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Disney on Ice celebrates '100 Years of Magic'
Show runs Thursday-Sunday at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento
Disney on Ice presents '100 Years of Magic'
TIMES: 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 12 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; 3:30 p.m. Saturday; 4 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Sleep Train Arena, One Sports Parkway, Sacramento
Familiar classics as well as new characters spanning decades of cinematic magic will take the stage beginning Thursday in Sacramento when Disney on Ice presents "100 Years of Magic."
I recently spoke with Mariko Heimbach by telephone, who skates as Dory in the "Finding Nemo" segment of the show. The troupe was in Oakland in just its second week of performing for the new Disney tour and will continue to perform around the country through March.
Born and raised in Japan to a Japanese mother and American father, Heimbach, 20, said, "Japan is my home, and my parents still live there. But I actually lived in California for one year. My dad was on sabbatical and we lived in Irvine, so I'm kind of familiar with Southern California but not the Sacramento area." She said this is her first time visiting Northern California.
Heimbach said members of the skating company often try to sight-see at each stop during the tour. "Every city is so different, so I try to look up the most popular things in that particular city, and we try to get a group together to go touring before the week starts.
"In the San Francisco area, we spent every day downtown — it was a lot of fun," she said.
Heimbach joined Disney on Ice shortly after graduating from high school at 17. "It's really fun getting to know people from all around the world who are in the cast," she said.
"My dad is originally from Pennsylvania, so I have spent quite a lot of summers over there going on vacation and visiting family. I love that area of the United States because it's the exact opposite of Japan. It's so different with all of the space and the cows and the farmland.
"So I really enjoy being in Pennsylvania — that might be where I go to college after I finish my skating career," Heimbach said.
"Education is very important to me, especially because my dad is a teacher. So after I'm finished skating, I plan on going to college. But being on the road has opened a lot of different doors for me in the figure skating world. It's really exciting."
Heimbach said her favorite athlete is Japanese skater Inoue Rena. "She grew up skating singles and then switched to pairs. Then she found out that she had cancer, but she kept competing. So her story really inspired me when I was competing in Japan," she said.
According to Disney publicity, the "100 Years of Magic" show was developed to celebrate the legacy of Walt Disney in conjunction with the 100 Years of Magic celebration held at Disney parks in 2001, which was the 100th anniversary of Disney's birth.
Heimbach said "100 Years of Magic" is a huge variety show: "There's pretty much everything you can possibly imagine in it — all of the favorite Disney songs, and we have the classic stories like 'Cinderella' and 'Pinocchio.'"
Heimbach said the show also includes appearances by characters from the more modern Disney stories, such as "The Incredibles" and "Toy Story."
"And there are exciting things like fireworks going off, plus the music that you can sing along to, so this show is for absolutely everyone — little boys and girls, moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas. Everybody can come see this one. It's dazzling, and the costumes are just incredible and the atmosphere," she said.
"Being a part of Disney is like a dream come true for me."