'Disney on Ice' comes to Long Island
Ask Natasha Kuchiki about her memories of the Ice Capades when she was a preschooler, and she doesn't talk about seeing the skaters perform. She remembers being on roller skates backstage, terrorizing all the showgirls wearing their big headdresses between scenes.
"They were, like, 'Watch out, Here come the Kuchiki girls!'" she says.
Natasha and her older sister traveled with their parents, both skaters in the show, during her early years. Her parents became skating coaches in Los Angeles when Kuchiki was 5, and she grew up in California. But Kuchiki then followed in her parents' footsteps: She is now 37 and has been performing in ice shows for 20 years.
She talked to Newsday about her early memories and the current "Disney on Ice" extravaganza, which is coming to Nassau Coliseum Thursday:
What was it like to travel with an ice show as a child?
We lived out of an RV motor home. We had our bunks. My grandmother traveled for a few years as well with us. The last year sticks in my head. I remember seeing my parents perform, and running around backstage. Mostly we traveled in North America, but we finished in Hawaii.
Which character are you in this show?
I portray two roles, Mulan, and Jasmine in the prince and princess number. The Mulan scene is dramatic, with the lighting and snowfall we create. ... There are five emotions we go through -- happy, disappointed, sad, geared up for battle, then back to joy.
What else will we see?
We've got your classics, like Pinocchio. It's 100 years of Disney. For the grandparents that come and bring the children, it's a bit of nostalgia. They read these books to their kids. It's great to see when the houselights go down and the showlights go up, the inner child in the adults comes out.
You've performed more than 6,000 shows in 33 countries. Did you have a favorite role?
Jane in "Tarzan." We had to climb ropes. And in "Beauty and the Beast," I portrayed the role of Belle. I love acting. It's the Los Angeles upbringing; that's what you do. I step onto the ice, and I am no longer Natasha. I really enjoy that whole side of it.
Like your mom and dad, you also married a skater, right?
Yes. Currently he's on the injured list. But he plays Aladdin, and Shang, the captain in "Mulan." The skating world is very small.
Does your sister also skate?
We're all still very much a skating family. My sister is a choreographer and coach in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Do you have children?
No. No time.
What keeps you performing?
The joy you get out of being able to glide across the ice.
WHEN|WHERE 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m., 3 and 7p.m. Saturday, 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday at Nassau Coliseum, 1255 Hempstead Tpke., Uniondale
INFO $15 opening night, then $25-$85 and $165 for rink-side dining; $25 parking; 800-653-8000; ticketmaster.com