Two Nottingham trained synchronized skaters win dream jobs

Meet the two Nottingham trained synchronized skaters who have won dream jobs in top ice shows

Two Nottingham ice skaters who honed their skills with the city’s highly successful synchronized skating academy have won the chance of a lifetime in top ice dancing shows.

Beth Frisby has won a plum 10-month contract to tour the USA and Canada with Disney on Ice, while Freya McGarva has just come back from touring Europe with Holiday on Ice, co-choreographed by Robin Cousins.

Both 19-year-olds were picked for their shows having trained for a decade at Nottingham Synchronized Skating Academy, where they represented Great Britain in many competitions abroad including world championships in Belgium, the USA and Croatia as members of the club’s top-flight Icicles Junior and Senior teams.

Beth has a two-week stint in Puerto Rico before starting her full-time contract Disney on Ice contract touring the USA and Canada.

She said: “I’m excited – it’s my first experience of doing any kind of show! Normally with Disney on Ice you wait at least three years and they want at least 15 years’ experience. I sent off my show reel this year expecting to be waiting quite a long time and I received an email back within a week saying I’d been accepted!”

Beth has been skating since she was eight years old having got the opportunity through a programme offered at her primary school.

From the first moment her skates glided on to the ice, she never looked back.

She said: “I never remember learning how to skate, I’ve just always skated. I can just remember getting on the ice and being able to skate. I was such an active child and my mum used to always try and find activities for me. I did swimming lessons, Brownies, athletics, horse riding, boxing! So many different sports. Skating was the one I enjoyed the most.”

Skating since she was six years old, Freya joined the Nottingham Synchronized Skating Academy aged eight.

Both girls progressed through the club’s teams, competing in Great Britain and abroad, and said they loved the opportunities they gained through the sport, which involves teams of up to 16 performing complex routines at speed to music, using different types of hold techniques to present a seamless spectacle. They said their skating skills and spatial awareness learned through synchronized skating had helped them secure ensemble roles.

Freya said: “Skating has been my life. I’ve sacrificed everything else for it and my parents have sacrificed a lot for me too. It’s all I’ve ever done and for now it’s all I’m going to be doing.”

Freya has returned from a six-month stint with Holiday on Ice, which took her round the Netherlands, Austria and France, performing in two cities a week in two-hour long shows, sometimes three times a day. Each show required her to perform in 12 different routines, with a whopping ten costume changes!

She said: “It’s a crazy life! Not everyone is cut out for it but if you enjoy it, it’s the best thing in the world. When you have complete strangers who are coming to see you, it’s such a strange feeling.”

Freya heads back to Germany in October to continue performing with Holiday on Ice as part of a new show with choreography from Christopher Dean and Kim Gavin, creative director of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics closing ceremony.

Beth has already spent time in Florida in rehearsals, and is set to perform in up to three two-hour shows a day when her full-time contract starts.

“Doing three shows is crazy!” she said. “There will be costume changes and make-up. I’ll need to know some Spanish for the Puerto Rico leg so I can lip synch! I’ll be doing some acting as well – it’s exciting.”

A rapidly growing sport, there are synchronized ice skating teams training at rinks across the UK with the Nottingham club consistently on the top of the medal board. Around 100 highly dedicated skaters aged from eight to 42 regularly train at the National Ice Centre on Bolero Square, some travelling miles from as far away as Scotland and Portsmouth, and are often on the ice with their coaches as early as 5am to get their training in before the school day.

Both girls were trained by head coaches Esther Morris and Lauren Kelly.

Esther said: “Everyone at NSSA is so proud of Beth and Freya who have gone on to get great ensemble roles in Disney on Ice and Holiday on Ice.”

Lauren added: “Their dedication to the sport over many years has really paid off for them and it’s brilliant that they’ve achieved such success in the tough world of skating.”

Club chair Lisa Walker said: “What Beth and Freya have achieved is a brilliant endorsement for the amazing training we do at NSSA. But like everything, costs are going up and it is become very hard for some of our skaters to take part in this great sport which is entirely self-funded by skaters’ families. If any businesses would like to help these fabulous skaters achieve their goals, NSSA would be delighted to hear from them.”

For more information about sponsorship or for budding synchronised skaters interested in taking up the sport, go to

Freya McGarva as a young skater
Freya in Holiday on Ice; Photo Credit: Olivier Braj
The Icicles Junior and Icicles Senior teams
Icicles Junior: Beth is pictured seated, third from right, and Freya is standing, third from right
Icicles Senior: Beth is second from left and Freya is third from right (seated)
Beth Frisby in action with Icicles Senior
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