Ilana Sedaka will be reprising her role as the young girl in The Gateway’s Holiday Spectacular on Ice but, this time, as the grown-up version of that little girl. The 15-year-old Great Neck resident has been busy with ice skating competitions, productions and commercials since she began skating at age 5.
Sedaka has been ice skating for 10 years, practicing in Great Neck and training with Olympic competitor Ken Foster in New Jersey. Her mother, Traci Sedaka, said that her daughter began skating because when she was in preschool, Traci learned that most of the older kids hung out at the rink. She wanted her daughter to learn how to skate so she could have fun with her friends.
“Ilana started out in group lessons and the instructor pulled me aside and told me she had incredible balance, and she even offered to give Ilana a pair of her old skates,” said Traci. “From group lessons, it went into private lessons and, from there, it went to every other day to every day.”
Traci said her daughter is a freestyle skater, but has become more serious about ice dance over the years. Ilana’s skating career has brought her to many competitions. She won Bronze in 2013, Silver in 2014 and Gold this year for National Solo Ice Dance, and just earned the title of United States Figure Skating Double Gold Medalist for Life.
“I’m a five-time national competitor,” said Ilana. “My first national was when I was 10 in Colorado Springs. I worked my way up and this year at nationals I actually won my event.”
After beginning an ice skating career at 5 years old, Ilana launched an acting career when she was 8. She came in second place out of 300 competitors in a Walt Disney World top talent contest in 2010. Ilana has been in FurReal Friends, Twister and local bowling commercials. She’s also been in Celebrity Ghost Stories and Person of Interest.
“She’s got this whole package when it comes to being up on stage and she’s always really loved the spotlight,” said Traci.
Ilana’s most recent role in The Gateway’s Holiday Spectacular on Ice combines her ice skating abilities and her acting skills. She had previously played the young girl in search of Christmas at the beginning of the production in 2009. Now, she plays the grown-up version of that same little girl.
“I was super excited when they told me I was going to be playing the older girl because, when I was younger, I had looked up to the older girl who was the older me, and being able to be her now feels really good,” said Ilana.
With ice skaters and vocalists coming in from all over the country, the cast has only had 10 days of rehearsal, leaving Ilana very busy. But she doesn’t seem to mind because she loves the time spent with her fellow cast members. She even hopes that the younger kids look up to her as she once looked up to the girl who used to play the role she has now.
“I really hope that I can be a role model to the little kids,” said Ilana. “Everyone at the show is like family. We spend long hours at rehearsals—about 12 hours a day. It’s a really great experience. I loved playing the little girl in 2009. I’m back only because I had a really great time then.”
The Gateway Holiday Spectacular on Ice, a festive variety show, will be performed at the Patchogue Theatre until Jan. 1. The production, which follows a girl looking for Christmas, is appropriate for all ages and features holiday music and ice skating, as well as champion figure skaters Ricky Dornbush and Rohene Ward, along with Big Apple Circus’s animal trainer and presenter Jenny Vidbel with her performing dogs. For more information about the show starring Ilana, visit www.thegateway.org or call 631-286-1133.