Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Behind The Scenes At Iceploration

This past weekend, The BGT Buzz got a behind the scenes look at what it takes to put on Busch Gardens' biggest ice show to date, Iceploration. This behind the scenes experience was part of Busch Gardens' Sidewalk Safari Night passmember appreciation event. Passmembers and Fun Card holders alike were invited to stay after hours, ride fan favorite coasters, dine on delectable treats, and get a behind the scenes look at the parks two most popular shows, Iceploration, and Burn The Floor: Untapped. For a complete review and recap of Behind The Scenes at Iceploration, check out our coordinating blog post below.


Event Overview

At 9:00 PM on Saturday evening, Busch Gardens' Passmembers and Fun Card holders flocked to the Moroccan Palace Theater to experience Iceploration like they've never seen it before. Busch Gardens' Director of Creative Services, Scott Swenson, was on hand and led the journey into the makings of the show. Scott covered all components of the show including skaters, actors, acrobats, animals, puppets, stage technicians, and more! Below you can find more information on each component of the show covered in this exclusive experience.


The true stars of the show were represented by one of the female soloists, Danielle Seitz. As a competitive figure skater, Danielle started figure skating at the age of 4. By her late teens, Danielle was a national competitor earning awards across the USA. After retiring from the world of competitive figure skating, Danielle auditioned for the female soloist part in Iceploration and was quickly accepted due to her knowledgeable background in figure skating. Danielle currently skates in Iceploration as the primary female soloist as well as a chorus skater. You can find Danielle in the show portraying the lead gazelle in Africa, the clownfish in the Great Barrier Reef, and the dragonfly in the rainforest. In addition to being a skater in Iceploration, Danielle also performs in Busch Gardens' Christmas time ice show, Christmas on Ice.



Also known as the Meerkats, Underwater Aerialists, and Spider Monkeys, the Acrobats in Iceploration make the show unique as skating and gymnastics are an uncommon pair. Unfortunately, the acrobats weren't on hand to speak for themselves as they were out in Gwazi Field training for Busch Gardens' nighttime Summer Nights finale show, Kinetix! (Opening June 29th!) Scott talked about how all of the acrobats in Iceploration come from a world renown circus academy from Russia. Busch Gardens has talent scouts that travel worldwide to find talented performers such as the acrobats in Iceploration.


Animals aplenty can be found throughout the duration of Iceploration. Trainers from Joel Slaven's Professional Animals were on hand to share information and stories from their everyday lives while they've worked next to these amazing animals.

The first animal brought out was a Macaw by the name of Only. Only can be found at the end of the show flying to grandpa at the front of the stage.

The second animal brought out was King, a Eurasian Eagle Owl. King can be found flying across the back of the stage during the transition from the Great Barrier Reef to the Arctic scene. You have to pay close attention if you want to see King as he's only on stage for a brief moment!  King's original role in the show was to stand on the sled the Huskies pull, but was later changed into his current flying role.

The third and final animal brought out was truly a fan favorite. Zephyr the Husky and his other Husky friends can be found in the Arctic scene pulling Austin/Kaitlyn out onto the ice. The Huskies hold meet and greet sessions after each show on the left hand side of the stage near the exit doors, it's a great time to snap a picture!

Scott Having A Little Too Much Fun!


Tony award winning costume designer Gregg Barnes was called in for the fabrication and design process for the costumes seen in Iceploration. A short video reel was played that showed how Gregg picked out a color palette for the male dragonfly's costume. Scott later mentioned that each skater in the show has a costume tailored to their own specific needs. Adjustments can be made for new skaters as the costumes can be enlarged or sized down if needed.


Brought to life by Iceplorations' team of talented puppeteers, puppets such as the elephant, coral, moray eel, turtle, frog, and some select others are brought to life by this talented group of individuals. Scott brought out one of the puppeteers from the show as well as the frog puppet from the rainforest scene. Guests were able to learn about how the puppets work and how they were incorporated into the show. 


Backstage & Stage Technicians


The stage technicians are the people you rarely see, but without them the show would be nothing. The technicians are in charge of all things backstage: props, lighting, set changes, and more. Scott talked to us about the limited storage space backstage and how the majority of the props are hoisted upwards and stored vertically! As a special treat, the technicians demonstrated a scene change, with the curtain up! Take a look at the video below to see what happens when the curtain's down!


Soon after demonstrating the scene change, Scott brought out the mini Zamboni operated by stage technician, Lance. Lance talked about operating the Zamboni and how it works in conjunction with the ice.


Closing Remarks

With just under 2,700 shows under their belts, the cast of Iceploration have put on an amazing show so far. As my favorite show at the park (and possibly ever!), this behind the scenes experience was a great opportunity to learn a few new things about one of the coolest shows in the park.
  For the latest information and coverage of Busch Gardens Tampa, be sure to follow Viktor Tuparov on Twitter.

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