Jennifer Payne! A well known face that many children get to see when they attend Disney on Ice. Payne studied at the University of Delaware majoring in figure skating. After graduation she received an email from the Disney on Ice company asking if she wanted to travel to Japan with them. Since that day she has been with them for 11 years and traveled to 36 countries! She is a very excited woman that loves to make children smile by portraying many different characters on the ice. She also gets to be the live host from time to time and she enjoys this job because that means she is able to leave the ice and actually go into the crowd with the children. As the live host you are the person that makes the audience jump up to sing and dance. She does love skating but what she loves most is being able to interact with the children personally as the host. Like during the Frozen number when Olaf sings about how he wants to see summer the host takes a beach ball to the crowd and start dance parties with the children! The theme of the Disney on Ice Tour is ‘Dare to Dream’ and Payne believes that it is a great motto to live by. Like the characters that they bring to life, you have an inner hero and strength that you should expose to the world.
Before stepping into the arena there is a Polynesian dance number that you can watch. It was nice to see the culture introduced to young children because it is an amazing culture to get to know. One number that really stood out was the Tangled dance between Rapunzel and Flint. It was amazing seeing the skaters soar through the air holding onto her hair (sheet) because the actors are bringing the movie to life for the children. Another number that was fun to watch was the “Let It Go” number from Frozen with Elsa. You can see the transformation she goes through with the finally accepting her powers and not being a danger to her sister. The story is told is shown in her hand motions and certain moves made on the ice. Overall, Disney on Ice is filled with magic and fun for kids of all ages. You get to see the characters that you grew up watching on television brought to life before your eyes.
We have gotten an exclusive interview with none other than Jennifer Payne! She talks about storytelling, her love for skating, and an adorable memory with interacting with some of the fans. Additionally, she demonstrated the Haka line, a Polynesian dance, from the performance as well! How cool!
Host: So tell us a little bit about what you’ll be doing on the show
Jennifer: So, I’m an ensemble skater. Which is kind of great because I get to do something different and all of the storylines in the show so, in each storyline I get to go out and portray part of the ensemble in that story. But it’s really fun because you get to portray a load of different characters and you really get to pull from your acting skills and do different things. But, I also.. Sometimes I get to host the show. We have a live host in our show. Tonight I’m actually going to be hosting the show. So it’s really fun. We’re very interactive with our audience. We really encourage the audience to get up and dance and sing along; and the live host really helps facilitate that. So it’s really fun for me because I love kids, and um, being on the ice. You don’t often get to interact personally with them. So, a really fun thing that we’re bringing to all our ice shows now. Where we’ll get out into the audience and we’ll play with, a beach ball during summer with you know, Olaf is skating on the ice and talking about how he wants to be in summer. So I bring a beach ball out and we’ll throw it around with the audience. And I start a few dance parties with the kids. So it’s really fun, it’s a fun role.
Host: So ‘Dare to Dream’ is the theme, can you tell us a little bit more about the theme and some of the specific characters we’ll probably see?
Jennifer: Sure. So yes. Dare to Dream… A very important message from our show, is finding your inner hero, Finding your inner strength and as we go throughout all the different storylines, we see each character from those stories, finding their inner strength and their inner hero, through whatever circumstances they go through. So, get in your seats early because we have a… little Musical number with a little sing-along, with Miguel from Coco. So that’s really great, very popular right now, very fun. So get in your seats early for that. And then we Start with a warm-up segment. And that’s obviously very important to us. We’re athletes, and so being physically fit is very important. And then we move into our Disney movies. So we open with Beauty and the Beast. Which is my personal favorite. I love Beauty and the Beast. And it’s-we have a really fun Be our Guest number. The costumes are insane. We have giant cakes and cherry pies, and cutlery. We have everything. So that’s really fun. And then we move on to the Cinderella segment. Which is just one of the beautiful classic princesses obviously. She comes out in this gorgeous carriage; and, we have the ball with prince charming, and the step sisters trying to win him. Yeah, and then um, after that, we move onto Rapunzel, so Tangled. And we have an amazing high-flying routine where they fly from her hair. It’s gorgeous. It’s a beautiful… number. And all the floating Lanterns of course. That’s just a really fun segment. It’s probably my favorite overall segment.
