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Warming Hearts Disney On Ice Skaters Join Disabled For Fun On Riverfront Park Ice Rink

David Lee, Jaime Stellek and Timothy Denisov earn their paychecks by dressing up as animals or pieces of furniture in the Disney on Ice version of “Beauty and the Beast.”

During their time off Thursday, the three chorus skaters got their kicks by slicing the ice with nine members of the Spokane Blades, a skating club for the developmentally disabled.

Stellek, who’s been with Disney for seven years, said the chance to do a good deed is a welcome break.

On tour, most of the show’s 40 skaters spend free time reading, sightseeing or looking for a good place to find postcards.

“This chance (to skate with the Blades) gives me a way to tell people we enjoy seeing them. And that we appreciate their support,” said Stellek, who plays two or three roles during the show that concludes with performances today, Saturday and Sunday at the Spokane Arena.

The skating club is run by the city Parks and Recreation Department.

Members on hand for Thursday’s event at Riverfront Park’s Ice Palace ranged in skating ability from advanced to those still struggling to control their turns on ice.

At every city the tour visits, the company arranges an event or public skating to generate a little good will and publicity, said Disney on Ice Marketing Director Scott Kane.

“Some cities, the event involves Special Olympics kids. Others, it’s senior citizens,” said Kane.

Blades member Mike VanZee took a few turns on the ice with the three chorus skaters.

A 20-year-old Lewis and Clark High School student, VanZee grinned while holding arms with Mickey Mouse - who joined the group for 20 minutes.

Coming off the ice, he was asked how it felt to skate with the famous mouse.

“Mickey is” - big pause to find the right phrase - “pretty cool,” he decided.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo


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