MEET THE CAST: CHRISTMAS ON ICE
By: Yolanda Robles, Busch Gardens Contemporary Marketing Team Intern
With such stunning features as spinning, jumping, ice and giant bows, Christmas on Ice is stuck in my mind. Busch Gardens’ Christmas on Ice returns to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay for the 2010 holiday season, and this is truly a show not to miss.
As a marketing intern at Busch Gardens, I was given the opportunity to talk to two skaters from the show and share their stories.
I met Lindsay Beall, a Tampa native, and Melissa Topakbashian, a skater from Philadelphia. Both have been skating for more than 20 years and consider it a privilege to perform in the show for the fourth consecutive year. They both became interested in ice skating at a very young age and were inspired to skate professionally after watching professional ice skating shows. When asked what it’s taken them to succeed, they both shared feelings on the importance of hard work and remembering that if you want to achieve something, it just takes time and determination.
Lindsay Beall (second in from left in the back row) and Melissa Topakbashian (third in from left in the back row) skate with the cast of Christmas on Ice at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Beall shared her memories of growing up in Tampa and visiting Busch Gardens as a child. She talked about seeing Hollywood Live on Ice and World Rhythms on Ice and thinking "I want to perform here." Now, she’s thrilled to perform in her hometown and be close enough for her family and friends to come watch her skate.
During our conversation, I had to comment on the skaters’ cute costumes and crazy spins. I wondered how they stay warm and keep from getting dizzy. Lindsay and Melissa let me in on some insider information: during the performance, the constant moving, quick changes and lighting keeps them warm. To keep from getting dizzy, though, that takes practice. One trick the skaters use is to not focus on anything stationary while in a spin.
Through years of skating together, the cast of Christmas on Ice has formed bonds and traditions. Each year, they all have a Christmas Eve dinner together to celebrate the holidays. It is a tribute to everyone’s cultures and own family traditions, and each person brings a dish reflective of them. This tradition has become one of Topakbashian’s favorites because she is unable to be home with her family during this time.
The closeness of the cast is truly seen and felt, and Beall and Topakbashian repeated it over and over again that the amazing skaters of Christmas on Ice are not just cast mates to each other – they are family.