Breaking ice in Disney role is dream come true
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As a child, Konrad Giering was obsessed with Disney movies. He spent much of his free time glued to the TV, watching his favourite animated heroes.
“I grew up with Disney being a major part of my life. I watched the movies, I sang the songs. I loved it,” says Giering.
While Disney has produced a countless number of animated classics, there was one movie in particular that stood out for Giering, The Lion King.
“As a South African, the movie really spoke to me. I grew up around wildlife and so naturally I was fascinated by the characters and the storyline.”
Giering didn’t think twice when he was offered the opportunity to play one of the characters in the iconic Disney movie.
The Benoni-born figure skater plays Scar, the jealous younger brother of Mufasa in The Lion King, in the internationally-acclaimed production, The Wonderful World of Disney on Ice, which heads to South Africa in three weeks.
“I spent many of my childhood years idolising the characters from The Lion King so to be able to bring the character to life on ice has truly been a dream come true,” says Giering, who has played this character for eight years.
But playing Scar isn’t an easy job especially on ice skates but it is the role that Giering is relishing.
“I’m the evil guy; I can be really aggressive on the ice. I enjoy it. Scar is a really cool character.
“Perhaps all those hours spent watching The Lion King is paying off now,” Giering says with a giggle.
The former figure skater, who represented South Africa in several international competitions, now travels the globe and performs for thousands of delighted and screaming children.
He is part of a large international cast who bring to life some of Disney’s most-loved characters.
While Giering has performed in just about every country across the globe, his upcoming performances in South Africa later this month will be a first.
Giering will play Scar as well as Kristoff from popular Disney movie Frozen.
“It is only my mom who has seen me perform, so to have all my friends and the rest of my family see me live does make me a little nervous,” says Giering.
“But I am excited. I have waited all my life to perform in South Africa, and now it’s finally arrived,” he enthuses.
It’s the sixth time that Disney on Ice will be staged in South Africa.
Each year, a new production of Disney On Ice is created to bring the favourite characters to families around the world.
Audiences can sing and dance with their Disney friends, such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, the Disney Princesses, and the Toy Story gang.
“This year the show includes scenes from classic movies such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, as well as more modern favourites, Finding Dory, The Lion King and Frozen.”
Dressing up and being on the ice is Giering's dream job.
And it doesn’t hurt that he gets to do it with his childhood sweetheart, who is part of the cast too.
His wife Yolande is an ensemble skater who performs with him on stage.
“I get to see the world with my wife and to perform with her too. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Yolande plays various animated characters in the production.
The 29-year-old, who grew up in Pretoria, says auditioning for Disney on Ice was the best move the couple could have made.
“After watching a theatre production at Montecasino a few years ago, we decided to audition," she recalls.
It’s changed our lives.
“It’s been a wonderful journey. We are about 40 skaters and 15 crew members that travel the world.
"We have become one big family on tour. We work together, eat together, shop together. We do everything together.”
While the couple admits that they are living the dream, the glamorous job does come with its downsides.
“The worst thing is having to live out of a suitcase for months at a time and moving from one hotel to another. However we’ve become used to the lifestyle,” says Yolande.
However, the reward of seeing thousands of cheerful kids is worth all the inconveniences for the couple.
“The greatest joy is seeing these kids' faces light up when their favourite characters are brought to life,” says Yolande.
“I get goose bumps when I hear the cheers from the kids.
"For those two hours during the show we become heroes and that’s a feeling that never gets old.”