It is every little girl’s dream to one day become a princess. For Taylor Steele, that dream has become a reality. This Sarnia, Ontario-native, who has been skating since she was two years old, plays Rapunzel in Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream. Starting out as a competitive skater, Taylor is no stranger to having to stay in prime shape, but this show requires her to travel across the United States and Canada for months on end. Find out how she manages to balance travel and fitness, and why she’s so passionate about performing.
Q: How did you get into competitive skating?
A: My parents put me into skating so I could learn to skate (as most Canadians do) and I took to it naturally. It’s all I’ve ever known. I was internationally ranked and was a senior national team member in Canada for senior pairs. I also represented Canada internationally at the junior and senior level.
Q: Why did you end up steeping away from competitive skating?
A: I ended up falling on a lift and I stretched the ligaments in my knee to the point that I was in an air cast for 10 weeks. I went back a little too soon and tore the meniscus in my opposite knee, and ended up having surgery on it. It was one of those times where I didn’t want to give skating up but I had two back-to-back injuries, so it was the end because I would have had to completely start over with a new partner.
Q: Do you have any limitations as a result of your injury?
A: I don’t necessarily have limitations; I just don’t have to jump as much anymore. I think if I were still training, I would have more limitations than I have now but because of the pair role I’m in, I get lifted for a majority of the show.
Q: What differences do you find between performing and competing?
A: They’re two completely different worlds. With show skating you’re going just as hard as with competitive skating, but it’s more rewarding. You put your heart and soul into competitive skating, but in the show world you’re performing for an entire audience of families and kids who see you as their favourite princess. When you’re competing you’re skating for the audience but you’re not feeding off of their energy like you are with show skating.
Q: Why did you choose to start performing?
A: I was always a little show pony when I competed. Growing up everyone always told me I should be with Disney and be a performer because that’s what I excelled at.
Q: How difficult is it to stay fit when you’re travelling for the show?
A: If I don’t work out I get antsy and start to go crazy. We don’t have access to a full gym all of the time, but there are other ways. My boyfriend and I go for runs all of the time and we work out at various venues, doing lots of yoga or Pilates. Pair skaters also lift a lot, so that’s a workout in itself considering you’re constantly lifting an entire human body.
Q: What is your favourite part about performing?
A: Definitely the little kids. When you go anywhere near the sides of the ice, the kids are screaming your character’s name. It’s fun when they react because they’re appreciating what we do and it’s really rewarding.