When professional ice skater Alexe Gilles was a little girl, she spent hours on end watching classic Disney movies with her siblings. What she didn’t do, however, was picture herself spending her adult years working as a real-life Disney Princess. Yet that’s exactly what she’s been doing since she was cast as Elsa in Feld Entertainment’s Disney on Ice Presents Frozen three years ago.
Ahead of the show skating into The SSE Hydro in Glasgow tomorrow night, AAA caught up with Alexe to find out how she goes about bringing the beloved character to life and why she thinks the film has become such a worldwide phenomenon since its release in 2013.
What initially inspired you to take up ice skating?
I first started skating when I was very little – I was only two and a half years old!
My oldest brother was an ice skater and he had a birthday party during which my twin sister and I naturally stepped on to the ice. After that, my parents kept taking us back.
It is a huge privilege to be on the Disney on Ice Presents Frozen tour. I worked very hard in my competitive career to get this opportunity and now I get to continue my professional career all over the world – bringing figure skating and joy together is amazing.
What is the most rewarding thing about bringing the character to life?
The most rewarding thing about portraying Elsa and bringing her to life is hearing the crowds and seeing all the little kids dressed up to see a Queen and role model. Elsa is a very strong and kind character – she has a really interesting life story.
How did you prepare for the role?
I was an elite competitive figure skater before turning professional and joining Disney on Ice. When I got this role, I knew that it was going to be difficult and I was thankful I had hard and exhausting training beforehand!
We have also done a lot of character training with Disney so we can portray out characters to their highest potential and detail.
I imagine the choreography is very strict. How do you manage to keep it looking so fresh?
The program for Let it Go is a little over four minutes long which is the equivalent to a Senior Ladies competitive program.
To keep it fresh I have to take it one show at a time. Each show has different crowds – it may be their first and only time seeing the show so I try to put my best effort in it for them!
Finally, why do you think Frozen has become such a phenomenon all over the world?
I think Frozen has become such a phenomenon all over the world because it is unlike all other Disney stories – this one doesn’t end up with a Prince and Princess getting married at the end.
Frozen is more true to life in that it has sisters fighting and finding themselves throughout the movie. It shows that love still wins over evil.
Anna and Elsa are both strong ladies, but have so many great qualities to them that all you can do is like them! Plus the songs are unbelievably catchy and fun!
Disney on Ice Presents Frozen, The SSE Hydro, Exhibition Way, Glasgow, Thursday 24 – Sunday 27 November, 6.30pm (morning and afternoon performances on selected dates), £20 – £52, http://www.disneyonice.com/gb/en-gb/ticket-info/Frozen/904
Words: Amy Anderson