An Interview with Jennifer Danowitz: Disney On-Ice Performer
Friday, March 27, 2015
Danowitz, of Stow, MA, began skating at age 9. She attended the University of Connecticut (UCONN) where she played for and was captain of the Huskies Women's Ice Hockey Team. Danowitz was awarded the ACHA National Off-Ice MVP Award for leadership, was an ACHA Academic All-American, and received an honorable mention to the ACHA Division 1 All-American Team.
Danowitz is an avid figure skater and has performed in more than 75 shows in her lifetime. She has been with Feld Entertainment, the company that manages Disney On Ice, since 2012.
Who do you perform as on ice?
I play a variety of characters in the show. You’ll see me as a monkey in the Lion King number, and then as a tuna fish in Under the Sea, and then you’ll have to come see the show to spot me in the other numbers.
What is the best part about performing with Disney?
It’s such an awesome experience to be able to perform with Disney On Ice. There are a couple of things that stand out. My favorite part of this job is to be able to bring the Disney magic to kids that are in need of it, and it’s a way for me to bring some sort of happiness to people that may be struggling with challenges in life. We get to do shows for Make a Wish Foundation and we get to have kids come in that maybe couldn’t attend other events and it’s great to be able to perform for those kids.
I like being skating and being able to look out in the audience and see the faces of the kids that are really enjoying it. Even some of the adults really get into it, but to see the kids faces light up when their favorite characters come out on the ice is a really amazing experience.
This is an international tour and we just finished up in South America. I was really lucky to play in Brazil, Argentina, Columbia, Panama and Chile. I would have to say going to Argentina was probably the furthest away, but it was also the most incredible. I absolutely loved Argentina and I never thought in my life I would be able to go down to South America for work. It was amazing.
Right now we are on the U.S. portion of the tour. I am really lucky that I get to go as far away as Argentina and then get to come here and perform at home.
What was it like playing hockey for UCONN and then transitioning back to figure skating?
It was pretty funny actually. When I was playing hockey, my hockey teammates would make fun of me because if I got checked, I would fall gracefully. Or if I was going after the puck really hard, I would do an artistic move to out skate my opponent. Going back to figure skating, I would slip and lose my balance because I kept thinking I was on a smaller blade than I really was.
It's a different environment to be in a girls locker room than a girls make-up room. I definetly had to transition from putting my helmet and equipment on to putting on make-up and eyelashes.
But I love both worlds and it's fun to blend them. It's a little funny, but it works.
Do you ever have a chance to relax on tour or are you always on the go?
It's a pretty hard schedule. When we're not performing, we are rehearsing and making sure we are staying healthy to perform at a top quality for the weekend, but depending on the city, there are some cities that you get more time off from performing than others.
I had an opportunity in South America to site see in a few cities which I was very lucky to do.
I've been really lucky. Disney On Ice has been a great way to connect with my family and my friends. It's a great way to feel closer to people. I didn't realize I would become so close to people back home even though I was apart from them. It was great to see how excited they all were to come to my show and see me skate after all those years of training.
I would like to keep going with the show and see how it far it takes me. And at the same time, keep strengthening those connections with my family and friends.
I used to be a high school teacher with Teach for America, and I would like to go back to teaching in the future and bring these experiences with me.
Will your family be attending the shows in Worcester?
I'm very excited. My brother and my dad are coming. My cousins, who are Disney fanatics, are coming to a couple shows. They come as often as possible. My mom has passed away, and some of her friends are coming to the show. It is a unifying experience for all of us. It's going to be great. I'm so excited to see everyone.
Some of my hockey teammates are coming too. And they'll be laughing at me when they see me in a costume and not in a hockey uniform. It will be really exciting to see them..
For tickets to Disney On Ice at the DCU Center in Worcester, please visit Ticketmaster.com.
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