ESCONDIDO — At just 10 years old, Jana Klingseis fell in love with the sport of ice skating when she began lessons with her sister. Seventeen years later, Klingseis will begin her ninth tour with Disney on Ice when the production, “Mickey’s Search Party” comes to San Diego County this month.
Performing in the popular production as an ensemble skater, Klingseis said she feels fortunate to have the opportunity to do what she loves most while also exploring the world. She also enjoys entertaining people while expressing herself, Klingseis said.
“Performing in front of thousands of people is a dream come true for me,” Klingseis said. “I love seeing all the kids who come to the shows dressed as their favorite Disney characters. It’s especially rewarding to see multiple generations of family coming together to enjoy classic Disney stories that the whole family has grown up with.”
Klingseis, a U.S. Figure Skating gold medalist, said she was thankful to join Disney on Ice, a Feld Entertainment production, thanks to former coaches who guided her at a young age.
“Several of my coaches were former Disney on Ice performers and a few other skaters from my local ice rink had joined Disney as well,” said Klingseis, who is also a member of the Escondido Figure Skating Club. It sounded like such a great experience that I wanted to join too.”
At the encouragement of her coaches and others around her, Klingseis submitted an audition tape to Feld Entertainment before trying out for a role in person. Nine years on the road now and Klingseis hasn’t regretted the decision.
“I love the opportunities I get to meet new people and travel to exciting places,” said Klingseis, who worked as a coach at Ice-Plex Escondido prior to joining Disney on Ice. “I hope I can continue those adventures as part of Disney on Ice.”
When or if her ice skating career comes to a close, Klingseis, who also loves to be in the kitchen, said she hopes to attend culinary school. For now, she’s enjoying being on the ice while drawing inspiration from her mother and the other strong women in life. She also finds motivation from her fellow performers.
“I am constantly inspired by the talent of my fellow performers and the dedication they put into each of our performances,” Klingseis said.
But the performers also draw inspiration from Klingseis herself. Adam Loosely, performance director for Disney on Ice, said the Escondido native has brought a “positive energy” to the production and tour.
“Jana takes full advantage of the fantastic performance opportunities here with us at Disney on Ice and continues to make Disney magic happen every show,” said Loosely, who has known Klingseis for six years. “The sky is the limit for Jana.
By seeing the performance, and in particular, seeing a woman from their hometown in the show, Loosely said he hopes guests of the show will enjoy the retelling of their favorite Disney movies.
“What Disney on Ice does so well, is fuse together the athleticism of skating and acrobatic elements with theatrics,” Loosely said. “My hope is that everyone that comes to the show, is not only in awe with the talent this cast and crew bring to your home-town, but that you also feel that special Disney magic when you see your favorite characters skating and sometimes even flying by.”
The latest Disney on Ice production, “Mickey’s Search Party,” will take place at Pechanga Arena San Diego from Jan. 23 to Jan. 26. The show will feature stories from Disney movies “Coco,” “Frozen,” and “Moana” among others.
Tickets start at $13. For more information, go to disneyonice.com/.
Hoa Quach has 15 years of experience in journalism, garnering multiple awards ranging from investigative reporting to feature writing. She’s been named a “Woman Who Means Business” by the San Diego Business Journal, featured in BuzzFeed during International Women’s Day and recognized by the California Legislature for her work. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.