During Disney on Ice’s “Dare to Dream,” nearly two-dozen talented skaters glide, leap, and lift their way through scenes from animated-film favorites featuring girls as heroes. While the characters are presented in chronological order — starting with “Cinderella” and including “Beauty and the Beast,” “Tangled,” “Frozen,” and “Moana” — it’s fascinating to follow the evolution of the independent woman through Disney’s eyes, on skates no less. The arc begins with a fashion faux pas that requires a handsome prince to remedy and finishes with a young woman determined to save her island with the help of a demi-god whose got his own issues.
In Feld Entertainment’s carefully packaged version, the truncated expositions can feel abrupt, but the introductions set the right tone: “Cinderella rises above the bullying and bickering and never loses hope” and “being a hero is not about how strong you are on the outside . . . ,” because the focus is, of course, on the dream and the determination behind it. Tucking five stories into a show can be a bit challenging, since “Dare to Dream” runs a very kid-friendly 100 minutes or so, with a 15-minute intermission. The ensemble numbers are not as elaborate as other Disney on Ice shows, but my 4-year-old friend loved the dancing cherry pies and layer cakes in “Be Our Guest.” The best choreography appeared in “I’ve Got a Dream” with an impressive kick line and skaters spinning effortlessly around a table.
After watching the jaw-dropping moves of the Olympic skaters on television, the performances here might seem tame, but there were some impressive lifts and one-armed spins. The climax of the first act is Rapunzel and Flynn from “Tangled,” flying above the ice on silks and then landing on the ice and finishing with a few more gravity-defying lifts and spins. While her mother and I gasped at the flying skaters, our 4-year-old companion wondered about the horse, Maximus. “Is that a real horse?” she asked of the two skaters who filled the costume that faithfully recreated the animated character.
Act II arrived and the audience was ready for Anna and Elsa of “Frozen,” with nearly everyone in the Garden laughing along with Olaf’s “In Summer” and then joining in on “Love Is an Open Door” and “Let it Go.” Some dramatic sparks might be a bit intimidating for the littlest ones, but they are cleverly balanced with snow that falls on the audience.
“Moana” got the big finish with a boat that sailed across the ice, a swaggering Maui and a very agile Tamatoa, manipulated by a skater who managed to move gracefully within the confines of an oversized crab costume, in a production number featuring some glow-in-the-dark creatures.
Every character gets a moment in the finale, with every member of the ensemble waving to the kids in the audience. One of the features of Disney on Ice that I love the most is that every opportunity to engage children is taken — OK, only if you’re in the front row, but still – youngsters get a hug from a few of the heroines, try on that slipper, lift a lantern. It’s a great way to connect kids to these fictional characters and encourage them to follow their own dreams.
DISNEY ON ICE PRESENTS “DARE TO DREAM”
At TD Garden, through Feb. 25. Tickets $15-$115. www.ticketmaster.com.Terry Byrne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.