Host: Is it like an Ariel kind of thing?
Jennifer: “Yes, yes. Absolutely. Yeah. So it’s really fun. I- for me, it’s my favorite part of the show. So I really like it and it’s very… you know, exciting, and there’s development of thrill with that. Um, and then after intermission, we have Frozen and Moana. So that’s, those are both very popular right now. We have Anna and Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf, and then the Moana segment. We have Maui that comes out and it’s really fun to hear the kids sing along. Everybody sings let it go of course. We encourage that. We love people that get up and interact with us. I think we have something for everybody. We have some… the more modern Disney Princess’s like the Frozen Family and Moana, Rapunzel. But then we have the more classic ones, that you know, I grow up with. Belle and Cinderella. So, yeah.
Host: I’m so intrigued and mesmerized by like your knowledge behind that. Now I wanna get to know you.
Jennifer: Oh, great!
Host: What’s your background? How long have you been with Disney on Ice and all that fun stuff.
Jennifer: Sure, yeah. This is my 11th year with the company. So I’ve, been around for just a little bit.
Host: Yeah, you’re a familiar face. That’s why I was like dying to meet her. It’s just like… omg I’ve seen her since I was a kid.
Jennifer: I’ve been around for a while, yeah. But it’s fun. Um, we all grew up competitively skating. And then, for me, I went to the University of Delaware and I actually majored in figure skating. Which sounds fake; but it’s real.
Host: Actually major in figure skating? Wow!
Jennifer: Yes, yes, so I did that and right after I graduated, I applied to Disney On Ice. And they emailed me and said, ‘Do you want to go to Japan?’ And I was like, Yes Please! So, I’ve- 11 years, 36 countries later, and I’m still loving it, and I’ve been on the several different Disney On Ice shows. So it’s just really, it’s such a fun job. I mean, we get paid to do what we love. Entertain families and skate. And we all get to do it all dressing up as our favorite Disney characters. So, there’s nothing better.
Host: That is so awesome. Okay, so what- do you have any pre-show routines?
Jennifer: Oh, uh..
Host: Are you like one of those superstitious-
Jennifer: I’m not very superstitious, um.. I think my only thing is, I always put my right skate on first-
Jennifer: and I take it off last. I don’t know why.
Host: oh okay
Jennifer: Just comfort, but that’s not a really a, superstition. I guess.
Host: You’d be amazed. It’s actually pretty common. Like, every- when people go to new houses, they’re like put your right foot. I’ve heard of that. I’ve heard of that. So that is a myth uh I heard. Okay so I’ve got some fast fun fact questions if you wanna like answer right away. Let it Go or How Far I’ll go? Which one do you prefer?
Jennifer: Uh, How Far I’ll Go.
Host: Ok, who gets the most applauses aside from Mickey?
Jennifer: Oooh, that’s hard. Uh Olaf gets a lot of applause.
Jennifer: Yes, they love Olaf.
Host: That’s interesting. Uh what’s the most- what’s your motto?
Jennifer: Oh my motto, well. I think our show is called Dare to Dream. And I think that’s a pretty great motto. And I think that’s why we’re all here.
Host: As far as a 2019 theme…
Jennifer: Yeah, we all dared to dream and we.. Yeah, we’re here living our dreams. And I think that’s important for everybody.
Host: You have a lot of interactions with the fans. So what has been your favorite fan interactions so far?
Jennifer: Oh um, there was this sweet couple last week. Um, an older couple, in Gold sequined jackets and shirts… and his said her Mickey and his Minnie. I think they were more excited than any of the kids. And I just had several moments where I interacted specifically with this older couple and it was just so sweet because I think Disney spans the generations. You have the young ones, the 2 & 3 year olds which are obviously super adorable as well. But, it really is for the whole family.
Host: That’s so true. especially for those generational’s like where you know they’ve been around the longest and they’re still coming back.
