The latest Disney on Ice theme, “Dare to Dream,’’ focuses on the girls - sorry, make that princesses. A trio of fables, one old-school (“Cinderella’’) and two reimagined by Disney with feisty, independent heroines (“The Princess and the Frog’’ and “Tangled’’) are brought to life through elegant and athletic skating routines.
This time around, the music drives the storytelling, which is not a bad thing, given the impressive range of choreography that allows this incredibly talented troupe of nearly 40 skaters to showcase their skills. Whether it’s the precision of the ensemble numbers, including the arrival of the Prince’s Royal Guard in “Cinderella,’’ jaw-dropping solos by either the princesses or their beaus, or the romantic pairs skating to such favorite songs as “So This Is Love,’’ the team of choreographers creates combinations that are imaginative, dramatic, and never repetitive.
The costume designs are vivid and make it easy to identify characters no matter where you sit. Disney costumers manage to give the skaters just the right identifying details, including masks or full-body costumes for some, and a simple top hat or cape for others. My 5-year-old companion, Samadhi Mugera, recognized Dr. Facilier, the voodoo villain from “The Princess and the Frog,’’ the moment he appeared on the ice, and warned, “Watch out. He’s mean.’’ My favorite character was Maximus, the horse from “Tangled,’’ whose costume is so remarkably true to the animated character; it’s surprising to realize two skaters are inside.
Director Patty Vincent keeps the pace fast and furious, so that we race through the first story, “The Princess and the Frog,’’ tell half of “Cinderella’’ before the intermission break, wrap that up and then, saving the most challenging choreography for last, move into “Tangled.’’ In an inspired nod to the animated scene in which the hero, Flynn Ryder, becomes tangled in Rapunzel’s hair, the skaters portraying Flynn and Rapunzel not only skate an energetic routine, they soar into the air on silks, separately and together, for some aerial acrobatics made even more impressive by their ability to land gracefully back on the ice and continue skating without missing a beat.
The “Dare to Dream’’ finale includes a parade of nearly every princess in the Disney catalog, which seemed like overkill to me until I noticed Samadhi, like many of the little girls in the audience, clapping and dancing along with them.