Skating Star Scott Smith —His Journey to 'Cirque du Soleil Crystal'

by Steve Duffy

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday May 31, 2022

Scott Smith
Scott Smith  (Source:Instagram)

When Scott Smith comes to Boston's Agganis Arena this week in "Cirque du Soleil's Crystal," it will be a homecoming for the medal-winning skater. Smith lived in Boston for five years where he trained at the Skating Club of Boston while competing in professional skating championships. He has won three senior international medals including a silver at the 2003 Nebelhorn Trophy and 2003 Karl Schäfer Memorial, gold at the 2005 Ondrej Nepela Memorial, and a fifth-place finish at the 2005 Four Continents Championship.

In 2017 he joined "Cirque du Soleil's Crystal," which is described in its press release as a "one-of-a-kind performance (that) blends circus art and the world of ice skating. "Crystal" will take the audience on a journey into a whimsical frozen playground where ice skating of all kinds mingles with acrobatics and aerial feats." 

EDGE spoke to Smith about skating, being part of the Cirque team and what is special about "Crystal."

Scott Smith
Scott Smith  (Source: Instagram)

EDGE: How did you get into figure skating?

Scott Smith: When I was about 6 or 7 years old, I went to a birthday party at a skating rink. Once my skates touched the ice, I fell in love with it. I started taking group lessons shortly after that, which then led to private lessons. After some time, I started competing regionally, nationally, and then internationally. After I was done competing, I started skating in ice shows.

EDGE: When did you know you were good? 

Scott Smith: I picked it up quickly. I progressed through the training programs much faster than some of the other kids. I did play some other sports, but just always liked skating the most.

EDGE: You trained for a time in Boston. Tell us about your time here?

Scott Smith: I did, and I loved it. I lived in Boston from 2003 until 2008. I represented the skating club of Boston at the height of my competitive career. I was training at their old facility in Brighton and now they've got that brand new gorgeous facility in Norwood.

EDGE: What do you love most about figure skating?

Scott Smith: I really like that it is a cold sport. As a kid, I did play other sports, but I hated being outside getting sunburned. I am not a fan of the hot heat. Besides the cold, I really liked the individuality of it. In team sports, I would play well, but the team would lose and so I'd still feel disappointed, or I felt like I didn't play well, but the team would win, so I celebrated anyway. I really like how skating is individual and I can really measure my own progress.

EDGE: Why did you decide to join Cirque du Soleil?

Scott Smith: I've always been a fan of Cirque du Soleil. I saw my first show while living in Boston. It was called "Quidam." I've been a fan ever since then, but I never thought I'd actually get the opportunity to work for Cirque because being a skater, there weren't any skaters in their shows until "Crystal." So, in 2017, when I heard they were putting together an ice show, I immediately applied.

EDGE: Tell us the story being told in 'Crystal'?

Scott Smith: It's about a misfit teenage girl trying to find her way. I like to say that it's a simplified version of "Frozen" meets "Alice in Wonderland."

EDGE: As a performer, how do you connect with the story of 'Crystal'?

Scott Smith: I do, especially being a boy in figure skating. When I started most of the other kids taking skating lessons were girls and the boys were playing hockey. It's kind of the American stereotype that boys play hockey and girls figure skate. I had a sense of being an outsider from the beginning because I was a boy that wanted to figure skate, so I definitely relate to the story that is being showcased.

EDGE: How do you even create and perfect all of the crazy acrobatic tricks that you do?

Scott Smith: I do a lot of the tricks in this show. A lot I learned from my competitive skating days. Before I joined Cirque, I was doing a trapeze act for the Royal Caribbean cruise line. They've got an ice show on their ships, so I was already blending acrobatics and skating together. That is where I learned how to do a backflip. That's a new trick I had to learn because backflips are not allowed in competitive skating. Learning how to do a backflip was easy, but when I got to "Crystal," they asked me to do a backflip over a person — that was scary.

EDGE: What's the best part of traveling with Cirque?

Scott Smith: I love touring the US because we come to places like Boston where I used to live. I've got friends and family that can come and see the show. I absolutely love that aspect of touring. Touring with "Crystal" really does feel like a family and that makes it all worthwhile. We went dark for two years because of COVID, so it is really a great feeling to come back and see all the fans.

EDGE: What should people expect when they come to the show?

Scott Smith: They can expect all the things that they've seen before with a Cirque show - amazing lighting, fantastic music, a great theater production, and amazing acrobatics. What makes this one different is the ice skating.

"Cirque du Soleil Crystal" runs from June 1-12, 2022 at the Agganis Arena, 925 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA. For more information about Crystal visit, the Cirque du Soleil website and to purchase tickets to see the show visit, the Agganis Arena website.