For Sydney Berrier, it all started when she was five and spotted a figure skating dress that dazzled her. “Mom, I want that dress!” she declared. Her mom answered, “Well, if you want that dress, you’re going to have to skate.”
Berrier, 18, of White Bear Lake, has been skating ever since, and has emerged as one of the best ever produced in this area.
Starting in October, she will be part of the Disney On Ice show, a plumb job for any skater.
“She was born to perform. She just lights up under the spotlights and has so many cool and difficult show tricks,” said Rose Esteb, her longtime coach.
“I’d have to say she is amazing,” added Esteb. “Not only is she a talented skater, she is the hardest worker I’ve taught in over 25 years. She is kind to everyone, humble as can be and an incredible role model to everyone, especially the younger skaters.”
Berrier recently auditioned in Sun Valley, Idaho, for skating show producers and was hired there. The 5 ft. 4 inch skater’s athletic ability and showmanship have been honed by 13 years with Circus Juventas of St. Paul, performing aerial acts on the hoop, steps and Spanish Web.
Asked what Disney character she’d especially like to be, she designated Mulan, the female warrior who “was able to find strength and courage inside herself” in a world that told her she couldn't be strong.
Berrier was also inspired by a friend, Maria Starr, 26, of Roseville, a former White Bear Skating Club teammate, who’s with Disney On Ice.
The Disney audition process includes an audition tape —showcasing jumps, spins, footwork, combinations, along with your personality — and then the in-person performance.
“Sydney did an aerial routine, which started on straps over the ice, and then she skated as well,” Esteb said. “They were wowed by her. The producer from Disney offered her a job and she has since signed a contract. This is a dream come true for Sydney.”
Berrier, daughter of Helen and Keith Berrier, took all her classes since ninth grade at Minnesota Online High School to free up her schedule for skating 7:30 to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday, along with Saturday mornings and some evenings. She also trained off the ice doing Pilates, ballet and strength training.
White Bear Lake Sports Center’s skating club has been Berrier’s home base her entire 13-year skating career. Her primary coaches are Esteb and Lynn Hansen.
“She lives less than a mile from the rink, which is a plus,” said Esteb, who has coached Sydney for nine years and also coaches her younger sister Zoe. “Over the years she progressed quickly, passed many skating tests, and did well at local skating competitions. She won many.”
Berrier has performed in 12 White Bear Lake Skating shows, as top soloist for several years. Other local skating clubs have asked her to be the guest skater in their shows. She has been in 13 of the Circus Juventas productions.
Esteb takes skaters to Sun Valley, Idaho, to summer camps to work with top-notch coaches and skate at the world-renowned outdoor arena that hosts Saturday evening shows with a star-studded cast, including Olympians.
“This is where Sydney found her love for performing,” Esteb said, “and where we made connections that have led her to Disney On Ice.”
Prior to leaving for Florida to join Disney on Ice, Berrier is scheduled to give one last local performance on Sept. 29 in the grand re-opening of White Bear Lake Sports Center, which is under renovation.
Berrier will skate before a home audience with Disney On Ice when they give eight performances at the Xcel Center in St. Paul on Dec. 6-9.