It’s a fairy tale come to life!
Crown Heights figure skater Carlina Ramirez — a former Brooklyn High School of the Arts student who plays the sax and was born in a car — has a personal story every bit as enchanting as the princess she plays in “Disney On Ice.”
The raven-haired beauty, whose dazzling double Salchows move audiences to a hush, will glide into Barclays Center on Nov. 10 as Princess Tiana from “The Princess and the Frog,” with a heartening rags-to-riches story strikingly similar to that of her animated protagonist — a New Orleans waitress who dreams big and became Disney’s first African-American princess.
Ramirez, 25, who moved to Florida when she was 10 years old and returned to Brooklyn as a teen, once put her skating dreams on ice because her family could not afford the uniforms, coaching, and travel that it involved. But the future Disney royal’s passion to lace up and hit the rink reigned supreme. She was home schooled for her senior year so she could focus fully on her skating, and she helped to coach budding skaters at the Aviator Sports and Events Center in Marine Park, where she could practice for free on its National Hockey League-sized rinks. Her dedication paid off when she landed the Disney gig, and she now performs to sold-out crowds across the nation, and in Thailand and Australia.
Ramirez’s crowning moments occur when cheering fans rise from their seats and start dancing at the sight of the ice princess.
“Little girls’ eyes light up and they scream ‘Tiana,’ as if they see a part of themselves in the character that I play,” she says. “It’s an honor to give so many people a figure that they can finally identify with.”
The Brooklyn show is especially thrilling for her.
“The powerful energy and adrenaline rush that you get from your hometown is unique, especially when your hometown is such a lively place,” Ramirez says. “Having the opportunity to perform in Brooklyn is particularly humbling.”
Her home borough is also where the skating star likes to unwind between tours, and to catch up with family and friends.
“I like to take walks around Canarsie Pier, go to Arbuz Cafe in Sheepshead Bay, shop at Gateway Center, and go to the beach,” she says.
The extravaganza at Barclays celebrates “100 years of magic” from the Walt Disney Company, and features appearances by cherished cartoon characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy. The Disney Princesses also hold court during the show, with Ramirez’s Princess Tiana appearing alongside Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, and the mermaid Ariel. The show celebrates exciting moments and songs from Disney’s animated films like “The Lion King,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “Frozen,” which Ramirez says makes it feel special.
“It’s a fantastic journey because these are stories that everyone knows and loves,” Ramirez says.
“Disney On Ice Celebrates 100 Years of Magic” at Barclays Center [620 Atlantic Ave. at Pacific Street in Prospect Heights, www.barcl