Jennifer Payne has been skating since she was a child. With her dad’s motivation and lifelong support, she pursued a career in figure skating from a young age. She graduated from the University of Delaware where she majored in figure skating. Shortly after receiving her degree, Disney offered her a job in Japan, ever since then she has been skating with Disney on Ice for 11 years and it has taken her to 36 countries around the world. She is a talented asamble skater, which means she gets to portray an array of different characters and do different things. She is also the host of the show at certain times.
Jennifer loves hosting the show because she loves kids and enjoys being part of Disney on Ice. When Jennifer is skating, she is doing what she loves, but she also likes to be interactive with the audience and kids. Before every show, she tends to always put her right skate first and when it comes to taking her skates off, guess which one is first? That’s right! The right skate. She is not superstitious but it’s what she does. Her motto is the same as the show’s: Dare to Dream! Because, why not? When asked what her favorite fan interaction was, she had to choose a couple who seemed to be more excited than the children surrounding her. One thing she couldn’t pick was her favorite touring spot, because well, she has many. Lucky her! The most challenging part of her job is being away from her family however, she has built a family with the Disney on Ice cast and crew.
Dare to Dream is the recurring theme of Disney on Ice. Jennifer tells us that an important message from the show is finding your inner hero and your inner strength, and Disney on Ice showcases the message with the assembly of different characters. Jennifer gives us an insight at what can be expected from the show. There is an opening number of Beauty and the Beast, where they perform the Be Our Guest number, which features giant cutlery, pies, cakes and characters all dancing around. There’s a Cinderella number with a beautiful carriage and a ball where you can expect her stepsisters to try and win the Prince’s heart. Tangled is also on the ice and in a spectacular number, the main characters dance in the air surrounded by floating lanterns. Frozen and Moana also have a shining moment in the show with everyone’s beloved characters.
Jennifer was extremely excited to be part of Disney on Ice. Even though she’s been with Disney for years, her love and joy for her job are showcased through her every word. She has fun with our Host when she teaches her a couple of dance steps from the Moana number. And she reveals her utmost favorite performances are Beauty and the Beast and Tangled, even though she has seen the routines many times. You can never get tired about what you love. There’s no doubt that she is living her dream.
Before the show, Disney on Ice features a Polynesian Dance. An assembly of young woman wear beautiful tops and skirts as they dance in front of spectators. Kids are in the array as well and you can tell they are all having fun. They follow steps given to them and completely rock the stage.
Disney on Ice is a must watch show. With performance like Miguelito from Coco, who plays his guitar while skating and dancing around. Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Donald Duck also deliver some laughs. Belle and the Beast dance together in a beautiful piece that takes them all around the ice rink. Cinderella makes her debut in her glowing carriage as she waves at the audience. Meanwhile, skaters in large horse costumes dance in front of her. Tangled brings in some real earned laughs thanks to their trusted horse, but they also take your breath away when Rapunzel pulls herself, and Flynn Rider, into the air by a long fabric that is meant to be her hair. You can hear the audience loving it and being completely blown away. Frozen on Ice is as remarkable as it is on film. Scenes such as, when Ana and Han meet and when Elsa reveals her powers are not only danced around the ice ring, but they are acted out magnificently. It’s a totally new way of telling the story. When Elsa sings her solo number, lights on the ice make it seem as though she truly lights the ring with ice. Moana then takes over in a perfectly choreographed routine with a large cast. It is beautifully put together and the costumes are amazing, they feature her sailing boat, Maui and some funny characters.
I’ve got to say that my favorite number is Tangled because Rapunzel and Flynn soar in the sky. It is wonderful and it must be hard to achieve when coming back down on the Ice, but they make it seem easy. The floating lights that surround them also make it all the more magical. Frozen almost makes me feel like I’m watching a play and I love it. There’s laugher, smiles and astonishment in the crowds that lets you know the show is worth watching. Overall Disney on Ice delivers what it promises: entire fun for the family!
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. 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, really 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 aerial flying 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 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 Princesses 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. 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: 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, so I did that and right after I graduated, I applied to Disney On Ice. And they emailed me saying, ‘Do you want to go to Japan?’ And I was like, Yes Please! So, 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, do you have any pre-show routines? 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, and I take it off last. I don’t know why. Just comfort, but that’s not a really a, superstition. I guess.
Host: You’d be amazed. That’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 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: Who get’s the most applauses aside from Mickey?
Jennifer: Oooh, that’s hard. Uh Olaf gets a lot of applause. Yes, they love Olaf.
Host: 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. Yeah, we all dared to dream and we.. Yeah, we’re here living our dreams. And I think that’s important to 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… said her Mickey and his Minnie. I think they were more excited than any of the kids. 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: 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 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? Um, that’s a hard one. I think it’s 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 well, 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…. 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… special occasions, birthday’s, holiday’s. But our, our family is here now. 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.
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 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… 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: 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: 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.
Caroline Buendia | Writing Contributor & Film Producer
B.A. | TV, Film & Media | Cal State Univ – Los Angeles
Caroline is a senior at CSU-Los Angeles. Next up, she’ll be chasing her Masters. She’s a passionate storyteller, writing and directing are her tools to do it. You can find her stamp in anything she does as carolbcreates. She writes as much as she reads, meanwhile pursuing her goal to have her works on TV, Film, and published. She loves adventures and her stories always take her there. As a proud Latina, Caroline is ready to take on any challenges that may come her way. If it’s easy it’s boring. And she doesn’t do boring. | Instagram @CarolineBuendia| View My Articles
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