OLYMPIAN EVAN LYSACEK ON HERSHEY STARS ON ICE AND "DANCING WITH THE STARS"
On March 18, Stars on Ice will return to the Hershey Giant Center for a show that figure skating fans are sure to love.
Olympic gold medalist and former "Dancing with the Stars" finalist Evan Lysacek is returning to the ice this year for the tour after taking a break from figure skating in order to pursue a career in commercial real estate.
PennLive spoke with Lysacek about what fans can expect from this year's Stars on Ice tour and to get his early prediction for the strongest contender on this season's of "Dancing with the Stars."
Will this be your first time in Hershey?
"We actually play the Hershey market every year so, yeah, there's a pretty rich tradition of Stars on Ice in Hershey. And I'm looking forward to coming back. I actually haven't been with the tour since 2011. I was training for Sochi, for the Olympics, and then moved away from skating into other things, so I'm glad to be back on the ice and I'm looking forward to the tour."
What's your favorite thing to do when you're in town?
"We're usually in and out [of town]. We don't spend a ton of time in any of the cities, so we don't get a ton of time to venture out. But, we usually do visit the Hershey resort and have the chocolate spa treatment."
What makes Stars on Ice different from other figure skating shows?
"It has adapted and evolved and there's a lot of skating shows, actually globally, right now but Stars on Ice has the most rich heritage and there's a classic system about it. It usually has the most incredible roster of world and Olympic champions than any skating show."
How is this year's show different from those of previous years?
"There's a new choreographic team so the creative direction of the tour has changed and there's a little bit younger perspective and then there's also, I think, I'm just speculating because I'm not the creative director, but I'm speculating that they are trying to pay a little bit of homage to the dignity and the history of what Stars on Ice is and has been in the past. So I think that's sort of where the music choice and the whole attitude of the show is coming from."
Is participating in this show much different than figure skating competitively?
"Stars on Ice is a strictly exhibitionist, professional-style tour and so there's a lot more room for creativity. There aren't any required elements so there's a lot of freedom on the part of the skaters and for me as my life has evolved and skating means something different to me now in my life than it did when I was a competitive skater, I enjoy having that freedom."
You participated on Season 10 of Dancing with the Stars and placed second. How was that experience?
"I think athletes always have a bit of an advantage on Dancing with the Stars because we have a real understanding of how to train. And putting in 8-9 hours of physical training per day is nothing compared to what I did as a competitive skater. So I think that gives athletes an edge over celebrities coming in from different fields. But, overall, for me, it was just a fun experience and I participated on the show right after the Olympics and so it was kind of fun for me step away from something that was so intense and pressure packed into something like Dancing with the Stars which was just sort of fun and new."
How is Dancing with the Stars different from other reality shows that feature celebrities?
"I think in comparison to other reality programming, 'Dancing with the Stars' is quite honest. They just sort of sit in on you in rehearsals and they want your process to be authentic and they want to represent it in an honest and authentic manner. And, so, looking at entertainment overall it's always sort of interesting to see what does and does not resonate with the American public, and capture ratings and capture attention, and 'Dancing with the Stars' consistently does. And I think that's why. There's just an authenticity there that is not common in entertainment at all today."
Have you been able to incorporate anything you learned from "Dancing with the Stars" into your career as a figure skater?
"I learned a lot. I didn't have any education in dance and all the different forms of dance and how they differ and which ones are Latin versus [Polish] and what the rhythms and tempos mean. I studied mainly classical music for skating, opera and classical, so that was all new and I've tried some of those styles on the ice that I learned on the show, but also partnering. I was an individual athlete. I competed in the individual men's events. So, working with a partner was new for me. And, now, on Stars on Ice, this year for the first time, I am involved in the group numbers and I do pairings with another skater. So [we do] lifts and skating together and I think a little bit of the foundation from working on the floor with my dance partner did help me a lot."
Do you have any predictions for strong contenders this season (20)?
"I think Nastia Liukin will win. She's a good friend of mine. We've been very close friends for a long time. She's an Olympic champion in gymnastics all around and she's an incredible dancer. Gymnasts have done quite well on the show historically, but she in particular is just so incredible. Her movements, I've always loved watching her so I think her and Derek Hough will win. That's my prediction."
Will you be voting for her?
"I'll be voting as much as I can. I do have a busy schedule coming up but I'll try to keep track on what's going on there on TV."