Icing on the ice at PPL Center: Reading native living the dream as ‘Disney’ skater
Figure skater and Reading native, Leocadia Lellig, joins the spectacular wonderland of “Disney On Ice,” where she’s performing for audiences across the United States.
The exuberant and talented Lellig graduated from Exeter Township High School and was accepted to The Pennsylvania State University.
She auditioned for “Disney on Ice,” and to her delight, was chosen in the summer of 2018. Lellig began touring in September and has put her college career on a hold while she lives a dream that began when she was four.
“Disney on Ice Presents Worlds of Enchantment” skates into PPL Center, Allentown, Jan. 31-Feb. 3.
“Our show has four segments,” says Lellig in a phone interview. “Starting with [Pixar’s] ‘Toy Story III’ with Jessie and Buzz [Lightyear] and Sheriff Woody.
“Then we’ll have ‘The Little Mermaid,’ with [the song] ‘Under the Sea,’ and lots of different creatures and evil Ursula. Then, a segment from [the Disney Pixar film] ‘Cars.’ It’s the only Disney show that has real, life-sized cars driving around on the ice.”
The last segment is based on hugely-popular Disney film, “Frozen,” with characters Anna, Elsa and Olaf in the icy land of Arendelle.
“Disney on Ice” performers present up to three shows a day, Thursday through Sunday. In between rehearsals and shows, Lellig enjoys sightseeing in the cities where the show is performed.
Lellig trained for more than a decade at Body Zone Sports and Wellness Complex, Wyomissing, Berks County. She enjoys singing, art and playing the saxophone and ukulele.
Lellig, who took ballet classes starting at age three, finds that it enhances her skating skill:
“It definitely helps. Through skating you have so much strength, which helps in dancing. And in dance, you learn the grace and how to move, which helps in skating. They really complement each other, I feel. It’s been very nice for me to have that background.”
Lellig is a Double Gold Medalist in U.S. Figure Skating Moves and Free Skate. She competed for eight years.
Lellig says her coach, Andrei Lavrentiev, is one of her biggest role models, along with famous skaters such as Sasha Cohen, Carolina Kostner and Jason Brown.
When Lellig was 15, she had the opportunity to perform in Brazil, an opportunity prompted by a friend of her coach who was seeking experienced skaters.
“They had an indoor ski mountain that also had a rink, and they wanted to bring American skaters to come and perform there. So I got to go with another girl and our moms and coach. We performed there for two weeks. It was beautiful, it was such an amazing experience.”
Figure skating never wanes in its popularity. “People fall in love with skating,” says Lellig. “It’s something that starts when you’re a little kid, like wanting to be a ballerina. Every little girl’s dream.”
Lighting, costumes, technology and sets for “Disney on Ice” are more elaborate than ever before, offering audiences stunning sounds and visuals.
“The shows have been advancing, even in the past few years,” says Lellig. “The new Disney show now has acrobats and stunts.”
Lellig’s advice to aspiring skaters? “I would just say keep working hard. Work on the technical elements, but also think about what you would like to do in regards to performing.
“And do as much of it as you can. Perform in any way you can. I did musicals, which has helped with being a performer with Disney. Work as hard as you can at being the best you can.”
“Disney On Ice Presents Worlds Of Enchantment,” 7 p.m. Jan. 31, Feb. 1; 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Feb. 2; 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Feb. 3, PPL Center, Seventh and Hamilton streets, Allentown. Tickets: PPL Center Box Office, 701 Hamilton St., Allentown; PPLCenter.com; 610-347-TIXX. Group rates and information: 610-224-4625.