along to whatever song you’re skating to … you don’t even think about how tired you are.”
Another difference she’s found lies in the elaborate assortment of costume that comes with a Disney themed show.
“Some costumes can be a little difficult when you first join the show just because we’re used to wearing much lighter, more aerodynamic costumes, but you adapt pretty quickly,” Magee said. “They’re a little larger than life, but we’re professional performers. We can make it happen.”
The show itself is full of beloved Disney characters like Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, Elsa and Anna, Moana and Cinderella.
“My favorite princess to this day is Cinderella,” Magee said. “I remember, when I was 10, being so excited, finally seeing her on the ice for the first time.”
The cast of more than 40 skaters has become a second family to Magee.
“Our schedules can be long and enduring, but we’re really good about keeping our positive energy up and going even when we’re a little bit tired.”
And they really have every excuse to be tired. It’s a fast moving show with high energy ice routines and quick costume changes, not to mention quite a bit of acting. But, the audience reactions are always worth the work.
“There is definitely a difference between competing and performing for judges versus performing for children and families,” Magee said. “It seems more positive and I think the audience interaction feels more genuine. I feel more connected.”