To say the 2024 Big Man On Campus (BMOC) event was a success would be an understatement.
Ice dream: Student skated for Disney before coming to Trine
May 24, 2022
By Lauren Banks
Even before coming to Trine University as a figure and synchronized skater, Beth Carley learned what it was like to share the ice with talented teammates.
The sport and recreation major, who just finished her junior year at Trine, toured with Disney on Ice, Worlds of Enchantment from summer 2019 until the shows shut down due to COVID-19 in March 2020.
The Worlds of Enchantment show features characters and stories from four Disney films: The Little Mermaid, Toy Story, Cars and Frozen. Beth was an ensemble skater, appearing in larger production numbers like Under the Sea and In Summer, as well as other scenes throughout the Frozen portion of the show.
From the audience to the ice
Growing up, her family would go see Disney on Ice whenever it was in town.
“From a very young age, I knew it was what I wanted to do,” she said. “Show skating was all I ever wanted to do.”
Beth first stepped onto the ice at 4 when her family went to a rink around the holidays. She loved the experience, so her father signed her up for a Learn to Skate class.
When she was 10, Beth started working with a private coach and skating in competitions. She said her favorite thing about the sport is the feeling she gets when she steps onto the ice.
“The moment I step on the ice for a performance or competition is so full of adrenaline and nervous energy and even fear, but none of that matters. When I'm on the ice I feel strong, powerful, capable,” she said.
For two years, Beth worked on improving her skills, gaining experience in coaching and earning her associate degree from John Tyler Community College in Virginia. When she was finally ready, Beth made an audition video, sent some emails and waited. She received an email asking her to come in for a live audition when the next show came through her area.
“Of course, I jumped on the opportunity and drove to D.C. for my live audition. That process was a lot of fun, but incredibly nerve-wracking as the rest of the cast sat there and watched,” she said.
A few weeks later, Beth received an email offering her a position in one of the shows.
Part of the show
Beth’s most memorable experience was her first show with the group.
“We were in the Dominican Republic for opening week. I was so nervous to go out for my first show because I didn't want to mess up, but it ended up going well and it was so much fun!” she said.
“The audience was simply amazing. They were so excited every time a new character came out onto the ice. They were dancing along and singing to the songs. The energy they brought was infectious and it completely took away any fear or worry I had about the performance.”
When COVID-19 hit, Beth and her group were in Canada performing, and they got sent home three months early.
“It was a difficult time in my life as all of the sudden, everything I had worked so hard for, was gone in an instant,” she said.
When COVID restrictions eventually began to lift and the Disney on Ice shows started to open again, Beth decided not to return.
“At first, a part of me wanted to jump back in and be part of the shows, but then a bigger part of me knew there was a chance we would get shut down again. I knew my heart couldn't handle losing the job I loved the exact same way for a second time,” she said.
‘This is where I needed to be’
Instead, Beth decided to continue her education.
“Going to a four-year university was never in the plan of my life. I was always set on going into shows and was okay with having only my associate. It wasn't until I was on the road when I realized that school is important to me and I wanted to earn a bachelor’s degree,” she said. “I like feeling smart. I like learning new things. I liked having the structure of classes and homework.”
Beth began the college search, focusing on schools that offered skating as a sport. Though she was hesitant to come to Trine at first, she decided to stop by for College Skating Weekend to tour the campus and see what the university had to offer.
“Being on Trine's campus and skating with the other skaters sealed the deal for me. I got that feeling of this is where I needed to be, and now here I am! I am so glad I chose to go back to school and I'm glad I chose to do so here. It has been a great experience so far and I will forever be grateful,” she said.
After graduation, Beth plans to resume touring with Disney on Ice.
“I want to be back on the ice performing for different audiences every day, a new city every week. Life on the road was tough to navigate, but I have learned a lot over the last two years or so and I would like to give it another shot,” she said.
After tour, Beth hopes to continue to be involved in figure skating as both a coach and choreographer. She also plans to become a sports psychologist.
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