Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Disney on Ice: Dare to Dream, Helping Kids with Cancer

Sitting in the audience of the new Disney on Ice Show, Dare to Dream, is not too different than sitting in a Southern Gospel show. The crowd is excited and clapping and cheering and the performers are putting on a spectacular show. And just like Southern Gospel concerts, the Disney on Ice Show is about more than just entertainment; there is a higher purpose and ministry behind what they do. Of course there are world class performers and spectacular special effects, but when the smoke from the pyrotechnics dies down and the Zamboni is back in its stall, there is more than just smiling faces from the audience to remember the show by. Disney and Feld entertainment have partnered with Wigs for Kids, a ministry from Cleveland who give new hope to children suffering from hair loss due to Cancer treatments.
In 1981, world famous hair stylist Jeff Paul was approached by his thirteen year old niece. She, a Cancer patient, asked her talented uncle to create a realistic looking wig for her to wear to a gymnastic competition. At the time, there were no real hair wigs available for children, so Paul created one. While sitting in the audience of the competition, his anxiety grew as his niece took center stage. Paul sat on the edge of his seat in anticipation of her finale which would not only be difficult to land, but could potentially cause her wig to fall off. Not only did she land her final move expertly, but her wig stayed securely in place. The smile and thumb's up she gave to her Uncle Jeff made it all worth while and in that moment God spoke to him and changed the course of his career and life.
Jeff Paul has done hair and styling for dignitaries, celebrities and even a couple of United States Presidents, but God called him to a higher purpose and he left all of that behind to create, "Wigs for Kids." Today Paul, along with his wife Zina runs this national ministry that gives sick children a reason to smile and restores some of their self-confidence. Paul, a Southern Gospel music lover, has recently partnered with Disney and the good folks at Feld Entertainment to grow the ministry and to help even more children.
Partnering with local salons, Feld Entertainment and Wigs for Kids, have made it possible to collect large quantities of hair to create natural looking wigs for those who will benefit the most. The partnership was recently kicked-off with a fabulous meet and greet at the ShoWare Center in Kent Washington. Local salon owners, along with the children who generously donated their hair, were thanked with some royal treatment, fit only for true prince and princesses. There were cupcakes and prizes and a meet-and-greet with Rapunzel, the star of the show, which was the highlight for many. One of the performers even donated her locks to the cause. And through all the polish and glitz of the night, the purposes of God was being advanced, as bags and bags of hair were gathered.
The show itself was typical Disney amazing with all the lights and special effects you would expect. The skating, of course, was world class and the costumes were pure perfection. Our favorite part of the show was the Tangled portion which consumed the entire second half. There were lots of "oohs" and "ahhhs" when Rapunzel and her male counterpart, Flynn Rider, rose above the ice to perform an amazing acrobatic scene while suspended from long golden strands of hair. Maximus was also a favorite, as he looked identical to the character in the movie. The adults also marveled at the precision of the skaters who wore the costume and their ability to work together to create realistic movement.

Though the show focused on the princesses from story book, there is enough to keep all members of the family entertained; even my fidgeting six year old boy was mesmerized. The highlight for him was seeing mischievous Flynn Rider and all his antics. Just like in the movie, Flynn was a charming rascal that kept everyone guessing and laughing.

There was a fair share of magic displayed in the performance, which might be offensive to some. The majority of this happens in the first quarter of the show, which is devoted to story of Princess Tiana of "The Princess and the Frog. Anyone who is familiar with the story will know what to expect.

The timeless and classic story of Cinderella is also a part of this show. My favorite characters from the tale, Jaq and Gus, the mice, where there and brought a smile to my face as they danced across the ice. The most spectacular part of this story, and perhaps one of the most visually amazing parts of the entire show was the Cinderella's coach scene. The horses were played by skaters in elegant costume who were able to skate in precision as they "pulled" the extravagantly fanciful coach across the ice.
The finale was truly spectacular. All the princesses, along with Mickey, Minnie and the Disney gang took the ice to perform in an upbeat number. The costumes were dazzling and there were a few fun surprises, like the fireworks at the end. The thunderous applause and smiles from the kids in the audience indicated the show was indeed a success.

The show proved to be wildly entertaining, but beyond that, it felt good to know that under the sparkle of the sequins, there is a heart of gold. The people who help choreograph, plan,  perform, promote and partner with the performance are there to make a difference in the lives of young Cancer victims. This type of dedication and generosity is refreshing to see and gives me hope for a world that sometimes seems callous and self-serving.

For more Information:

Wigs for Kids

Disney on Ice

Feld Entertainment

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