‘Disney On Ice: Dare To Dream’ to enchant area

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Melodee Clysdale started skating before many of her Disney on Ice co-stars were even born. Though it may seem fitting for a 49-year-old to portray the Fairy Godmother, Clysdale’s bubbly personality and attitude toward life is more like that of a 17-year-old.

“When you show up to work every day to smile, high kick, twirl around and entertain people for a living – that keeps you fresh and alive,” Clysdale said. “You’re smiling and they’re smiling –you’re kind of working at a party every single day. That will keep anyone loving what they do.”

Clysdale began skating at 8 years old, but left the sport as she grew up – and became a hairdresser.

“I had a friend who joined the show, and she would visit me,” Clysdale said. “But I was going to do school and live life – that’s really hard to do on your own. So I got a job in a salon.”

Somewhere in between perms and trimming split ends, she unintentionally connected with a friend who encouraged her to audition at upcoming tryouts.

“Six months later, I was seeing the ocean for the first time,” she said. “It was kind of a whirlwind.”
She now considered the whirlwind as settled – she’s had the same job for 20 years, still married to the guy she met her first year on the roadback in 1995.

“He travels with the show in consumer products (souvenirs),” she said. “I make memories happen, and my husband sells you a trinket to remember them for years and years from now. And there are a lot of couples in Disney on Ice. You have a settled life, making people happy across America and you get to spend time with the one you love the most.”

Even with her years of experience, Clysdale doesn’t consider herself a mother hen-type to her younger co-workers. The years are just timeless numbers.

“I’ll show them tricks like how to clean their eyelashes and things like that,” she said. “But it’s just really wonderful working with different generations because they all have something to offer.”

There’s definitely no monotony since productions change each season. In “Dare to Dream,” Clysdale also portrays Charlotte from the “Princess and the Frog,” in the opening sequence.

“Cinderella is a gorgeous section of the show,” she said. “I (as the Fairy Godmother) get to make her dreams come true. There’s always a gasp when I wave my wand and the horse and carriage comes out. It actually chokes me up a little it’s so beautiful.”
The scene from “Tangled” featuring Rapunzel – and her flowing “locks” of aerial fabric silk – is “literally breath-taking,” Clysdale said. “She trained for a really long time with the acrobatics.”

“Dare to Dream” also features princesses from earlier Disney films and of course, Mickey and Minnie.

“It includes a wide range (of characters) and decades of music that the entire family can relate to,” Clysdale said. “It really brings people from so many generations together to have fun.”

Clysdale has no plans to retire her skates anytime soon.

“I think the ice preserves us,” she said. “I skated for several years then moved into management. I came back to skating because I was making other people make people happy. I missed being the one making people happy.

“During one show, I was dancing with a child – I’m on the ice, and she’s on the floor and we’re having a great time! I saw her look into my eyes and realized I have a great job. It’s amazing to be able to do that.”

Disney On Ice presents Dare To Dream Friday through Sunday at Bossier City’s CenturyLink Center. Tickets can be purchased on ticketmaster.com

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