‘Disney On Ice’ brings characters to life

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    By AMY KNUDTSON

    “Disney On Ice presents Happily Ever After featuring Hercules,” features memorable moments from some of Disney’s most popular animated classics.

    During the course of the show, the audience follows the life of the man-god Hercules from an clumsy youth to a super hero-in-training.

    Memorable movie moments are portrayed through the talent of the skaters, acting the parts of monsters, gods and other Greeks living in the city of Thebe, according to a news release.

    The two stages of Hercules are played by two champion ice skaters, according to a news release. Together, they bring audiences to see a larger-than-life characterization of the mighty hero.

    Besa Tsintsadze, from Tbilisi, Georgia, is the young Hercules. Skating since the age of six, Tsintsadze has won the Russian Nationals and the Georgian Championships four years in a row, according to a news release. His portrayal of Hercules requires fast, powerful movements with lots of footwork and jumping.

    The mature Hercules is played by American Troy Goldstein, whose achievements include a bronze and silver medal while on the U.S. National Team from 1987 to 1994. Goldstein also earned the gold medal in all five U.S. Figure Skating Assocation categories (figures, freestyle, dance, pairs and free dance.) His scenes include many technical difficult routines with many of the characters.

    The animated feature is choreographed by Emmy winner Sarah Kawahara. Kawahara is familiar with task of planning and composing the movements of the skaters. Her previous works include “Scott Hamilton: Upside Down,” “Disney on Ice presents The Spirit of Pocahontas,” and pieces for such skaters as Dorothy Hamill, Elvis Stoiko and Oksana Baiul.

    Kawahara incorporates big productions, comic pratfalls and romantic scenes throughout the Disney feature. Innovative routines are seen in the story of Hercules, along with the rough and tumble antics of the seven Dwarfs and the elegance of Aladdin and Jasmine’s pair skating.

    Nearly 150 costumes were created to help the characters convey their personalities. Included in the costumes are those of the four Titans, who stand 10 to 12 feet tall and are made of orthopedic foam and wire. Tunics, beaded ball gowns, harem pants and hand-embroidered capes are just some of the other designs that help give the characters color.

    The production is not without the technical aspects that help to bring magic to the stories. Flying carpets, enchanted teapots and a 25-foot version of Mount Olympus are some of the ways the scenes are brought to life. From the dark underworld of Hades, to the heavens of Mount Olympus, the audience is taken to all of the scenes of the movie.

    “Happily Ever After featuring Hercules,” plays March 17-21 at the Delta Center.

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