Ensemble skaters breathe life into 'Disney on Ice'

mmeehan1@herald-leader.comApril 8, 2014 

  • By The Numbers

    12: Hours it takes to set up a production in each location

    3½: Hours it takes to tear down the production

    12: Number of trucks needed to haul equipment

    45: Age of oldest cast member

    180: Number of costumes in the show

    10: Number of "place settings" in the song Be Our Guest

    32: Number of creatures featured in Under the Sea.

  • 'Disney on Ice: Rockin' Ever After'

    When: 7 p.m. April 10; 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. April 11; 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m. April 12; 1 and 5 p.m. April 13

    Where: Rupp Arena, 430 W. Vine St.

    Tickets: $11.50-$70.50. Available at (859) 233-3535, Rupparena.com and Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000 or Ticketmaster.com.

The creators of Disney on Ice: Rockin' Ever After have dubbed it a "rockin' remix of royalty" that features a parade of princesses, classic Disney characters and a touch of rock 'n' roll.

But what is Belle without dancing cutlery? What is Ariel without twirling sea creatures?

That's where Jennifer Gruver and the dozens of ensemble skaters who are part of the show make an impact. They help create the secondary characters who celebrate the few in the center spotlight and contribute to the energetic spectacle that make Disney on Ice productions a family favorite.

Gruver, 24, hails from Colorado but studied anthropology before joining the tour team. After her skating life, she'd like to use her degree to study cultures and publish research. Here are some of her thoughts about the Disney world she inhabits on the road.

■ If you look closely you might see evidence of the Disney penchant for hidden images of Mickey. The gloved one's visage is featured on the enchanted objects of Beauty and the Beast.

■ There are 40 cast members from six countries. Traveling is a chance to a learn about other cultures firsthand.

■ The tour goes through more than 15,000 miles and 37 cities. Balancing life on the road is part of the experience, and the tour has a wellness committee that helps cast members deal with issues such as homesickness as well as organizing activities such as barbecues and field trips.

■ There are no small parts, just small actors. All the performers are fueled by the applause and joy provided by the audiences. Gruver says the energy from the crowd is a highlight of any day.

■ For the performers living out of suitcases and traveling from place to place, each venue essentially brings a new work space. That is more of a benefit of the job than a challenge for many.

■ There is a reason that icons become icons and that is doubly true in the world of Disney. Most of the princesses get a turn on the ice, including first-timer Merida from Brave, but for the performers nothing beats skating with the original power couple, Mickey and Minnie.

Mary Meehan: (859) 231-3261. Twitter: @bgmoms. Blog: BluegrassMoms.com.

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