By MIKE CHAIKEN
Ariel, Belle, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Tiana, Jasmine, Aurora, and Snow White are coming to town.
So it’s only fitting that a self-confessed fan of all things Disney, who hails from Connecticut, should be on the ice with them.
From Jan. 8 to 12, “Disney on Ice presents Princesses and Heroes” will take up residence at the XL Center in Hartford.
And Victoria Noel Chiappa from Deep River is one of the members of the ensemble who helps give the show life and brings ice skating fun to families who come to Hartford.
The performance is a series of vignettes featuring each princess and drawing from the story lines of the original movies, explained Victoria, in a phone call from Philadelphia.
“We capture all the essence of the princesses and princes,” explained Victoria, who once attended Central Connecticut State University. There’s a little action on the ice and a little romance. “We capture as much as we can from the movies… It’s all true to Disney.”
Skating around all of these iconic Disney figures, the question begs to be asked of the former medal-winning competitive figure skater. When Victoria was a little girl was she a fan of the Disney princesses herself?
“I was a total Disney geek growing up,” said Victoria, with a laugh. “I still am.”
She noted she and some of the other cast members even spend their days off watching “Little Mermaid.”
Does she have a favorite Disney princess? Victoria said her favorites have changed over the years. When she was a little girl, she said, “I was a diehard Belle fan (of ‘Beauty and the Beast). I love her to pieces.”
Later, as she grew older, she became a fan of “Tiana” from “Princess and the Frog.” “She’s such a powerhouse.”
Then she became a fan of Princess Merida from the movie “Brave.”
But, now, she said she is completely enamored with Princess Anna from the newest Disney animated film, “Frozen.”
And since the show is about “heroes” as well as “princesses,” did Victoria have a favorite Disney hero growing up? She said she didn’t have a particular prince that was her favorite. But, Victoria said she loves men who make her laugh. And in that case, she said, her favorite male Disney character is the genie from “Aladdin.”
Victoria, who started skating 14 years ago at the age of 6, has been part of the “Disney on Ice” crew since rehearsals began in August. And she’s enjoying the experience, she said.
“I absolute love (skating with Disney),” said Victoria. “There’s just this great feeling… bringing Disney magic to kids.” There’s no greater feeling than skating up to a child dressed up in a character and bringing smiles to little ones’ faces, said Victoria.
When the crowds cheer as she and the cast step onto the ice each night, Victoria said it’s a fulfilling feeling “knowing what you’re doing brings happiness to yourself and others.” And it feels great, she said, knowing her ability to skate is good enough that it brings excitement to the audience.
As a member of the ensemble, Victoria said “Disney on Ice” helps feed her need to be creative. Her characters are intended to help fill out the scenes around the princesses. So, it is up to this actress with Broadway ambitions to create a character appropriate for the action on the ice.
And when Victoria comes to Connecticut next week with “Disney On Ice presents Princesses & Heroes,” the Hartford performances will be her first chance to perform for family and friends with this show.
“I’m excited to see family and for them to see the show and all the hard work I’ve done, said Victoria. “It’s going to be great.”
The “Disney on Ice presents Princesses & Heroes” will open Jan. 8 and will run through Jan. 12 at the XL Center, One Civic Plaza, Hartford.
Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m Matinees are at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Opening night tickets start at $15. Front row tickets are $80. VIP tickets are $60. Additional tickets are $30 and $25.
Tickets are available at (877)522-8499, XL.Center.com or the box office.
Fans can stop by any participating Subway Restaurant location in the Hartford area to grab $15 kids ticket coupons and learn how to enter-to-win a “skating with the stars” experience.
By MIKE CHAIKEN