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“We take risks. But that’s what we get paid to do.” How do cruise ship skaters make money?

Date: June 17, 2024 Time: 04:21:16

After the end of their sports career, figure skaters often go to the show. It is there that you can best continue to realize your potential. Fortunately, in Russia there are many places for this: Ilya Averbukh, Evgeni Plushenko, Eteri Tutberidze and Tatyana Navka have large-scale and state shows. Comfortable conditions, good rates, trips around Russia and not only – it seems that the life of skaters in the show is much more colorful than in the competitive period. And we are talking only about those who perform in domestic shows. But you can realize yourself not only within your own country, but also abroad, for example, on a cruise, traveling around the world!

This is exactly what Sergei Dudakov did in his youth, and now many other skaters have followed in his footsteps. For example, recently Apollinaria Panfilova and Dmitry Rylov began to perform on the ship. Alena Kostornaya considered the same option to win. For more than a year, Semyon Rogozhnikov has been performing on cruise ships, who talks about his work on the Skater on the Ship telegram channel. We turn to him to find out all the intricacies of the work of figure skaters on cruise ships.

How to become a participant of the show on the ship? Is it possible to perform items while swinging? And finally, how much do figure skaters earn for working on a cruise ship? Read about this and more in the material of the special project “Championship” “Anatomy of a figure”.

How to become a “skater on a boat”?

Semyon Rogozhnikov entered the show on a cruise quite spontaneously. An acquaintance of the skater told him about recruiting for the show on the Voyager of the Seas ship, Rogozhnikov, together with his girlfriend Elizaveta Semyonova, sent a video with the items they own and they were taken. From that moment on, the guys went on a continuous journey – they have been working on cruise ships for more than a year.

Semyon Rogozhnikov

skater on a boat

“I started skating at the age of five, I’ve been training all my life. He completed the Master of Sport Candidate category in single and pair skating, having been in the sport for 16 years. He finished his career at the age of 21. He then he performed in various Russian and foreign shows. After that, I decided to shoot a video of those elements that I learned to do in 16 years in figure skating. And they took me to work on the ship.

The selection was as follows: it was necessary to shoot a video with items and send it to a specific address. Well, the interview must be in English.

How are skaters selected? This is a mystery to everyone. Someone is invited, someone is selected by video. They do not accept everyone, sometimes they answer that you need to extract some elements and try to write in a year.

The more items you can make, the more chances you have to get on the ship.”

There is an opinion that greenhouses are much more in demand at a show on a cruise ship than single skaters. Alena Kostornaya reinforced this recently, saying in an interview that she wanted to see her on a boat with a partner, although she was still skating alone at that time.

“There was an option to go to the ship. They wrote to me: “We can take you. One is, of course, good, but we need you to be with a partner,” Kostornaya shared on Alla Shishkina’s podcast.

But the case of Alena is rather an exception. The organizers of the show have no special preferences, says Semyon Rogozhnikov. More often single skaters just ride the boat.

Semyon Rogozhnikov

skater on a boat

“Anything happens. But for some reason there are always more single skaters than greenhouses. Pair skating is more difficult. It is not easy to find a partner, you have to slip, get used to each other.

After Semyon and Lisa were offered a contract, they had to obtain US and maritime visas, undergo a medical examination, and deliver a foreign vaccine against covid-19. This was not easy to do, for example, to get a visa, they had to hire a travel agent and go to Uzbekistan. Only after the skaters met all the necessary conditions did they get on the ship. They were put in booths and given 35 security tests.

What is the show on the boat?

Well, then they began to prepare for their work. Preparation for the show lasts two to three weeks. During all this time, the skaters rehearse from morning to night the numbers that the American directors have prepared for them.

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Semyon Rogozhnikov

skater on a boat

“This is not a fairy tale, it is a 45-minute entertainment show where artists perform solo numbers and en masse. But in each show there is an idea, each one plays the role of it. Basically, these are active dances to music that everyone knows. For example, my partner and I on one of the boats had a solo number of The Beatles’ song Yesterday.

Although the cruise ships are huge in size and look more like high-rise buildings, the ice rink in them is non-standard – about 1/6 of the usual ice rink.

Semyon Rogozhnikov,

skater on a boat

“The ice rink is quite small: 17.9 by 6.9 meters. The total area is 172 square meters. At first, when we got out on this ice, it seemed like there was very little space. Well, after a while you get used to it. Now I have no idea how to ride in a standard arena, it will look very big. A person gets used to everything.

How do skaters execute the elements while shooting?

But a small playground is no reason not to jump. Of course, we’re not talking about quads here: single skaters perform triple jumps, and single skaters perform double jumps. Greenhouses show all the elements that they possess, for example, in the arsenal of Lisa and Semyon: upper supports, double release and lower twist. But the most spectacular and public favorite trick is the somersault. This is not surprising, because even in sports you will not see this.

