Interview with Lisa Prenty
This is Jeff Buttle's first year doing the Stars on Ice Tour and although initially he was only supposed to guest skate in two show stops. Jeff only found out this week that he will do the whole Canadian tour from coast to coast.
Of course this means a little extra work for Jeff as he will now have to be a part of the group numbers as well as just skating two show pieces, but he's looking forward to it all.
"I'm going to be heading to Halifax for all the rehearsals about three days before the tour starts. I think it's the side of skating that I have always loved…is the performing and I get to do that without the pressure (of competition). (On tour) there's always fun between the skaters and the preparations for the shows always so much fun."
Including the creation of a new show number.
"I will work with David over the next few days on a new number 'I Wear my Sunglasses at Night' by Cory Hart. The other show number will be Ave Maria."
So now that Jeff will have a couple of weeks with the whole cast, who is he looking forward to spending time with?"Kurt, of course….yah! He always makes the show so much fun. He has that professional side of making sure it looks really good but at the same time he's the first to crack a joke and make it enjoyable."
Of course it doesn't hurt that Kurt is one of Jeff skating idols.
"Just watching him when I was a kid I never thought I would reach this level so soon that I would actually get to do this stuff with him, its awesome." Although this won't be the first time they have worked together in a show.
" We've probably been in a show together just five or six shows maybe, if that. Holiday Festival on Ice, Mariposa gala's… every single time…it's always a pleasure."
Anyone from the cast given you any tips for what to expect on the road doing the tour?
"Not really, just have fun…I guess I'll learn more when rehearsal starts. Its not as easy as people think actually…there is an intense preparations for the group numbers and stuff like that, and just making sure you actually maintain that professional side."
Jeff and fellow Canadian competitor and good friend, Joannie Rochette, shared something special in January at the BMO Canadian National Championships, the top of the national podium for the first time in either of their careers.
"Yes, it's been great because we're such good friends that we're just be able to feed off one another and we always talk at competitions 'Are you nervous?' 'yah, are you nervous?' all those questions that no one ever wants to confront but we are able to talk about it which is nice."
Now that Jeff has been confirmed for all the stops for Star's on Ice "Imagination" tour, he'll be able to share something else special for the first time with Joannie. She will be guest appearing with Jeff and the rest of the cast for two stops (Montreal and London).
Wide grin splits Jeff's face as he finished my sentence "Being added to the full tour you can…."…"Be IN the show with her (Joannie), yah it's awesome. I always look forward to seeing Jo! I'm sure that she'll be excited too actually, that we will be able to hang out."
A few weeks ago Jeff won the silver medal in the World Championships in Moscow Russia, and since then has been doing media appearances and getting ready for a few shows and the upcoming tour. The fans will get their first chance all across Canada to congratulate Jeff on bringing home the silver, and will no doubt be received in all cities with lots of ovation.
"That's always sort of the highlight, you put in all the hard and stuff like that and the performance is always given that extra boost at the end when you know that he audience has appreciated it. A Canadian audience is always a warm crowd and never biased, if they see a good performance, doesn't matter who it is, they will stand up."
And the new hardware he displays proudly around his neck…for the flashing bulbs at Nathan Phillips Square,
"Its unreal really, all these opportunities are opening up. I still feel the same obviously it's just another medal but this medal is such a surprise, its just so much more special."
As I finish off the interview Jeff leans down to a group of young kids as one young boy asks, "Can you do a double spin in the air?"
"I sure can do a double spin in the air, do you want to see me do one….?"
A group of small kids erupted into a big "yah!" A smiling Jeff took of his skate guards and stepped back onto the ice surface "Ok just a quick one." And off he went to the ohhs and ahhs of a young and appreciative crowd. When he steps back off the ice Jeff gets swarmed with autograph requests before being whisked off to yet another interview.
Jeff always has time for autograph requests, especially from the kids.