Cindy Stuart is the talented choreographer responsible for Walt Disney’s “Lets Party” Feld Entertainment. She agreed to give zoomdune.com her view behind the scenes making the magic of Disney on Ice. Born in San Diego California Cindy began skating when she was only 6 years old. Her mentor Janet Champion (ICE FOLLIES Holiday on ICE ) “plucked me out of class says Cindy. “She (Janet) had showbiz in her blood and transferred it over to me…from a young age I always knew I’d be performing in ice shows. As a child Cindy says another early inspiration was Olympic skater Janet Lynn. Although she never won a medal says Cindy “she was our national champion several times and was such a spirited skater”, she adds ‘purists in the skating world refer to Janet as ‘The one”. She also admired British skater John Curry who had a very “classical background”. “I learned a lot from watching these skaters”. Cindy’s study, effort and talent took her to a mere 6 places from competing in the Olympics herself!
“Knowing that I couldn’t perform forever, I segued into choreography, it was a natural progression because I had a background in dance including ballet.” says Cindy. The spark may have ignited into a flame when coach Janet took the 8 year old Cindy back stage at the ICE FOLLIES, “I to see what it was like be backstage, it was MAGICAL… and I was hooked” says Cindy. Her dreams came true when as an adult she toured the world for 20 years as a skating cast member of ICE FOLLIES, HOLIDAY ON ICE, ICECAPADES, several stage shows.
This year the producers came to her with the concept of having the entire show revolve around celebrations. She got really very excited about the concept because it “really lends itself to a variety of musical formats as well as different styles of movement”. For it’s opening number they feature Beauty and the Beast’s hit song “Be our Guest” as they parade over 50 of your Disney favorites onto the ice. “You really get a lot of bang for your buck with this show!” says Cindy.
It all begins in the boardroom says Cindy adding “the creative team goes over ideas about music sets and costumes 9 months prior to very show”. To bring each concept to life she works very closely with her director Patty Vincent, and music director David Trullinger. “We go over every segment of music that is going to be included in the show before I even hit the ice…we all agree on what music we’re going to use, and what version”. They also decide if a portion needs to be re- recorded or updated for a more contemporary feel. “These are the songs you know and love… we just gave them a little faster tempo, and a little more of a pop sound which makes it fun” says Cindy.
After that she hits the ice with her assistant and begins to visualize what she wants to see “pattern wise”, adding “You really have to hit all 3 sides…the arena is very different from theatre. You want to make sure that you play to your side audience as well as the front audiences, fully utilizing the arena setting”. I have to meticulously plan the patterns…music inspires me..I go with the music. One of the most important things is to make each number (celebration) different from the other. They begin rehearsing about 6 weeks weeks before their performance. Each days equals about 10 hours of practice with breaks. It’s a very long time on the road because they have 12 hour days consisting of PR events in the morning followed by 2-3 shows per day. “It can be very grueling,
How does it feel to be a cast member of Walt Disney? “I love it…I walked into the arena one night and it was filled with families, and I was thinking Wow, I get to do this!” Currently there are 9 companies bringing Disney Magic on the road across the globe, “We go worldwide to bring the Disney product to families that couldn’t necessarily have the opportunity to get to one of the parks…it’s a huge honor, and I’m really grateful”. “I still marvel at the happiness that we bring to children…they dress up in their Princess and Buzz Light Year costumes and rush the stage like a rock concert!” Although her touring days are over occasionally she will join up with the cast on the road “if a cast member needs attention” and to “Keep my eyes on it and keep it fresh says “Cindy. Aside from the spectacle she thinks Canadian audience will appreciate the athleticism shown by the skaters in this years show adding “Canadians appreciate really good skating” says Cindy.
You can see the spectacle yourself starting next week at Vancouver’s PNE Wednesday November 26, 2014- Sunday November 30,2014.
WHEN: November 26 – 30, 2014
Wednesday, November 26 7:00 PM
Thursday, November 27 7:00 PM
Friday, November 28 7:00 PM
Saturday, November 29 11:30 AM, 3:30 PM & 7:00 PM
Sunday, November 30 11:30 AM, 3:30 PM & 7:00 PM
WHERE: Pacific Coliseum at the PNE – 2901 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V5K 5J1
TICKETS: Ticket prices range from $25, $35, $55 (VIP) and $85 (Rinkside);
Kids tickets available for only $15 each for select seating and performances
(discount not valid for Sat. & Sunday 3:30pm shows; not valid for VIP/Rinkside seating)
Special Opening Night discount tickets available for $15 each (not valid for premium level seating)
Tickets available for purchase online at TicketLeader.ca, charge by phone at 604-757-0345604-757-0345
or at the venue Box Office.
To discover more about Disney On Ice, go to www.DisneyOnIce.com, or visit us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.