The Web may be chock-full of talented YouTube stars these days, but Claire Ryann has easily become my favorite Internet indulgence. The 4-year-old singer has covered memorable Disney songs from Mulan to The Little Mermaid to Tangled, with adorable perfection. And now, she’s blessed us with another incredible Disney cover — with her whole family in tow.
Her latest Disney tribute? “Tale as Old as Time” — which is pretty fitting, given the fact that the live-action release of Beauty and the Beast is just around the corner, and already drumming up a ton of excitement. I might be a little biased in saying how much I LOVED this video, considering it’s my all-time favorite Disney song (yes, even more so than “Let It Go”), but from the costumes and location to the song itself, this video was truly enchanting to watch.
Part of the visual appeal is thanks to its gorgeous backdrop. As Claire’s dad Dave Crosby explains to Babble, the Beauty and the Beast-themed video was filmed at the historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane, Washington.
“The main ballroom we used is called the ‘Hall of Doges,'” says Crosby. “It was built in 1908 and modeled after the old european ballrooms. The hotel was renovated in 2002 by Claire’s great grandpa. To preserve the original ballroom they lifted the entire ballroom out of the building with a crane and placed it back into a renovated building.”
Of course, Claire’s great-grandfather wasn’t the only one who played a hand in making this video so beautiful — Claire’s mom Ashley and her 2-year-old brother Carson also made their debuts in the video, as Belle and Chip.
As you might imagine, it wasn’t the easiest having a 2-year-old on set, but they made it work.
“[Carson] loved running around the ballrooms,” says Claire’s dad, Dave. “He was not interested in standing or sitting in any specific shot, so we just let him roam the whole time we were filming … We just let him do his thing. Grandma was there to watch him. Claire was just excited to have her brother in the video, they are really good buddies!”
According to Dave, Ashley is usually “hard at work behind the scenes of these videos,” but this time, she agreed to make an appearance in front of the camera, donning a magical dress Belle herself would be jealous of.
And, as any great ballroom scene should have, there was lots and lots of dancing.
“We had to take dance lessons for over a month to just learn some basic ‘Venetian Ballroom’ dance maneuvers,” shares Dave. “Hopefully no dance critics see this video.”
(For the record, I’m not sure anyone from Dancing with the Stars will be calling, but I was certainly was impressed.)
Aside from putting in the time to learn ballroom dancing, a lot of additional work went into making sure Claire (and her fam) looked the part:
“Costumes were also tough,” admits Dave. “I was going to dress as a beast, but Claire insisted that would be too scary, so I went with the human beast version. We wanted Claire and Carson to look like Mrs. Potts and Chip, but we wanted it to feel eloquent and fancy.”
I would say that goal was certainly achieved. The pair looked quite fancy — especially Claire, who had her dress custom made.
If you’ve been following Claire’s videos from the beginning, it’s probably not lost on you just how much she’s grown up in the past year. And Dad’s noticed, too. “I look back at the first video I ever did with her almost a year ago,” says Dave, “and you can just see how her singing voice has matured so much.”
The jury is still out on who Claire’s favorite Disney princess is, (it’s apparently a draw between Ariel, Sleeping Beauty, and Elsa), but Dad says she’s very into the songs from Disney’s latest release, Moana. So into it it, in fact, that she’s been belting out “How Far I’ll Go” while eating her breakfast in the morning. So who knows? Maybe one of her next videos will be Moana-inspired. (Can’t you just see Claire and the family out on a boat in the middle of the ocean, with little Carson as Maui?)
Or maybe the Crosby fam will decide to pick from the many (many) requests they’ve received from fans so far — from Pocahontas’ “Colors of the Wind” to Anastasia’s “Once Upon a December.” Oh, and of course, Frozen‘s “Let It Go.”
Whatever the family decides to cover next, I can promise one thing: I’ll be definitely be watching (and singing) along.More On