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Disney On Ice



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at the


in St. Paul, MN this December ~
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                  We had the chance to 
                                       interview Professional Skater 
                         and Actress
                         Natasha Kuchiki, 
                                     who plays 'Mulan' and
                                 'Princess Jasmine'
                                       in Disney on Ice!
                           
      Natasha Kuchiki  

 : Judging from your extensive, professional background we know that you've got the skating part down.  How much acting goes into playing 'Mulan' and 'Princess Jasmine' on ice?  What are your challenges with this, and how is it different from 'regular' acting?

  
: Pretty much, if you are into acting and you're an ice skater this is the perfect platform (Disney on Ice).  Coming from Los Angeles, where everyone wants to be an actor or actress, I love it...give me more dialogue!  I know it's challenging for a lot of skaters because it's not what comes naturally; what comes naturally is just being technical and skating your heart out and getting the body movements.  With the acting and skating that Disney requires you're telling a story now, so it's no longer 'you'.  You're portraying someone else.  I leave Natasha in the make-up room when I step onto the ice; I become 'Mulan' or 'Princess Jasmine'.

 
 : Did you choose these two characters, or were they chosen for you?

  
: They're chosen by a casting director who filters through tons of tapes  to find the perfect match to that character, and the perfect skater to portray that role.  Judy Thomas (Casting Director) is fantastic and phenomenal at putting those puzzle pieces together.

 
:  From your perspective what are the differences between playing 'Mulan' and 'Princess Jasmine'?

  
: Well, Mulan's fighting for her family's honor and trying to hide her identity because what she's doing isn't allowed, and 'Princess Jasmine' is completely different.  She's a Princess, but she wants to be in the 'real world' too.  She ('Princess Jasmine') dreams of something else, and then this man ('Aladdin') comes along. *Laughs*
    
    
:  That's amazing, that you can be versatile enough to play both of those characters.
      
      
: I know!  I got very lucky! *Laughs*

 :  What is the hardest part about the skating and acting combo?

  
:  You just have to get used to it; the timing, and everything.  The kids are your toughest critics.  I mean, they know the story; they know what to look for and they will be tough on you sometimes, and you just want to be on point with that.  The nice thing about being an ice skater (in this situation) is that you can be forgiven for your technical mistakes, because it is live entertainment.  If you know how to act then you can make the crowd forget about the mishaps.  Like on a jump, say you fall or whatnot - you can have them (the audience) forgive you, which is really cool.  It releases some pressure of what amateur skating used to have.  If you can combine those two (acting and skating), it's smooth sailing for sure!

 
:  After doing this your entire life, what are the 'new' challenges that you face?

  
: Other than getting older? *Laughs* I get older, everybody gets younger - but there are the experiences that I can say I've got!  I am able to say "I've got a lifetime of stories! I've got a lot of experiences and moments that I couldn't ever just imagine!"  I've performed over 5,000 shows, in 32 countries and in over 550 cities.  It's a lot to be proud of, and I'm so grateful for it (the experience).  There are always going to be challenges, but that's in any career and life in general.

 
:  What is the most important thing you have learned about yourself within the past 5 years?

  
: That's a good question!  I just keep growing.  Even if I am on the same show, with the same people and on the same tour, I just keep growing to not get stagnant.  There's always something to learn; there's always somewhere where you can be better in who you are.  I just keep striving for that.

 
:  Who is your favorite character in Disney on Ice, and why?

  
: I'm going to have to be biased, and I'm going to have to say 'Mulan', then 'Aladdin' and 'Jasmine'.  I get to skate with my husband ('Aladdin'); we've been very fortunate to be able to play off of each other throughout the years; where he was 'Tarzan' and I was 'Jane', 'Gaston' and 'Belle', 'Aladdin' and 'Jasmine', 'Chang' and 'Mulan'.

 
:  What is your advice for any young, aspiring 'Ice Princesses'?  

    
: If you have a goal go after it, because you just never know!  Don't give up on it, and put everything that you have into it.  Believe in it, and believe in yourself!