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Sherri Richards, Published July 27 2009

Moorhead woman to join Disney skating tour

Kayla Brown’s first solo performance on the ice was as Disney’s Tinkerbell in the sixth grade.

Now 19, Brown will be touring with “Disney on Ice: Celebrations,” a new figure skating show that will tour the East Coast and parts of Canada.

The Moorhead woman leaves today for five weeks of training in Lakeland, Fla. Her parents, Ian and Karen Brown, plan to attend the first performance in Lakeland on Sept. 4.

Brown will be with the tour until May, and hopes to stay on with “Disney on Ice” for longer than that.

“I’m very excited,” she says. “As a little girl you work very hard and ultimately hope you get to use your skills in the future.”

Brown finished her first year at Concordia College this spring. She’ll put her studies on hold to pursue figure skating.

She has been skating since she was 7 and is a member of the Red River Valley Figure Skating Club. She’s a U.S. Figure Skating Association triple gold medalist, meaning she’s passed tests for ice dance, freestyle and moves in the field.

Her coach, Shelly Schreiner, says most skaters pick one to pursue, but Brown has always been very determined.

“She’s always had her goals pretty well set,” Schreiner says. “ ‘This is what I want. How do I get there? Make it happen.’ ”

To make it into “Disney on Ice,” she sent an audition video and was called for a live tryout in Minneapolis in March. She found out in June she would be in the show.

“They only take the highest-quality skaters into their organization,” Schreiner says.

The “Disney on Ice” Web site describes the new “Celebrations” show as a “colossal party on ice,” portraying Disney characters in different holidays, festivals and celebrations from around the globe. Brown doesn’t yet know what part she’ll have.

Schreiner says only one other local skater has been picked for “Disney on Ice.” Erin Rustvang spent five years with the company, ending her run this year, Schreiner says.

Brown says Rustvang has shared some tips from her time on the road.

“It’s definitely made me a lot more comfortable with leaving home,” Brown says.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556