Slip Me a Mickey

By David Moye

Escondidoan Jana Klingsleis made a big adjustment two years ago.

"I went from skating in short skirts and tighter outfits to skating in full skirts," she says.

Klingsleis made the transition - from scantily clad to covered-up and from competitive skating to what she calls "show skating" - to join Disney On Ice. Now, she's a cast member of "Dare To Dream," a Disney production coming to Valley View Casino Center (formerly San Diego Sports Arena) January 23 - 27.

Such shows have gotten a bad rap for being nothing more than simplistic, shortened versions of Disney movie plots coupled with figure 8s and new excuses to sell branded merchandise, but Klingsleis says "Dare to Dream" - which features snippets from "Tangled" and "The Princess and the Frog," along with cameos by Cinderella and Prince Charming - has something to offer even to adults who don't have kids.

"In this show, one of the skaters is lifted 25 feet in the air...by her hair," she says, pointing out that commercial productions can be more demanding on skaters than competitive ones.

In addition to the intense routines she executes during the show, Klingsleis must also work out off the ice to stay in shape. But her job is relative child's play compared to those of her cast mates who perform dressed as, say, Mickey Mouse, or Maximus, the horse from "Tangled" (Disney's recent adaptation of the story of Rapunzel).

What's more, those who skate in costume don't receive much credit for their efforts, because company policy prevents their talking to the media, presumably to prevent jeopardizing the personae of imaginary (and money-making) characters. (Spoiler alert: that's not the real Donald Duck out there on the ice.)

Despite the anonymity, however, skating expert Allison Manley says the costumed skaters are the real stars of the show.

"You are balancing yourself on an 8-inch blade of steel and twirling and spinning at full speed," says Manley, who podcasts about skating at manleywoman.com. "Now add a 60-pound costume to your head and do it in a spotlight so you've lost your visuals."

At least the fame won't go to their heads.

 

WHAT: Disney On Ice presents "Dare To Dream"

WHEN: Jan. 23 - 27

WHERE: Valley View Casino Center (formerly San Diego Sports Arena)

Y: Because we like you...

 

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