Q&A: Cloverdale skater keen to come ‘home’ for Disney On Ice show

Rare Vancouver show dates for William Denney in 'Worlds of Enchantment'

The 'Toy Story' scene in the Disney On Ice production of 'Worlds of Enchantment

SURREY — The Now recently caught up with William Denney, among the 40-plus skaters in the Disney on Ice show “Worlds of Enchantment,” which hits Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum from Nov. 23 to 27.

Growing up, Denney lived in Cloverdale while learning his on-ice skills as a member of Sungod Skating Club in North Delta.

On the phone from Spokane, Denney, 27, talked about his upbringing and the current show in the following Q&A:

The Now: Did you always live in the Cloverdale area growing up?

Denney: “Yes, but I always spent probably more than half of my time in North Delta, and I would use my grandparents’ home address for school. I went to Burnsview and Sands schools. Probably for first 15 years of my life, my routine was wake up, my mom (Rosemarie) would drive me to school, whether it was elementary or high school, and my father (Bill) would then finish work and come get me or my grandparents, who lived right there, would take me to skating, either right there at Sungod or in Newton or in Burnaby or Vancouver, or anywhere. I was always somewhere, sometimes at two different rinks in one day. I’d finish by, oh, 10 p.m., I’d get picked up by my mom and start it over the next day.”

When did you join the Disney on Ice company?

“I joined at the end of 2010, with Feld Entertainment. There are people on my show who’ve been doing it for maybe 15 years, or at least 10, so I’m in around the middle. You get the odd person who does it for only a year or two before moving on, and you get the people who keep doing it until they can’t skate anymore.”

Is it still fun for you?

“It’s like life, you always make the best out of everything and enjoy yourself. I particularly like putting on shows. When I was younger, during my competitive career, I didn’t really enjoy competing but I always enjoyed putting on the club shows, as opposed to doing a competition, because it’s just fun. I love travelling, and I get to see cool places all the time, and meeting new people. I was recently in South Africa, a month there, and before that was Israel a few years ago. In South Africa, it’s very popular, and the crowds there were amazing”

How is the show done there, in a country with few arenas?

“There’s always some form of arena or a building, a convention centre, that can house the show, and if there is no house ice, then we actually have our own that we can bring in, a whole ice-tech crew – real ice, not plastic or anything, and it’s done with huge compressors. We can bring in our own ice floor anywhere, pretty much.”

(Q&A continues below photo)

Have you ever done an ice show like this in Vancouver?

“This is actually the first time that I’ll ever be able to bring my tour career to home, the first time a lot of my friends and family and particularly my grandparents (Edward and Eleonore Schreiber), will see me. That has been the most important thing for me to do, to bring them the show. They’re a lot older now and can’t physically travel, so the only way for them to see what I’m doing, other than watch a video, is for them to come see me perform.”

How long have you been in “Worlds of Enchantment”?

“This show has run for about a year and a half, but I’ve been with the show a lot longer because we recently revamped the show. I’ve been on this unit for about five years, or close to it. This is my seventh tour now.”

What character, or characters, do you portray in the show?

“I’m a green army soldier in the ‘Toy Story’ part of the show, and in ‘The Little Mermaid’ I’m what’s known as a salsa fish, and then in the ‘Frozen’ section I’m the baker. I’m not in the ‘Cars’ segment.

What’s the best part of the show, for you personally?

“That’s hard, because I enjoy every part of the show. The way it’s put together is magnificent. I enjoy watching the ‘Cars’ because we’re the first show to have driving, animatronic cars, and with all the pyro and special effects we have, it looks amazing. The ‘Frozen’ section is beautiful and it actually snows, so it makes you feel like you’re in winter. ‘The Little Mermaid’ section is colourful and the children love the bubbles we have. With ‘Toy Story,’ my favourite is Rex, so it’s fun to have a giant dinosaur on ice. And the green army part of it is an upbeat number, like Michael Jackson type funk. It’s fun.”

• Tickets start at $15 for Disney on Ice’s “Worlds of Enchantment,” which will be performed nine times at the Coliseum starting on Wednesday, Nov. 23. For details, visit TicketLeader.ca or call 604-252-3700.

tom.zillich@thenownewspaper.com

 

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