Semyon Rogozhnikov

skater on a boat

“I always dreamed of learning to do somersaults, but in sports there was no way. She started doing it when she started participating in the program. Now this is the most effective trick in my repertoire. People really like somersaults and have a great reaction to them.”

But how to make complex elements during launch? After all, even a ship weighing several hundred tons cannot always cope with the force of the ocean. The ship’s captain takes steps to protect the skaters, but this doesn’t always help. Of course, there is a risk, but they pay for it, Semyon notes.

Semyon Rogozhnikov

skater on a boat

“Basically there is no pitching. When there’s a storm and it’s still pumping, the boat’s captain turns on the outriggers and slows the boat down for the duration of the show; then he stops pumping. But sometimes that doesn’t help either. There were several moments where I lifted my partner up for support, and at that moment there was a wave. I was dragged to the side, as if from a hill. But everything went well. It’s hard to roll when you’re pumping. However, this is very rare.

We take risks. We risk our health. But for this we receive money, for this work. Just so you understand, 45 minutes of a worked show can be compared to a 10K cross-country run. You are all wet, sweaty, your body shakes from the load. However, we are used to it, this is our job”.

And it’s good that this work is rewarded not only with money, but also with the admiration of the public. It is clear that on a cruise, unlike a regular show at the ice rink, a very diverse audience gathers, often unrelated to figure skating. But this doesn’t stop the skaters on the boats from gathering packed houses and causing a standing ovation.

Semyon Rogozhnikov

skater on a boat

“People meet. But everyone loves it. After the end of the show, the audience usually gives a standing ovation. Almost always a full room for 700 seats. A lot of people are a long way from figure skating.”

Do the skaters on the ship have other duties besides acting?

At the same time, travelers have the opportunity to get closer to this sport. And the skaters themselves help them in this. Yes, the artists on the ship have other functions besides performing in the show. For example, to celebrate mass skating.

Semyon Rogozhnikov

skater on a boat

“Anyone who wants to can come ride. The show is, of course, very interesting. Some people just put on their skates without lacing them and head out on the ice. They say they spent their whole lives in slippers. We have to run after them and tie them up so they don’t break their heads.”

In addition, skaters help in other shows (dance, theater, water) to work with light guns and disguise performers. And on the first day of the cruise, they instruct the passengers on safety.

Another of the prerequisites is to speak only English in public (otherwise the Americans, who own the ocean liners, will be unpleasant) and constantly keep fit.

What’s so good about being a skater on a boat and how much does it pay?

One of the main advantages of working on a ship is that there are shows all year long. In Russia, there is a clear schedule, which largely depends on the schedule of the competitive season. Our main shows are held in the New Year holidays, in the second half of spring and summer, when the current figure skaters are not so busy. There are no such restrictions on a cruise ship, which means athletes can always find a job.

Semyon Rogozhnikov

skater on a boat

“Cruises run year-round. Currently, there are 12 cruise ships worldwide that have ice, and consequently ice shows. The 13th ship should be launched in 2024.”

Semion Rogozhnikov in Honduras

Photo: From personal archive

Well, the most interesting thing about working on a cruise is the opportunity to see different countries. Skaters are not prohibited from leaving the ship, so they can explore new places at their leisure. The main condition is to spend the night in your cabin again.

Semyon Rogozhnikov

skater on a boat

“Each ship has its own cruises. And after a while, each ship changes its route. For example, on my first ship there were cruises around Europe, we were in Estonia, Sweden, Denmark, Latvia. On the second ship they visited America, Canada, Mexico and Bermuda. Now I am on a ship sailing to America, Mexico and Honduras.

On my first ship, we were supposed to sail to St. Petersburg, but due to the current political situation, our ship did not sail to Russia and changed the route. Instead of Russia, we stayed in Denmark.”

And, of course, the skaters on the ship are well paid: the average salary is $4,000 per month (about 330,000 rubles – approx. “Championship”). But Semyon points out that foreign skaters are not attracted to such money. Therefore, the lion’s share of performers are CIS athletes.

The working conditions are comfortable: a double cabin, delicious food, a pleasant atmosphere, free time, bright emotions. There is almost nothing to complain about.

Semyon Rogozhnikov

skater on the boat

“There are only advantages to working as a figure skater on a boat. Most importantly, the food is free, very tasty. We have a buffet, you can eat until you burst. We work eight hours a week, not counting our show. As for the program, we have them four times a week and they last 40 minutes.

Of the minuses, only accommodation can be singled out. We don’t live in very nice cabins, we would like more space. Well, at least a small window.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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