Tale as old as time: Colleen Clancy skates in the world of Disney on ice | Arts and theater

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If “Disney on Ice” star Colleen Clancy is successful, the Winter Olympics would include a synchronized skating competition.

As a member of the University of Miami team, she learned a lot about skating, working alongside others, and bonding as a group with a universal purpose — essential traits on a show like Disney on Ice.

“It really helped me get to where I am today and I’m so grateful,” Clancy said. By playing Belle in the touring production that stops in Sioux City from February 17-20, she has the chance to continue a passion that began when she was 5 years old.

“My mom was a figure skater and she got me and my sister involved,” she says. “It didn’t really take with my sister. She loved the dresses and the performance, but I was definitely more into the technical side.

A shot at Olympic gold, of course, was part of the dream. She started out as a solo skater, then moved on to other things.

“As you grow as a skater, your goals change.” Enter: the University of Miami, where skating is a sport. Clancy was on the synchronized skating team for all four years, competed at the World Championships in 2013 (“I get goosebumps thinking about it,” she says) and found it could give life to a show on ice.

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“My major was actually international studies, so it fits right in.” Through skating, Clancy has visited 45 countries and put her skills to good use.

“You work alongside people from so many different countries. It’s convenient because you learn to communicate with people who don’t all speak the same language as quickly as Americans. I don’t think I expected to do what I do, but the degree worked out.

The touring production covers a range of Disney stories (including a “Coco” segment that is “incredible and inspiring”) and skating techniques. In addition to Clancy’s extensive “Beauty and the Beast” segment, the show includes pair and solo skating and, yes, that all-important synchronized skating. The performers perform movements seen at the Olympic Games and focus on the “performance” aspect that commentators love.

Even more? “Costumes are something you don’t realize until you see them in person. They are so detailed and special,” Clancy says. “There’s always a bit of Disney magic” going on during the live show. Look for Belle to quickly transform her everyday wear into this iconic prom dress.

And, since this is a Disney production, don’t forget these iconic characters, including Mickey Mouse, who Clancy says is pretty good at skating.

To capture Belle’s essence, Clancy watched “Beauty and the Beast” countless times and underwent developmental training to ensure she had the character’s signature moves.

Because she plays with the Beast, Clancy also gets her chance to do those pair skating moves. “It’s so awesome…and an example of us developing and continuing to develop our skills working with this company.”

To stay in shape for the ice, Clancy likes to run on his days off “because we don’t always have access to the ice. It’s a cool way to explore new places. And I do yoga to try to stay flexible and heal myself because I put my body through a lot.

Because live performances were suspended during the coronavirus pandemic, “we all wondered if we were going to be able to come back. Many people have taken different trips” and some have not chosen to return. Clancy says she thought about other career options, but lucked out. She was away between March and October 2020. “I was one of the lucky ones who was able to come back for what we called the COVID Bubble Tour.”

Now, as more and more bookings come back, performers are finding audience members who are “10 times more excited” to see a live show. “They probably didn’t think it would be possible for them anytime soon,” she says.

Clancy and company are also excited. “I don’t think I’ll ever stop enjoying it…so I’m super, super grateful.”

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