Figure skating is a unique sport that combines both artistry and athleticism. It is truly a beautiful sight to watch skaters glide gracefully across the ice while also performing impressive acrobatic stunts. This month, Disney On Ice is skating into town with “Treasure Trove,” a show that celebrates Disney’s animated gems such as Toy Story, Snow White, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, The Lion King, and Tangled. The show, which features over 5o Disney characters, is dedicated to bringing these characters and their stories to life.
We talked to 24-year-old figure skater Juran Yang from St. Paul, Minnesota about the show and how he brings the character of “Simba” to life on the ice:
How is “Treasure Trove” unique from other Disney On Ice shows?
These are the stories that we remember as a kid like such as Lion King, Snow White, and Peter Pan. I grew up with The Lion King, it’s my favorite animated feature, so it’s a great honor to portray Simba in the show. We have lots of fantastic skating along with techno-graphics like lighting and pyrotechnics.
Disney On Ice as a whole has been very successful. Why do you think people gravitate to the show?
Going to Disney On Ice is very different from just watching a movie. For me, as a performer, I am able to make the kids see that Simba can see them and Simba can react to them. I try my best to make it a more personal moment when the audience is watching the show. Being able to see kids smile and wave at me is one of the most rewarding moments in the show.
What made you want to pursue skating?
I went to a Disney On Ice show and skating shows, and my interest in skating just kept growing from there. I was only 8 when I went to my first Disney On Ice show. I’ve been skating for 17 years now.
How did you become part of the show?
I got very lucky. I just put in my skating video and before I knew it, I was contacted by Disney On Ice for an audition. I’ve been skating for Disney since October 2012.
How long does it take to produce a show like Treasure Trove?
It takes months to get the props and stage sets ready. For skaters, it takes about four weeks to learn all the steps and numbers, practice the choreography, and then rehearse the entire show.
What is it like to be part of such a major production?
I’ve been in small shows before, but being part of a big production is much more entertaining. With bigger audiences, it gives me more drive to perform better. I feed off the crowd’s energy.
What are some of the perks of being part of a touring show?
Being able to travel the world and perform in different cities is a perk. We have a cast of about 40 people and we’ve become a big family. However, as much as traveling is a big plus, it is also a major challenge having to live out of a suitcase.
As a figure skater, are there certain mannerisms you apply to your skating to embody your character?
With Simba, my movements have to be more feline. The way we are moving or acting depends on the character we are performing. It’s definitely a learning process. From watching the movie our characters are in, we pick up on certain quirks the characters have.
What is your favorite part of the show to perform?
My favorite part of the show to perform is the segue into The Lion King segment with the wildebeests and Mufasa. There are so many things going on from the lighting and the music.
What is your message for people who are thinking about coming to the show?
It’s a great experience to come to at least one Disney On Ice show. It’s kind of like watching more than just one movie because you start to remember the scenes from the movies. It gives you much more of an exhilarating feeling because you’re seeing the characters right in front of you. For kids, it’s nice to be able to interact with the characters. For adults, it gives you a nostalgic feeling as you remember all the movies you used to watch while you were a kid.[Answers have been edited for length and clarity].
Disney on Ice Treasure Trove
Long Beach Arena
Apr 21, 2016-Apr 24, 2016
Citizens Business Bank Arena
Apr 13, 2016-Apr 17, 2016
Tickets start at $22
Buy your tickets here.
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