Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Santa Claus is Coming to…….the Galleria Mall

December 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured Articles

By Nicolette House

There are few things more touching than little children eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. For children at the Galleria Mall in Dallas, Texas, Santa arrives earlier than scheduled- every Saturday afternoon in fact.

Professional skater and comedian, Dan Hollander, has been playing Santa at the mall’s indoor rink for thirteen years. Yet, the gig never gets old.

“When I first jump onto the ice and the fireworks first shoot out, I skate around and I see the little kids with their noses pressed up against the glass. They’re just freaking out and they’re like, Santa!, because they’re all excited. That’s really cool,” says Hollander.

Santa’s arrival at the mall’s ice rink is a tradition that always begins on Thanksgiving Day. Then, every Saturday through Christmas Eve, Santa (Hollander), local skaters, and guest skaters entertain audiences during a fifteen minute show.

“This year Brian Boitano skated in the opening show. We’ve had Kurt Browning and Dorothy Hamill, so we’ve had a lot of big names,” says Hollander.

That impressive list only scratches the surface of those that have guest skated at the Galleria. Ashley Wagner will skate later this year and the new pair team of Caitlin Yankowskas and Josh Reagan headlined the show along with Hollander the last two weekends.

It takes Hollander about forty-five minutes to prep for the show due to the fact that he’s got fireworks attached to his skates. At the end of the show Hollander performs his show stopping back flip as the fireworks go off.

“I’m always happy that Santa never catches on fire,” jokes Hollander. Doing the back flip with fireworks and extra padding due to the Santa costume makes that move slightly more dangerous.

The ice rink at the Galleria is a sight to see. Right in the middle of the ice stands a four story Christmas tree, its height reaching to the highest story of the mall. The Ice Skating Center has been dubbed the “best place to people watch in Dallas.”

The skating show uses the Christmas tree as its centerpiece. Once completed the ice is available for public skate and group classes.

As soon as Santa’s done there’s a massive line of people to get on the ice to public skate. That’s kind of the novelty of it all,” says Hollander.

Anyone that knows Hollander knows he’s a comedian at heart. Even Santa Claus takes on a comedic tone when Hollander portrays him.

“There are two different parts in the music where I just start getting down. I did Gangam style this year and a couple different break dancing moves. Everyone starts laughing at that. That’s what I like- making people laugh,” says Hollander.

On New Year’s Eve Hollander will bring back two of his most iconic routines for an outdoor show in Houston. Audiences will again enjoy his Mrs. Doubtfire and Richard Simmons reenactments.

He will skate just steps away from where KC and the Sunshine Band will perform. While the cast is subject to change, Sasha and Roman Zaretsky are slated to perform along with Hollander.

When Hollander isn’t making audiences smile, he can be found teaching young skaters in Michigan. All the while, new program ideas run through his head.

“I’ve always got five or six ideas that I’m trying to work with,” says Hollander.

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