Katy Harris began her career at Disneyland Resort Paris in 1993, performing in the Beauty and the Beast show at Videopolis Theatre. After then performing in every production at the park, she became an assistant show director and produced various spectacles for small events and business conferences.
In 2001, she became a full show director, and has a good list of credits to her name. Choreographer with Craig Revel Horwood (as seen on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing) on The Legend Of The Lion King, she then conceived and directed the Kids Carnival as well as adapting Winnie the Pooh and Friends, Too for the Fantasy Festival Stage. Tasked with conceiving a new Disneyland Park parade for the 15th Anniversary, she eventually presented the parade to Jay Rasulo (head of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts) in America and got the greenlight for the project in January 2006.
Series: Backstage at the park (3/5)
A choreographer for the new parade
To celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Disneyland Park, the park’s teams at Marne-la-Vallée (Seine et Marne) are assembling themselves ready. This is the next in our series on those who, in the shadows, are preparing the festivities, due to begin 1st April.
You would imagine it like the light-footed style of a dancer, but Katy Harris, choreographer and director at Disney, arrives burdened with stress and pressure. Because this 38-year old English woman, previously director of the Kids Carnival, has accepted a hefty task: to conceive and direct the first strictly French parade, Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade, which will be performed each day at the park. She brings together seven dreams: imagination, laughter, friendship, fantasy, power, adventure and romance, played out by the characters of Disney.
“I had lots of pieces of paper with all the most important characters, the films – a true puzzle!” remembers Katy. “Once the choices had been made, we very quickly got the green light from the Americans. Lucky, since one year is very short to create the costumes, lights, music, etc.”
Thirteen Years at Disney
Today, the workshops, mainly situated at Montreuil (Seine-Saint Denis), are putting the finishing touches to the floats. The music has been recorded. The rehearsals are about to begin. “The team comprises 105 performers. For each role, we need four people, to allow for days off. That means creating enough costumes and in every size.” It’s for the this reason mainly, that the physical criterias were established. The princess flowers, who wear dresses covered in yellow and green petals, measure around about the same height. “If not, we could never do it, and it’s also important for harmony with the choreography.”
Educated as a dancer at British theatre schools, Katy Harris has resided at Disney for over 13 years. “In a parade just as much as a musical theatre show, the direction is just as important as the choreography, since the presentation to the spectator is very short, never more than 2 minutes, and the scene continues to move. To create emotion, it’s a lot of hard work.”
Tomorrow’s column will feature Roland Kleve, head of future attraction construction.
Article: Julie Cloris, Translation: DLRP Today
Article scan thanks to Julien-Fantillusion, Disney Central Plaza forum.