Ekaterina Murugova tells Katherine MACALISTER just how much she loves starring on ice.
Tinkerbell is snowed in when we speak, huddled up in her hotel room watching the snowflakes drift down.
But she’s not in Russia. Instead she’s braving the elements in Dumfries in Scotland, praying the snow won’t prevent her getting to the theatre on time. Because as one of the lead roles in Peter Pan On Ice, which arrives in Oxford today, the show must go on.
And hailing from Moscow, Ekaterina Murugova is still bemused by all the fuss and bother created by the snow.
“Yes. it’s like this in Russia at the moment,” the 37 year-old chuckles. “And all the adults and children skate outdoors, not on rinks, but instead on the flooded areas, ponds and lakes. It’s such fun and everyone really enjoys it.
“It’s only when you turn professional that you have to go indoors to train,” she adds.
For Ekaterina that came at an early age, skating always being a part of her life.
“I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a professional skater, so from 11 years old I was at a professional ice school, learning figure skating,” she remembers.
Ekaterina was soon entered in national competitions and started travelling around the world competing in events such as the World Championships and the Olympics. But aged 18 an injury meant she had to leave professional sport and was instead picked up by The Russian Ice Stars, who she’s been touring with since.
“I didn’t want to stop skating,” she tells me, “and I’ve been doing this for 16 years now.
“But as we do a different show each year, it keeps things interesting and Tinkerbell is a great part because she’s cheeky, resentful, jealous and a bit of a flirt.”
Indeed, Ekaterina has spent so long skating with The Russian Ice Stars, that she’s a UK resident now, and so doesn’t venture home to Russia as much as she’d like and can’t wait for her winter break when she’ll return home to see her two children.
And although she misses her kids desperately, Ekaterina opted for schooling in Russia, rather than life on the road. “We have Skype and they come over here in the school holidays.
“And I tour with my husband, who’s from Estonia,” she says.
“But my children are very proud of what we do, because while an ice rink is like a sport stadium, having one on stage is a very different atmosphere. We are actors as well as skaters and it’s so original. It is like a dream and I still really enjoy it.”
And what about the cold? “It’s freezing to begin with but skating is very physical so you soon warm up.”
Does this mean her children will follow in her ice skates? “My husband thinks my son should be a football player, but we’ll see,” she laughs.
* The Russian Ice Stars appear in Peter Pan at Oxford’s New Theatre from January 6-9. Call the box office on 0844 8471588.