By Keith Gushard
For the past nine years, Alevia Peterson has been making a living doing something she’s wanted to do since she was barely older than a toddler — skating for Disney On Ice.
“I do what I love and I get to see the world,” said Peterson, 26, a 2004 graduate of Meadville Area Senior High School, who is on tour with “Disney On Ice — Worlds of Fantasy.”
Peterson, one of the principal skaters in the show, will be in Erie next month for several performances. She skates the parts of Silver Mist, one of Tinkerbell’s fairy friends, and Barbie from “Toy Story 3.” Her skating with Disney has taken her around the world twice, as well as around the U.S. and Canada — but this will be the first time Peterson will be performing so close to home.
Alevia got hooked on ice skating at a very young age after going to public skating sessions at the Meadville Area Recreation Complex with her family. At the time, Alevia’s older brother, Vincent, played hockey, so the family spent a lot of time at the MARC.
“She’s been skating since age 4 and she told us she wanted to skate for Disney on Ice,” said her mother, Jan.
Alevia said nothing beats seeing the excitement in children’s faces when the performance starts.
“Even if I’m tired or sore prior to a performance, seeing their faces light up always gets me through,” she said. “I never get tired of it.”
Alevia has a long list of achievements and medals from her career as a skater.
She got involved with Disney in 2004 through a training friend who was with Disney on Ice. Alevia was able to get an audition with Disney that year when there was a tour stop in Cleveland.
“Not long after the audition, I got a call (to join). It was a dream come true,” said Alevia.
The skater says she has mastered living out of two suitcases for the nine months a year while on the road with Disney On Ice. Have suitcase, will travel isn’t the tough part, Alevia said.
“Being away from my family — that’s the hardest part,” she said. “I do get to see them a couple of times a year.”
Her parents, Jan and Gail Peterson, go to see their daughter as often as they can.
“I’ve seen her in Athens, in Italy, in Canada and throughout the U.S.,” said Jan. “I think it’s wonderful that she’s been around the world.”
Mrs. Peterson also thinks it’s wonderful her daughter donates her time to children during off-hours.
“She goes to children’s hospitals to visit with children,” Mrs. Peterson said. “She goes in to give them a smile, paint their nails or brush their hair just to give them (an emotional) lift.”
“We’re really proud of her and what she’s done,” Gail Peterson said of his daughter. “It’s nice to have her in the country. The worst time is when she’s out of the country, but we have email and Skype (the Internet video service) to keep in touch.”
Alevia said it can be tough traveling as the company will do six to 12 shows in a week, but she loves touring because she’s always somewhere new.
“It’s hard to ever be bored,” she said. “There’s always enough time to see cities and the sights.”
Alevia said she loves performing and hopes to stay involved with skating as long as she can — possibly working with the shows in other capacities or coaching skating when she gets older.
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.
“Disney On Ice — Worlds of Fantasy,” with Meadville native Alevia Peterson, features characters from Disney’s “Cars” and “Toy Story” movies, plus Tinkerbell and her fairy friends.
This production visits Erie from Jan. 16 through 21 for eight performances at Erie Insurance Arena. The schedule is Jan. 16 at 7 p.m.; Jan 17 at 7 p.m.; Jan. 18 at 7 p.m.; Jan. 19 at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Jan. 20 at 2 p.m.; and Jan. 21 at 2 p.m.
Tickets now are on sale at the Erie Insurance Arena box office and online at disneyonice.com and Erieevents.com.