Cirque 'Crystal' Mary Siegel

Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Crystal’ in Cincinnati

Ohioan Mary Siegel talks about performing in the famous troupe's new show that mixes some ice-skating in with the acrobatics. 

Mary Siegel glided onto an ice rink for the first time at age 6 and hated it. It was too cold, and the skates gave her blisters. That all changed a month later when, at the urging of her hockey-playing cousins, the Mariemont resident decided to give the sport a second chance.

“I brought warmer socks,” she says with a laugh, “and I was hooked.” Private lessons followed, as did impressive wins in U.S. Figure Skating competitions and starring roles in Royal Caribbean and Holiday on Ice shows.

“As a kid, I liked the challenge of learning a new move every single day. Now, ice skating has become my therapy. It’s where I feel the most true to myself,” Siegel says.

This month, she returns to Cincinnati Dec. 27 through 30 in Cirque du Soleil’s “Crystal,” a show combining the jaw-dropping acrobatics the troupe is known for with additional elements of synchronized, freestyle skating. The Alice-in-Wonderland-like story centers on Crystal and her adventures toward self-discovery. Siegel’s character, Reflection, helps the young girl find her voice and take control of her life.

“It’s definitely a new twist for Cirque to add skating to a production,” Siegel says. “I feel that doing so makes the show seem a little more real because you can see how fast the skaters are moving. It draws your attention to what is happening on the floor, as well as to the high-flying acrobatics above.”

Siegel says she was jittery as she began rehearsals last year. The role required the skater to make her entrance suspended 30 feet over the ice upside down.

“Just looking at the ice headfirst was a bit terrifying at first, because I like to see my feet on the ice as much as possible,” she says.

Being in Cincinnati this month holds special meaning for Siegel since it’s the first time in six years she’ll be able to celebrate the holidays at home with her family.

“After hugging everyone, I’ll head to Skyline Chili, the Nativity at Krohn Conservatory and the zoo’s Festival of Lights,” Siegel says. “I’ll spend Christmas Day at my grandpa’s, crammed into his tiny living room with 50 other family members. I can’t wait.” 

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