By Natalie Alatriste
Yearly, Disney on Ice travels to over 50 cities, bringing with it the “Magic of Disney” to youngsters worldwide. Currently, one group of performers, costume designers and stage personnel are traveling for its show Disney On Ice presents Treasure Trove Presented by Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt.
This particular performance celebrates Disney’s 50 first features beginning with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves through Tangled. The show will include the best Disney moments and will feature eight princesses, such as the stories of Ariel, Belle, Jasmine and Mulan.
But Disney on Ice isn’t just great because of its storyline and characters — it’s great because of the passion that each performer gives at every show.
One performer, Tokyo-native Midori Sano, started skating at the age of six. Her father, a medalist at the 1977 World Figure Skating Championships, inspired her to begin this venture at an early age.
After competing in figure skating competitions for years, Sano quit at the age of 19. She was unsure of where her future led her until two years later—when she had the opportunity to audition for Disney on Ice.
Ten years later, she plays lead roles in Disney on Ice shows, like Mulan, Young Nala from The Lion King and Jasmine. She has visited over 40 different countries and has learned how to speak English.
“I get to travel around the world to places I’ve only ever dreamed of going to,” said Sano. “I’ve made a lot of friends, seen so many different cultures and have eaten plenty of delicious local foods, but best of all, I get to see the look on the audiences’ faces when I perform, and that’s the most rewarding part of it.”
“My ‘worst’ day at work is better than a lot of people’s best.”
She says the crowd’s energy is what drives her, and she’s not just talking about the kids.
“One thing I particularly love witnessing is the adults jumping up and down at their seats,” said Sano. “We all have to deal with stressors in our lives, and having the ability to bring the adults into our stress-free world for even just an hour makes me happy. When I see them enjoy themselves, I know I’m doing my job right.”
Though the performers are a huge part to the success of Disney on Ice, they can’t do it alone. There are so many components to making the experience a magical one, including what the performers wear.
Dawna Oak, the director of costumes for Feld Entertainment, expresses the challenges to make Disney on Ice perfect for each performance.
“It’s nice that the function of ice skating is a unifying factor in costuming the DOI shows, but what makes it challenging is all of the different types of skating, and having to meet the specific technical needs of each skater’s individual talents,” said Oak.
Los Angeles-born Oak began her journey in the industry as a performer at a young age. As she got older, she realized her passion for design and costuming, and is now one of the most trusted individuals for the visual appeal of each performance.
“I make my living doing something that I love! I get to travel quite extensively so I have had the opportunity to experience a wide range of cultures,” she said. “I feel truly blessed to be a part of such an amazing company that brings so much joy to so many people around the world. My ‘worst’ day at work is better than a lot of people’s best.”
Disney on Ice presents Treasure Trove will be traveling to South Florida on Sept. 17, 2015, as its next stop. The show will follow with performances in Missouri, New Jersey and New York.
For more information on when Disney On Ice will be near you, visit http://www.disneyonice.com/tickets.