Jennifer: Yeah, cause they love it. Yeah. Disney is multigenerational, multicultural. I mean we perform the show in several different languages. So that’s a really cool thing too. To get to hear Let It Go in Spanish or in…
Host: And you can still skate to that.
Jennifer: Yeah, yeah, it’s great.
Host: You’ve toured in a lot of cities, but what has been your favorite stop so far?
Jennifer: Um, in all of my years or this year?
Host: Just whatever
Jennifer: Um, that’s a hard one. I think it’s like asking somebody to pick their favorite kid, you know? You have.. Or your favorite food you know? You have different things that you like for different reasons. There’s definitely vacation spots that I would go back to. Or, there’s-there’s places that I think oh maybe I think I could live there. Um, I would say on this West Coast tour in particular um, I’ve only been to San Diego one other time and it was 5 years ago. So this was one of the cities on this tour that I was really excited to come back to. Because the people are so friendly, the crowds are great. And there’s so much good food, and entertainment in the city so….
Host: did you see like our place, like we are surrounded by….
Jennifer: Oh yeah, I just had a yummy brunch this morning too. So I’m-I’m loving life here. Yeah.
Host: What can you not live without when you’re on tour. Is there something you have to bring with you? Cause you travel a lot.
Jennifer: We do travel. That I would say is a challenging part of our job. Is being away from family and friends… for special occasions, birthday’s, holiday’s. But our, our family is here now.
Jennifer: And so you kind of make everybody in the group, it becomes your family. And so now, what’s been a really cool thing for me, having been around so long, um… Going on these tours, I’m running into people I was on tour with 10 years ago. In a place that maybe I would never have met up with them again. So that’s just a really unique thing. You have friends and family all over the world. But, yeah, that’s definitely a challenging part of the job. But you now, thank goodness for facetime and-
Host: Oh yeah, you’re in a different technology now, wow
Host: What advice do you have for people who want to get into the skating world?
Jennifer: Oh, do it. It’s so much fun. Um, we, I think have like I’ve said before, the best job. We get to perform night after night. Bring these classic Disney stories to life. But we get to do it skating, which is something that we all grew up loving. And I think skating is just a beautiful way to express yourself; and, it’s such a beautiful artistic thing. But as well as athletic. I mean we have some insane athletes here. You’ll see during the Rapunzel segment like I talked about with the, um… silks routine and… in just all the numbers in general. It’s a very athletic, energetic show. So I would say do it, get to your local rink and start skating it’s great.
Host: Awesome, now, since we’re here, Disney On Ice. And if you had to put me in a Disney Character, who would you recommend?
Jennifer: Oh, oh my goodness. Um.. I would say Moana.
Host: Really? Awesome
Jennifer: You have the dark hair. Yeah, definitely.
Host: I love her. I still have a chance. Alright well Jennifer, it was such a pleasure meeting you. Thank you so much for joining us. Guys make sure to check out Disney On Ice coming on tour near you. A city near you. Jennifer we wish you the best and cheers to your success.
Jennifer: Oh cheers, and get your tickets at DisneyOnIce.com
Host: That’s right. Thank you so much, have a wonderful day!
Krista Buligon | Writing Contributor & Marketing Intern
B.A. | Communications | San Diego Christian College
Hi! My name is Krista Buligon and I am a Senior at San Diego Christian College. I am a student athlete majoring in Communication with an emphasis in the Film and Media. I have always had a strong interest in all types of movies because they take me to another world. But my favorite places to go to are New York with a crazy spider kid saving the day, Gotham with a vigilante dressed as a bat fighting a penguin or joker, the wizarding world of Hogwarts with a kid with a scar on his head fighting “He Who Shall Be Named”, or a galaxy far far away with jedi knights battling sith lords with colorful lightsabers. My friends always laugh and call me a super nerd for loving any forms of science fiction but those movies shape me into who I am today. When I am not on the basketball court or working at In N Out Burger I am either on my couch watching movies or writing for fun. I hope that after I graduate I can turn my writing hobby into a career and impact others the way movies have always impacted me. Instagram: @PrincessKrista11 | View My Project
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