It's common for college students to want to see the world. Some study abroad, some go on a spring break trip, and some save up and travel for a few weeks after graduation. Stephen Alvin took a different route - he became a principal skater with Disney on Ice and circled the globe.
Growing up, Stephen was always in motion and always wanted to try new things. He started off playing traditional sports like baseball and flag football. He ran cross country and took up diving. Although figure skating might seem like an unlikely activity for a young boy on the move, when his parents suggested that he take skating lessons at a local rink he figured he might as well give it a chance. It didn't take Stephen long to realize that he enjoyed figure skating more than any of the other sports he had tried and fall in love with it.
Although Stephen started figure skating relatively late at age 12 he stuck with and competed against skaters who started training when they were only four or five. Eventually, he started coaching other skaters. Although Stephen hadn't previously thought of skating with Disney on Ice, because of a lack of parents available to chaperon he found himself joining a group of young skaters on a field trip to meet some cast members in his hometown of Fresno, California. While chatting with some cast members he found out about auditions for the show happening later that week. He decided to try out see what happened.
Stephen was offered a job skating with Disney on Ice and soon dropped out of school and left to tour. His first stop with Disney on Ice was Japan. Going on an international tour was the first time he had lived outside of his parents' house. In addition to leaving home for the first time, Stephen had to cope with living places where most people didn't speak English and he didn't know the customs.
Life on the road was an adjustment, but Stephen soon came to appreciate the freedom he had on the road. The touring company spends about a week in each city they visit giving Stephen two or three days to tour each stop. Stephen is now in his eighth year with Disney on Ice and has been to 48 countries. Along the way he became a photographer and loves photographing cityscapes between shows, especially night shots. Thanks to an international cast with at least ten nationalities represented Stephen also has friends from all over the world.
Stephen may leave the show in the next few years to head back to school. He's learned a lot since leaving home to go on his first trip with Disney on Ice to Japan. When he goes he will miss being with a show that constantly reinvents itself and is so much fun. This year's show has over 50 characters and 14 different storylines plus a new component that is interactive and gets kids up and moving. When he goes he will miss his favorite part of the show the most - entering the ice as Belle's prince while fireworks go off on the ice above him.
Not a bad way to see the world if you're lucky enough to be able to do it!