‘Dis­ney on Ice’ duo skate the world

Hus­band and wife come home as heroes

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - SAMEER NAIK

AS A child, Kon­rad Gier­ing was ob­sessed with Dis­ney movies.

He spent most of his free time glued to the tele­vi­sion, watch­ing his favourite an­i­mated heroes.

But while Dis­ney has pro­duced a num­ber of an­i­mated clas­sics, there was one that stood out for Gier­ing: The Lion King.

“As a South African, the movie re­ally spoke to me. I was fas­ci­nated by the char­ac­ters and the sto­ry­line.”

Gier­ing didn’t think twice when he was of­fered the op­por­tu­nity to play a char­ac­ter from the movie.

The Benoni- born fig­ure skater plays Scar, the jeal­ous younger brother of Mu­fasa 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 Lion King, so to be able to bring the char­ac­ter to life on ice has truly been a dream come true,” said Gier­ing, who has played the char­ac­ter for eight years.

A for­mer fig­ure skater who rep­re­sented South Africa in sev­eral in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions, Gier­ing now trav­els the world. 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 around the world, his per­for­mances in South Africa later this month will be a first.

He will also play Kristoff, from the 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.”

It’s the sixth time Dis­ney on Ice per­forms in South Africa. Each year, a new pro­duc­tion is cre­ated.

“This year the show in­cludes scenes from clas­sic films from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, as well as more mod­ern favourites like Find­ing Dory, The Lion King and Frozen.”

Dress­ing up and be­ing on the ice is his dream job. And it doesn’t hurt that he does so with his child­hood sweet­heart, who is part of the cast, too.

His wife Yolande is an en­sem­ble skater who per­forms with him on the ice.

“I get to see the world with my wife and 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, said au­di­tion­ing for Dis­ney on Ice had been the best move the cou­ple could have made.

“Af­ter watch­ing a the­atre pro­duc­tion at Montecasino a few years ago, we de­cided to au­di­tion. It’s changed our lives.

“It’s been a won­der­ful jour- ney. We are about 40 skaters and 15 crew mem­bers who 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 ad­mit­ted they are liv­ing the dream, the glam­orous job does come with a few 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,” Yolande said.

But the re­ward of see­ing thou­sands of cheer­ful kids is worth it, the cou­ple said.

“I get goose­bumps 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.”


Kon­rad Gier­ing as Scar with hye­nas in Dis­ney on Ice.


Yolande Gier­ing

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