Ice Fantillusion 2009: Disneyland in Liedekerke

By Titia Tolsma
Photos © Absolute Skating

On our way to Disneyland Paris, my boyfriend and I stayed overnight in Belgium. Sneaky me - I booked a hotel nearby to Kevin van der Perren’s home rink in Liedekerke so that I would be able to visit him if he was around. When we arrived at the hotel in the afternoon, I sent him a text message asking him if he would be at the rink that evening. And guess what? I was lucky! Not only he and his wife Jenna were at the ice rink that evening, also some of the Ice Fantillusion skaters would be there too. They were there because the Ice Fantillusion skaters, lead by Kevin and Jenna, had their very first practice for the Ice Fantillusion show “Movie Extravaganza”, which can be seen in April.

When we arrived at the ice rink the doors were closed. Luckily I wasn’t there for the first time so I knew how to enter the ice rink through the back entrance. I had to laugh because my boyfriend complained about the cold. “Imagine what it’s like when you’re here for four days in a row, eight hours per day!” I said.

Standing at the boards watching the skaters, one thing we noticed right away was that it already looked great, and professional. The moves fitted the music perfectly and the skaters skated almost perfectly synchronized.After watching them for a little while, Jenna came to us to say hi, and Kevin followed shortly after that. Jenna told us this was just the first practice and that they were practicing the theme of Moulin Rouge. The show was almost completely finished and the next step was to start teaching the skaters the moves, making the costumes and décor and deal with many other things. I listened to everything that needed to be done before the show is actually ready for its opening night and felt a great respect for everyone that is involved in making the show. Not only Kevin, Jenna and the skaters from Kevin’s home club, KSC Heuvelkouter, will appear in the show, also a number of guest skaters will join this year including some acrobats from Holiday on Ice!

Jenna was working with the ladies while Kevin tried to teach two guys some moves. While watching all of this, I explained to my boyfriend the history of Ice Fantillusion. While I was talking about that I noticed that most of the female skaters have changed a lot. They have not only grown but also their skating has improved a lot.

The skaters practiced short parts of the theme. After that they practiced the whole scene. While the skaters were busy with that, Jenna came over to talk with us. I got caught up talking with Jenna so much that I even forgot to take pictures or take video footage. My lovely boyfriend offered to take over the camera, at first complaining about how hard it is to take a picture while the skaters constantly move. “Boy, do I know!”

After practicing for about two hours, the scene of Moulin Rouge already looked awesome. I can’t wait to watch it at the show with costumes, lights and a great ambiance!

After the practice the skaters went home. Some people from the crew, people who volunteer every year, talked some things through with Kevin and Jenna. After that we went outside where it felt warmer than inside the rink! They invited us for a drink at the bar across the street in front of their house. And so we drove to Ninove, hometown of Kevin and Jenna. The bar was indeed at the other side of the street. We got some drinks and talked about a lot of stuff, most of it not skating related. Kevin told us that his back was alright at the moment but that he was now having problems with his skates. He was a bit worried if they would be fixed in time for the European Championships. But clearly things turned out ok - even resulting in a bronze medal. Congratulations Kevin! Jenna was busy playing with her new i-phone she got from Kevin as a Christmas present, showing us some hilarious movies on YouTube. Funny detail is that Kevin and Jenna gave each other an i-phone.

Later that night my boyfriend and I decided to go back to the hotel since we had to get up early the next morning. We said goodbye to Kevin and Jenna and wished them both good luck for the upcoming European Championships. I can’t wait until I get to see the whole show and smiled when my boyfriend said to me: “These are all really nice people and figure skating is so much more fun to watch when you are there to watch it live”.

Isn’t that what this is all about?

Go to Part 2, never before published pictures of the last show. You don't want to miss those!

Check out Kevins own site for more information on Ice Fantillusion - renewed pages!

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