Sunday, December 8, 2019

Joel Featured in Colorado Xposer Online Magazine - December 2019

Interview Joel Farris Disney On Ice Skater

Joel Farris has been skating with Disney on Ice and Feld Entertainment since 2014. His first role was as supporting cast in the presentation Frozen but in this current show, ‘Mickey’s Search Party’, Joel says “It has a completely different feel to it, it’s almost like parkour with the way the performance goes, not just traditional skating but we incorporate aerial maneuvers, jumps and stunts like you’ve never seen before!”.
Growing up here in Colorado Springs, Joel was exposed to figure skating at a very young age. A majority of his family are figure skaters and pushed him towards that field, but Joel was much more interested in playing hockey instead. It wasn’t until the age of 10 that he finally decided to give figure skating a try and ended up falling in love with it. Surrounded by the exceptional talent of his family, it didn’t take much for Joel to become the best he could be. Winning the Gold Medal in US Figure Skating and once placing at the US Championships, Joel knew he could achieve anything he set his mind to and eventually that is what led him to his career with Disney on Ice.
What Joel loves most about being a supporting cast member of “Mickey’s Search Party’ is how intense the show is incorporating extreme skating with ramps and jumps involved. This show is action packed and unlike anything you’ve ever seen before in any other Disney on Ice performance. Joel says being involved with this show has allowed him to push himself and his ability to try new things. “Mickey’s Search Party”  I would say is more on the lines of a Cirque performance, we incorporate a lot of aerial acts and many stunts, there will also be many characters interacting with the crowd to bring a more personal touch to the show, also bringing a more immersive fan experience with it”. This happens to be the first show to ever incorporate projection lights into the live performance. The projection lights have the capability of painting a scene instantly, allowing for a more realistic setting for the characters to act out their particular scenes from the movies. Joel’s favorite part of the show is the rendition of the movie ‘CoCo’, stating it is by far the most visually stunning portion along with how beautiful the music is.  Good news for all of Joel’s fans, during ‘CoCo’ you will have the opportunity to see a lot more of him on the ice and much of his performance will be action packed. The performers can actually hear your cheers of joy and the sounds of awe as the scene from the movie is painted live before your eyes. The crowds engagement really ignites these performers on the ice, so when they hear your cheers, it’s hard for them to not get even more excited about performing for you.
Watching all of your favorite Disney characters come to life on ice can be like a dream come true, especially to all the little ones that truly believe they are seeing their favorite characters come to life right before their eyes. The cast loves being able to see how the crowd reacts from the ice, “We can see quite a bit from our position, especially the audience closer to the rink, their energy and happiness always makes me smile, it pushes me harder to make sure I’m giving them my best performance” states Joel.
Joel appreciates being involved with the Disney on Ice team and states that his years with the company have allowed him to grow significantly, working on personal development and even being able to travel the world and experience many different cultures. While traveling, Joel loves to take photos, capturing the scenery and monuments while exploring whatever city/country he might be in at the time. Through these travels he has also gained a greater appreciation of home and how to be grateful for everything that he has.
Disney on Ice will be here this weekend and Joel would like to remind you that if you haven’t had the chance to purchase your tickets to one of the upcoming shows, you can do so by clicking this link DIsney on Ice ‘Mickey Search Party’ Denver Tickets. Showtime’s are as follows and tickets start at only $15 so it’s affordable to bring the whole family!!
Hosted at the Pepsi Center downtown, performance dates and times are:
Dec 05, 2019 at 7:00 pm
Dec 06, 2019 at 11:00AM & 07:00PM
Dec 07, 2019 at 11:00AM, 03:00PM & 07:00PM
Dec 08, 2019 at 11:00AM & 03:00PM
Still plenty of time to grab your tickets so don’t miss out on your chance to catch this experience of a lifetime!
As always stay tuned to Xposer Magazine… where you go to be scene!


My niece Phoebe was also interviewed by the same magazine in March of 2019!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Drawing of JO ANN and Rich - 1976 or 1977

I found this in storage on Wednesday afternoon 10/9/19.  It is a drawing I did in 1976 or 1977 of me and my ice dance partner Richard Griffin.  I don't really remember doing this drawing, but it is my work.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Kathy Casey Inspired Me to Become a Fighter, Speak Out, and Also Forgive

Kathy Casey Shows Off Her Many Ice Skating Sweaters That She Loved to Wear

The ice skating world has recently lost Olympic and World figure skating coach Kathy Casey.  Since her passing, I have thought a lot about how she impacted my life.  

I was never one of Kathy Casey's students, but in 1974, just before I competed in my first US National Championships in ice dancing, Kathy came into my life.  Later, long after I retired from competitive skating, when I was coaching skating in Colorado Springs, she again came into my life.  Our latter interaction affected me greatly.  Kathy Casey never knew how she inspired me to become a fighter, speak out, and also forgive, but she did all three of those things.

To sum things up, when Kathy was the Director of Skating at the old Broadmoor World Arena and then later on director at the newer Colorado Springs World Arena (now called the Ice Hall at The Broadmoor World Arena), her job was so hard that she had to become very tough. The tough side of her caused me to decide to fight her and speak out about something she and I did not agree with.  For a time, the two of us were in conflict.

I did not "win" in that conflict with Kathy and as time passed, both of us moved on.  I continued to fight and speak out about other causes not just in skating.

Years later, I wrote and published an article about Kathy Casey that highlighted her skating and coaching accomplishments.  Perhaps that article caused both of us to forgive one another and even be friends.  This story of reconciliation and forgiveness has shaped my life until this day.

