Bio: Zupanc, Timmy - Lands Job With Disney on Ice (2021)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Zupanc, Warne-Jacobsen

----Source: The Clark County Press, (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 9/22/2021

Loyal Native Lands Job With Disney On Ice (Zupanc – 2021)

Earlier this month, Loyal native Timmy Zupanc started his new position as a performer for
Disney on Ice. His first show will be Sept. 30. Submitted photo.

By Valorie Brecht

Becoming a professional figure skater is a dream that many people only hope to achieve. However, Loyal area native Timmy Zupanc has turned that dream into a reality.

Zupanc recently accepted a position with Disney on Ice. He is in Florida for rehearsal and will go on tour next week.

“Not everyone can say they get to do what they love every day as their job,” said Zupanc, 24.

His success has come as the result of countless hours of hard work and dedication.

Zupanc grew up in the country between Loyal and Spencer. He began skating when he was about 8, after he saw someone skating in a Disney movie and wanted to try it. His mom bought him a pair of skates at a garage sale. He first skated on the rink the city of Loyal made by flooding a low-lying area behind the Loyal American Legion.

“I really liked it, so my mom took me to a learn-to-skate class in Marshfield,” said Zupanc.

He got involved in the Marshfield Silver Laces figure skating club and skated throughout elementary, junior high and high school. He broke his ankle in high school, which hindered his progress somewhat, but he kept at it.

“When I went to UW-Eau Claire for college, that’s when I started training really seriously,” said Zupanc.

He took private skating lessons and sent to various competitions before the COVID-19 pandemic shut a lot of things down. In fall, 2019, he competed in U.S. Figure Skating’s Upper Great Lakes Regional Singles Challenge in Richfield, MN. He advanced to the Midwestern Sectional Singles Final in Allen, TX, and competed there as well. In college, Zupanc also participated in the UW-Eau Claire synchronized skating team.

Zupanc’s path to improvement as a skater wasn’t always easy. His time, energy and finances were sometimes stretched to the limit.

“Skating in general is very expensive. There are fees for coaches, ice time, equipment, costumes, test fees [and] competition fees. So, it was definitely a challenge in college because skating is still really expensive. I was working a couple part-time jobs plus going to school full-time. But my family was amazing and really helped me out with the cost… I was very grateful to have their financial and emotional support.”

Zupanc graduated with a bachelor’s degree in organizational communications in May 2020.

“The year after I graduated, I focused on getting my senior tests done,” said Zupanc.

U.S. Figure Skating has a series of eight proficiency tests, with the highest being the senior gold test. Zupanc accelerated his training and passed his last four tests in the past nine months, He spent many hours driving from Eau Claire to the Twin Cities three to four times a week this past summer to work with his coach.

He passed his senior gold moves in the field test in June. Earlier this month, he passed his senior gold free skate test.

“I’ve been dreaming about passing this test for as long as I can remember. I put in the hours of training, and it all paid off. My literal blood, sweat and tears have been dedicated to this sport. Now officially a senior man and double gold medalist,” Zupanc wrote in a Facebook post Sept. 2.

One of the latest accolades of Timmy Zupanc’s skating career was passing his U.S. Figure Skating Senior gold test, the highest-level test, in free skating. Submitted photo

He passed his last test just in time for a new adventure right around the corner.

“My technical coach had heard Disney was looking for people, so I sent in my resume and video,” said Zupanc.

“In early August, I submitted the video and heard back within an hour. I got an email saying that they had a position for me. I was very excited; the first person I called was my mom. Then I called my other family members. It was very fun and such a great moment in my career,” Zupanc added.

After that came a whirlwind of preparations, as Zupanc had only three weeks to get ready to leave for year. He had to make arrangements for his apartment and job.

“It was very, very crazy but also exciting.,” he said.

Zupanc flew to Florida for three weeks of all-day rehearsals six days a week.

“Rehearsals have been hard – it’s new choreography that’s never been taught before. But it’s been helpful to learn from the returning skaters. There’s a bunch of returning skaters and a bunch of new ones, so it’s a good mixture of both,” he said.

Zupanc said he’s appreciated getting to interact with a lot of skaters his own age, because he hasn’t had that before.

“Ninety percent of people stop skating after high school and if they do skate in college, most don’t skate after college because they go on with their lives or get a job in the ‘real world.’ So, it’s nice to have people my age,” he said.

Although he’s only known them for a short time, Zupanc has already made several friends and is looking forward to spending more time with them.

“I’m excited to be with my friends – Disney on Ice has some really great people with them, skaters and staff. I’m excited to travel and do what I love with people I enjoy,” he said.

The show Zupanc’s in, “Let’s Celebrate.” Will open at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, AZ on Sept. 30. The show will travel to 35 U.S. cities, throughout the next year.

The Disney on Ice gig has taken Zupanc’s life in a new direction, one he didn’t necessarily anticipate.

“It was always in the back of my mind, that it would be fun to be a paid performer. But that’s not what I got up every day thinking about. When I was training, I was focused on getting to that last level. I always knew I wanted to do something with skating as my career though,” he said.

He said that after so many years of pushing himself and critiquing himself, landing the job has served as a point of reflection to look back and see just how far he’s come.

“Technically, I’m a professional skater now, which is hard to come to terms with. But I realize that because of all the hard work I’ve put in, I became the type of skater that deserves this opportunity.”

After this year with Disney on Ice, Zupanc will have the opportunity to sign a contract for another tour.

“I’ll see if it is something I want to continue to do,” he said.

Future plans beyond that include potentially coaching, as Zupanc already has experience teaching learn-to-skate classes and individual students. He also would like to pass the solo free dance senior gold test to become a “triple-gold” skater.

For now, though, he is focused on “being the best professional performer I can be.”

Zupanc extended appreciation to his mom and dad, the rest of his family and his coach Debbie Warne-Jacobsen for their support in his skating journey. He is excited for what’s ahead.

“I love skating and I’m excited to grow my professional career.”



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