It’s a long way from Sun God Arena to the bright lights of New York City, and North Delta figure skater Leanne Butler has been everywhere in between. Butler, 20, is getting the opportunity to see the world as a cast member of the Disney on Ice touring show. Disney on Ice: Rockin’ Ever After comes to the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver week, and for Butler the show is a homecoming.
“It’s great to be able to come home and perform in Vancouver in front of all my family and friends,” she said in a telephone interview while on the road in Washington State.
Butler first stepped on to the ice at Sun God Arena in North Delta, but unlike her two sisters and brother, she decided she wanted to figure skate in stead of playing hockey.
“I’ve always been involved in figure skating, my whole life as long as I can remember,” she says.
Butler competed at the B.C./Yukon provincial level and was able to set personal bests at every sectional meet she competed in. Her skating career took off when she joined the Connaught Skating Club in Richmond and worked with Ladner coach Amy Lambert.
“I wouldn’t be skating with Disney if it wasn’t for her,” says Butler. “She really believed in me and encouraged me to be better.”
Butler had a live audition with Disney in 2011 and it wasn’t long before she was touring with the cast of Disney on Ice: Rockin’ Ever After. Butler plays a number of characters in the show, including a fish from the Little Mermaid, one of the townsfolk from Tangled, a Scottish clan member from Brave, and takes part in the show’s grand finale.
The production is based in Florida and travels all across North America from August to May, stopping for one week in each destination.
“I’ve adapted to hotel life,” she says. “I love having time off to see the sites in new places with my cast mates.”
So far, Butler’s favourite stop has been New York City, where she performed at the newly opened Barclays Centre in Brooklyn. Since Disney on Ice travels all around the world, she hopes to travel overseas with the show in the future.
“I’d love to see the world,” she says.
Butler has some simple advice for other figure skaters who one day dream of skating professionally: Listen.
“Listen to your coach and listen to people with more experience than you, and try to learn from their experience,” she says. “If you listen, you will [improve].”
• Disney on Ice: Rockin’ Ever After runs through Dec. 1 at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver.