Merida dazzles in ice debut

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webmaster | 01/31/14
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Disney offers a talent show you don’t want to miss

Disney On Ice writers have a knack for retelling stories from Disney and Disney/Pixar movies, classics and new, without ever telling them the same way twice.

The latest ice tour to come to the Valley, Rockin’ Ever After, showcases the hottest tunes and talent from six magical stories.

Beloved princesses Ariel, Rapunzel and Belle have graced the ice in previous tours, but in the show that runs through Monday in Fresno’s Selland Arena, their fairy tales are performed in new and exciting ways.

Mickey Mouse and his pals host a talent show featuring the fibbing puppet Pinocchio, Cinderella’s tone-deaf stepsisters and Ariel’s six siren sisters.

Then Ariel and Prince Eric take to the ice for their romantic tale. New costumes and props make The Little Mermaid segment in this ice show different from previous performances. Ultraviolet light brings out dazzling details in the sea creatures’ costumes, garnering oohs and aahs from the crowd.

When Ariel transforms from a mermaid into a human, she does so 30 feet above the stage, dangling from spinning rope. The acrobatics and display of strength makes Ariel’s Rockin’ Ever After performance her most memorable one.

Rapunzel’s story focuses more on the “ruffians and thugs” from the movie Tangled — a welcome contrast for those in the audience who aren’t all that into princesses. The valiant horse Maximus, a crowd favorite based on the murmurings of the audience, glides around the ice thanks to two in-sync skaters. Synchronized ice dancing and flag twirling make Tangled’s final scene shine — much like the giant lanterns that float up to the arena’s ceiling.

Gaston, the conceited villain from Beauty and the Beast, is next to enters Mickey’s talent show. He shoots, spits, and flexes his muscles to compete in the show — and for Belle’s attention.

But it’s Belle’s ice skating solo that steals the show, along with her pair skating numbers with Beast. In one breathtaking moment, the transformed prince holds Belle high above his head with one hand while spinning across the ice.

What makes this Disney On Ice show truly unique is a new story debuting on ice.

The Scottish red-headed princess Merida receives the most cheers from the audience, as she blazes across the arena floor with her long, curly hair bouncing behind her.

Merida’s three mischievous little brothers are cleverly brought to life on ice and mingle with three clans whose first-born descendants are competing for Merida’s hand in marriage.

Although a bulk of Disney/Pixar’s “Brave” story is eliminated in the ice version, it’s made up for with special effects and impressive archery. Merida performer Taylor Firth took archery lessons at the University of Edinburgh to perform her role.

More than in any other Disney On Ice show, the performers did an amazing job of staying in character. Rapunzel’s whimsical, curious personality is displayed throughout all scenes, while Merida’s stubbornness and determined, independent attitude is noted in every step she takes across the ice.

Maderans should take the opportunity to see Merida — and plenty more Disney favorites — on ice in the remaining eight shows today through Monday. Tonight’s performance begins at 7; Saturday and Sunday shows are at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., and the last show is Monday at 7 p.m.

 

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