The Hippo


May 24, 2020








 What are you really interested in right now?

I actually love to play this computer game called League of Legends. … It’s just a sort of strategy online role-playing game.

Ice dancer
Raymond skater returns for Disney on Ice


 Can you tell me a bit about growing up in New Hampshire?

I started skating very young. ... I competed for 12 years. I also worked at fencing and I like swimming as a hobby. Pretty much, I had a simple, fun childhood with a lot of skating. … I started competing when I was, I believe, 7, … until my senior year in high school. 
What does an ensemble performer do?
We get to be a part of a lot of different numbers on the show, such as bits of Little Mermaid or Aladdin. There’s a lot of different numbers in the show that everyone can join in on. So it’s actually a lot of fun to be ensemble. … I’m more one of the group of extras. I’ve gotten to do a starfish in the Little Mermaid segment and I’ve been a laundry lady in the market segment of Aladdin. 
What was the transition like to go from figure skating to Disney on Ice?
Well, it was a completely different experience. The way of skating is quite different as well. I love competing, but I do think show skating is a little more fun. There’s more freedom in it, you get to play around a lot more, especially with the different characters, even starfish. It ends up being a lot more enjoyable at times. … It’s a lot of learning new steps and step sequences, and tour life is definitely a different way of life. That was the biggest transition, was just having to be away from home for so long and not getting to see your family as much. But in that way, you sort of gain a bigger family with all your castmates. 
Did you go seeking this kind of work or were you discovered?
I kind of was looking for it. At the time, I was finished competing but I was looking at college. But I also wanted to travel a lot and still skate. One of the coaches at my rink actually mentioned Disney on Ice because she used to be on it. So I .... sent in an application and auditioned.
What are some of the most difficult moves you do in the shows?
Some of the more difficult tricks are doing jumps in formation. There are more people on the ice besides just yourself when you’re doing jumps, so that can be a little tricky, as well as being at the right spots at the right times so you don’t get in other people’s way.
What’s the practice schedule like? How often do you have to rehearse and work with your team to get it right?
In the beginning of the tour season, we’ll rehearse for about two and a half weeks straight before the shows actually start. And throughout the week we’ll generally have a couple hours of rehearsal before shows or certain practices. There’s a thing we do called ‘class’ and it’s just a bunch of skating moves and skating skills while in groups of four … a couple times in the week.
What do you hope to do in the future?
I think it would be a lot of fun to learn pair skating. I’m actually a single skater. ... I would like to learn pair skating and potentially understudy a princess role. 
— Ryan Lessard 

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