Dancing with the stars of Cinderella on IceBy Jennie Slevin
January 28, 2013
Russian ice dancers wowed audiences in Reading with Cinderella on Ice at The Hexagon.
Jennie Slevin met the stars of the show, Valdis Mintals and Valeria Vorobyeva.
When I went along to meet the performers from Wild Rose’s Russian Ice Stars, I had images of changing into a glamorous sequined outfit and wowing judges with my speed and elegance on the ice.
Unfortunately, real life is not like the final of Dancing on Ice.
Arriving at The Hexagon, where an ice stage had been set up for the week, I tentatively pulled on a pair of skates which were two sizes too big and attempted to tiptoe on to the stage.
When I asked Prince Charming (Valdis) and Cinderella (Valeria), to teach me some moves they laughed, each took one of my hands and gently led me around the stage.
After three or four circles with something (or someone) to hold on to, I shakily decided to take my fate into my own hands and give it a go by myself.
It only took a few seconds to realise it was a mistake and I haphazardly grabbed behind me in search of my mentors.
As I learned later, it takes years to master ice dancing and it isn’t something you can pick up in an afternoon. Being from Russia, both 24-year-old Valeria and 33-year-old Valdis started skating when their parents took them to local ice rinks at a very young age.
Many of the other Russian ice stars also grew up skating, taking on rigorous training schedules and competing in events like the European and World Ice Skating Championships and the Russian National Championship.
Valdis first took to the ice when he was four-years-old but only really started to enjoy skating as a teenager when he started entering more competitions.
Both dancers said they really enjoy what they do, it gives them a chance to travel and they get paid for something they love.
Cinderella on Ice has been running since September last year and the performers will be working non-stop, travelling around the country until April.
With such a hectic schedule it’s clear to see why Valdis and Valeria view dancing as more of a life choice than a career.
Having given it a go, I don’t think the life of an ice dancer is for everyone, or at least perhaps only for those with a bit more elegance on the ice than me.