SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) — Allison “Allye” Ritt, 29, is going to Disney. Not for vacation, but because she was recently accepted as a skater in the 2014-15 tour of Disney On Ice’s “Worlds of Fantasy.”
“I am excited to get to do my favorite thing all day. My schedule for the first two weeks is 10 hours a day, six days a week on the ice. It’s a good thing I really love skating,” she laughed.
Ritt left for Florida at the end of August, where she, and the rest of the cast, will have two weeks to train before their first performance, embarking on a tour throughout the U.S. and Canada. She will find out her role(s) when she arrives.
The Sheboygan resident will be taking a hiatus from her life of a skating coach and Brown Deer High School German teacher.
Ritt’s husband of six years, Jeff, fully supports her endeavor, as do her parents, John and Kathy Brown.
“Allison is a self-motivated person and very driven. She never needed any push or encouragement from us. We totally supported her skating because she had such a passion for it. She loves to perform and compete, and we truly enjoy watching her skate,” John Brown said.
Ritt said that a couple of her former coaches have skated for Disney and gave her some insight, “but it is still a mystery to me” as to how it will work, she said.
The “Worlds of Fantasy” will encompass scenes and songs from such shows as “Cars,” ‘’Little Mermaid,” ‘’Lion King” and “Tinkerbell and the Disney Fairies.”
Ritt is a U.S. Figure Skating quadruple gold medalist having passed skills tests and earned gold medals in free skate, moves, dance and most recently in pairs figure skating.
The senior pairs test that she passed was a 4 ½-minute Olympic program including double jumps, double-double combinations, double throws, double twists (rotating twice in the air before being set down on the ice by her partner), footwork, and the backwards death spiral, among other tricks often seen during the Olympic games.
U.S. Figure Skating states that these tests provide the backbone to the U.S. skating program. The highest achievement in each discipline is passing the senior, “gold” test, earning the skater the designation “U.S. Figure Skating gold medalist.” Only 3 percent of the skating population takes these tests each year, with just 20 U.S. figure skaters passing the pairs test.
“It’s similar to karate and moving up to black belt. That’s how my husband likes to explain it,” Ritt said.
She is currently working on her gold medal in international ice dancing, which requires that she pass all 10 partnered Olympic dance showcases. She’s already perfected eight, but is in search of a male partner who is available and has the ability and knowledge to perform the last two dances she needs to reach this next goal.
Ritt took up figure skating at the age of 9, initially skating in Sheboygan, and then training in various rinks throughout the state and with coaches and partners from around the world.
What drives her to excel are the mile markers she continually sets for herself.
“Allison has always been setting goals to challenge herself. As soon as she reaches a goal, she has reset the bar and focused on an even higher goal,” her father said. “Both as a figure skating coach and as a school teacher, she loves to see the excitement of her students as they learn and achieve their own goals.”
Ritt has a double major from Lakeland College in German and Secondary Education, as well as a minor in history.
One thing Ritt believes that people may not realize is how much athleticism and dedication is required to be a skater.
“You can’t go just once a week and expect to succeed. It takes quality coaching and obviously a lot of ice time,” she said.
She keeps herself in prime condition by visiting the gym four to five times a week, skating four times a week, and is often training for half marathons to push her endurance.
“For me, I never want to question if I was capable of something,” she said. “I want to know. And I don’t ever want to do less than what I can do, so I am constantly pushing myself to see how far I can go.”