100 Years of Magic

He dared to dream

By Iride Aparicio

Photos Courtesy:  FELD Entertainment

Montemayor, Junior Grand Prix winner skater in Mexico/Canada

SAN JOSÉ, CA— In the year 2005,  in Monterey, Mexico, where he was born, GABRIEL JACOBO MONTEMAYOR  (Jacobo)  went to see Finding Nemo, a Disney on Ice show. Hearing the songs and music, seeing the beautiful sets and costumes, and observing  the masterful skating,  made Jacobo aware that a professional ice skater, as he was, could also work in shows. In his case, Finding Nemo, helped him find the artistic part of himself. But let’s start his story from the beginning.

Growing up, roller skating was Jacobo’s  favorite sport; it was, until he discovered ice skating at the age of ten. “I loved ice skating from the first time I saw it” Jacobo  tells CULTURAL WORLD BILINGUAL  in a phone interview before his arrival to the Bay Area where he will skate, in San José and Oakland, on “DARE TO DREAM” the new Disney’s on Ice show.

J.M. “As a child, I watched the ice-skating world’s competitions on television. At that time, there were lots of famous skaters and I enjoyed watching them. While living in Monterey,  I also enjoyed watching my cousin, doing her routines during her ice-skating class. We even skated together (in roller skates) in the patio of my house and I remember that I tried to imitate, in roller skates, everything she was doing in her ice-skating class.”

At age ten,  he too was enrolled in the ice-skating class. Soon, more cousins in his large family were also enrolled. “At the time when I started to skate there were four ice-skating rings in Monterey." he says "ice-skating was very popular. I was surrounded by ice-skaters, which was wonderful, because we all went together to practice extra hours in the public rings and we helped each other. All the ice-skaters of Monterey were, at that time, like a big family.” 

His passion for the sport and all the extra hours of training paid off.  By l999 Jacobo was participating in international ice-skating championships in the United States and in The North American Challenge Skate, a competence held in Mexico, Canada and the United States. In fact, he got so masterful in the sport that he began winning medals and  represented Mexico in the  Junior Grand Prix in Mexico and Montreal becoming the National winner in Mexico.

J. M. “Ice skating is a sport which requires dedication, a lot of concentration and  preparation.  I train and train until I could do my routines even with closed eyes.

C.W.B. What is a “routine”?

J.M. “A “routine” in ice skating is the name given to the elements which are included in each skating level. Ice-skating has many levels: Basic, Pre-preliminar, Preliminar, Intermediate I, Intermediate II, Novices, and advanced I and II. This are the levels we have in Mexico, which are a little different than the Levels in the United States."

“A “Basic routine” for example, includes: to spin in one foot and to spin using two feet. A jump of half spin, you get the idea. As you advance, each “routine” gets more  difficult. For example when you start, when you spin you may do half spins, or complete spins, but as you advance you go to “triplets,” and “double axle.” Routines that one learns as you advance in your career as Ice-skater.

“Ice-skating is a very difficult sport because we are not using our own feet to move. We are on skates sliding over two sharp blades.  We are also moving on ice which is very slippery so if the ice is not level a little lump or dirt may cause you to fall. Professional skaters must learn to do all their  “routines” well and, at the same time, to be very careful.”

From 2005-2010, Jacobo ice-skated in several shows working with a European Company in Europe and participated in  Stars  teaming with Stars, an ice-skating show in Holland.  Upon his return to America, he started working with Disney on ice in Princess Classics. To date, he had skated in different Disney's shows and visited 35 countries. Talking about  “DARE TO DREAM” he says:

J.M.  “It is an spectacle which combines the Classical princesses with the the modern ones, the princesses of Disney: Triana and Rapunzel and a princess from a classic fairy tale, Cinderella. The show presents the stories of these three princesses who dared to dream and must face many adventures in the process of chasing their dreams.

Disney on Ice 1 I believe that the reason we have three different stories is to allow the people in the audience to identify with the characters in the show.

One of the stories is the one of Princess Tiana, (pictured in the left) one of the princesses of  Disney, whose story is based in "The Princess and the frog."  Tiana's dream is to open her own restaurant. In the process of achieving her dream, she goes through a series of adventures including meeting a frog.  The story is great becase at the end there is a wonderful surprise for her.”

“Another of the stories is the one of the Princess Rapunzel, another Disney’s princess, whose dream is to be able  leave the tower where she had been imprisoned  for years, and go out and explore the world. She is also curious. She  wants to learn the reason why there are beautiful multi-colored lights lit on her birthday every year. (She does not know their purpose is to  try to find the missing princess, who is she."

“And then there is the story of Cinderella, who every body knows.  The Classical princess looking for "Prince Charming" and love.”

“As you can see, these are three different dreams, but if one analyzes them many people, in today’s world can easily identify with them. There are many people like Cenicienta who are looking for love, or open their own business or get out of their rut, and see the world."

Disney on Ice 2 “The stories are told, in part, by the famous Disney’s characters: Mickey, Minnie Goofy and Donald.”

"Different in this show, is that unlike other Disney on ice  shows that present several short segments from different stories this one tells the thee stories of  three princesses complete."

"Rapunzel (pictures left) in this show even has an aerial number where she does acrobatics in the air. and in Cinderella the audience not only sees the castle, but also her magic carriage. (pictured at the end) It is a beautiful espectacle. For the audience it would be like watching three beautiful movies in a single show.’

C.W.B. How did you get to skate in “DARE TO DREAM?

J.M.  “Last Summer, when I was skating in Ecuador with Disney on Ice, I was asked to join  the cast of “DARE TO DREAM” in Mexico City. I remembered that  five years ago I had applied for a job with Disney when I was still living in Monterey, this was before I graduated from the University (he is an accountant) and went to skate  in Europe. Last Summer, after all these years touring, I returned to Mexico and Monterey but this time I was no longer dreaming of becoming an ice skater, I was skating with Disney on Ice in DARE TO DREAM, one of his most beautiful shows in my opinion."

C.W.B. Do you have something to add?

J.M. "I would like to tell the public that this is a show for the whole family and that like most Disney’s stories it has a message which is: Dare to dream, but  if you want to make your dreams come true, you need to work very hard."

 Disney on Ice 3

Cinderella in her Chariot

 DISNEY’S ON ICE “DARE TO DREAM” will be presented at HP Pavilion in S.J. from February 20 to 24 and in ORACLE ARENA in Oakland from February 27 to March 3.  For tickets call 1-800-745-3000 or go online to disneyonice.com