In recent years Kathy Casey always had something nice to say to me and complimented my three children's skating accomplishments.  Every time I saw her she had a smile on her face and looked so happy.  She also looked so pretty in the skating sweaters she loved to wear.

Rest in peace, Kathy Casey.  You impacted so many!

Monday, September 2, 2019

Sun Valley, Idaho Is My Favorite Place to Skate and May Be My Favorite Place On Earth!

Recently, I returned from Sun Valley, Idaho. My son and my dad and I had the best time ever there.

"I wish I had grown up skating in Sun Valley," my son Joel told me during our week there.  "It is just so fun to skate here!"

My goal for our week in Sun Valley was to give my son the joy of skating big time, and of course, that goal was met.  Who can't be happy when you can ice skate outside?  Who can't be happy when everyone that skates with you is so very happy and is always smiling?  Who can't be happy when there really is no driving time to the rink and no fighting over ice time?  Who can't be happy when you are skating in a place that some call "Heaven On Earth?"

Joel's been traveling with Disney On Ice for five years and beginning his sixth tour now, so he hasn't had a chance to experience a skating vacation and I wanted him to have one.

During our trip, Joel got to work with U.S. Champion Ryan Bradley, ice show performer Ashley Clark, Olympian Jeremy Barrett, pair skater extraordinaire Natalia Zaitseva, and with trick ice skater Jason Graetz.  He also had an amazing and inspirational lesson with the famed figure skating choreographer Douglas Webster.

Together, Joel and I,  ice danced outside every day and even did a twilight ice dance session together under the stars since we were in Sun Valley for part of Adult Week.  We made new friends and got to skate with some of the adults who came for Adult Week.  During the Twilight Dance session, I got to do some dances with the incredible Brent Bommentre and with the wonderful Franklyn Singley and Joel was able to dance with the amazing Olympic ice dancer Judy Blumberg and with the former world competitor and ice dancer Kim Navarro.  Joel enjoyed skating on the pro session every afternoon with the stars of Sun Valley's annual ice show.  I skated patch and did figures every morning on the outside rink as the sun began to rise!

Also, the people in the Sun Valley and Ketchum and the Wood River area were so friendly.  We mostly skated, but we did get to go on a fly fishing experience and of course rode our Razor Air scooters around the Sun Valley hotel grounds and up into the hills.  We played tennis a few times too.  I rode my scooter to the rink every morning.  We went on a wonderful hike and went to one of Sun Valley's free outdoor concerts where the music of Gershwin was played.  We attended some wonderful events with the Wood River Jewish Community.  We went bowling!  We ate out and experienced some of the good food in Ketchum, Sun Valley, Hailey, and Bellevue.  We made a new friend, Adam Pennington, who took us on our fly fishing trip.

(I can't help but make a comparison:

My children were born and raised in Colorado Springs and I was their first skating instructor.  I taught them every day at a rink in a beautiful mall in "the Springs" and they loved ice skating there.  Beginning in 2006, when I signed my three children up for their first summer skate at the Ice Hall  of the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, I just assumed that skating there during the summer would be like skating in Sun Valley or some of the other beautiful resorts with ice skating rinks that I had skated at when I was a child and teen.  I was wrong.  At an intense training center like the Ice Hall at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, the focus is training champions.  There is nothing wrong with that, but all three of my kids, who are now grown up, tell me that the fun of skating was drained from them there.  Others who have trained at the Ice Hall have had similar experiences and say the same thing.  No one meant for that to happen, but I have come to the conclusion that figure skating training centers that only focus on elite figure skating are really not the best places to skate if you want to have fun skating.  This makes me sad, but I am glad because of our past three summers in Sun Valley, that I was able to restore my children's joy of skating.  Now, they all love to skate more than ever and I hope they can pass that joy of skating on to everyone they meet just as I have always done.)

I wish that my kids had grown up skating in Sun Valley or just been able to go there during their summers, but I'm glad they all got to experience the happiness of skating in Sun Valley later on.  What is incredible is that Sun Valley's rink management and coaches are committed to giving everyone who comes to their rink a positive experience.  It doesn't matter if you are a beginning or recreational skater, an adult, or an elite champion...everyone is treated with respect and encouraged to enjoy the skating opportunities there.

A big thank you to Sun Valley Ice Rink's manager, Scott Irvine, and his staff including Pam and Brent and Daisy for making Sun Valley, Idaho my favorite place to skate and thank you for all your hard work.  Also, another thank you to Scott for taking the time to talk to Joel about your work there since you retired from touring from Disney On Ice.  Also, thank you to Olympian and show skating star Frank Sweiding for spending some time talking to Joel.  Thank you to every coach there for being so upbeat and friendly.  You all have truly created an ice skating paradise!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Gamma Phi Beta Skaters at Colorado College - Mid 1990s

In the mid-1990s, four Colorado College Gamma Phi Beta's realized we were skating together regularly at Colorado College's Honnen Ice Rink. We took this photo for the college's alumni magazine, but I also remember the photo ended up in SKATING MAGAZINE. Terri was in the class of 1982 (I think), Joy was in something like the class of 1955, JO ANN was class of 1978, and Barb was in the class of 1997 or 1998 I recall.

Skating Photo From Like 25 years ago of JO ANN and Her Nephew Drew Ice Skating

This is a photo of me teaching my nephew Drew how to ice skate. Drew is now 32 years old now and is one of the most wonderful and responsible nephews ever!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Annabelle Schneider-Farris Featured in Cheyenne Edition 6-3-2019

I am SO PROUD of my daughter Annabelle! She was featured in the local Colorado Springs newspaper this week⛸😍

Below is a screenshot of the article, but it can also be accessed at the link below: