For Alexis Darrow, growing up in Bemus Point, a village of less than 500 residents tucked away in rural Cattaraugus County, she had but a single dream — to be a professional skater. That meant lacing up her ice skates at age 6 and training six days a week for much of her childhood.
Now 21, Darrow has traded in the sleepy back roads of Bemus Point for cities across North America, touring as much as 10 months out of the year with Feld Entertainment’s, “Disney on Ice.” For the first time since she began her improbable rise, Darrow returns to Buffalo as part of “Disney on Ice, Let’s Celebrate!”
In a telephone interview, Darrow spoke about fulfilling her childhood dreams and getting the chance to skate in Buffalo.
Question: Talk about the excitement of getting to perform in Buffalo for the first time with “Disney on Ice.” Is it a little extra special to come back home?
Answer: I’m beyond excited to come back. I’m a huge Sabres fan, so to be able to skate in that arena is kind of surreal. Getting to have all of my family and friends be able to see the show, especially some of my friends that wouldn’t be able to travel and come see me perform, that’s exciting.
Q: What is the biggest challenge of being part of something as iconic as “Disney on Ice”?
A: You’re not just skating as yourself, you’re skating as a Disney character. Everyone has their own take on the characters, so it’s a really different experience. It can be intimidating sometimes, but it is a lot of fun to get to play different characters and express myself that way.
Q: You portray Alice in Wonderland in the current show. What was the process like to get selected for that role?
A: I actually understudied Alice for two years and then this year I was cast as her. Alice is a young, bubbly, happy character, who can also be a bit bratty at times so it is a really fun role to get to be 7 (years old) everyday.
Q: You’re in your fourth year skating with Disney, traveling the country performing in front of huge crowds. When you were a little girl growing up in Western New York, did you really imagine someday this could be your life?
A: This has been my dream since I was little. I actually found a note over the summer that I had written to myself when I was 8 or 9, saying when I grow up, I want to be in “Disney on Ice.” It is amazing to be only 21 and living the dream I had as a little kid.
Q: Though you are still very young, have you thought about where you want to take your skating career in the future?
A: I’d like to stay with Disney for a couple of more years and then I really want to coach skating. I’m definitely going to stay in the sport — I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Q: Finally, what can families expect if they come out to the Buffalo shows?
A: This show has 50 different Disney characters so there is something for everyone. You get to travel through the different holidays with Mickey and Minnie. From Valentine’s Day with the Disney princesses to Halloween with Jack Skellington, it is really a fun experience for everyone.
What: Disney on Ice, Let’s Celebrate!
Where: First Niagara Center
When: Jan. 27-31