With this week’s Disney on Ice shows in Salt Lake City, Jacob Marsh and his fellow performers are inviting audiences to dream big and discover their inner heroes.
“Dare to Dream” brings five Disney princesses — complete with ice skates — to Vivint Smart Home Arena this week. Shows begin today, March 7, and continue through Sunday, March 10, at the arena, 301 W. South Temple.
“‘Dare to Dream’ is about discovering your inner hero,” said Marsh, a Canadian native. “It’s all about the princes and princesses looking inside themselves and taking their inner hero out.”
Marsh portrays Flynn Rider, the roguish prince who wins the heart and hair of Rapunzel in the Disney animated film “Tangled.” The role allows Marsh to do more than just skating — he gets to complete an aerial silk act 30 feet above the ice.
Disney on Ice’s “Dare to Dream” is the latest offering from Feld Entertainment’s stable of “live touring family entertainment experiences.” Organizers say the show is notable for being the first time the Disney princess Moana ventures out onto the ice in a live production.
The first half of the production includes skating segments by characters from the Disney films “Coco,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Cinderella” and “Tangled,” according to Marsh. The second half is dedicated to scenes from “Frozen” and “Moana.”
“Those are the two newest, most desired of the princesses,” Marsh said of the latter two. “We see a lot of Elsas and Moanas in the audience, among the little ones. Belle is always famous, too. We see a lot of little girls in Belle dresses.”
While Marsh says Disney on Ice’s “Dare to Dream” is certainly intended as entertainment, there are also some important lessons to be learned from the stories of the characters. For example, in “Tangled,” Rapunzel finds herself outside of her normal routine, trying something new.
“All because of taking one step out of her comfort zone,” Marsh said. “Moana was the same way. She stepped way outside her comfort zone.”
The 26-year-old Marsh is from London, Ontario, in Canada. He started skating at age 3, and although he was drawn to hockey for a time it simply wasn’t meant to be.
“I did play hockey for awhile,” he says, “until it got competitive and I hadn’t gotten big enough for contact hockey.”
He continued with his skating, but has also pursued snow skiing and sailing. He’s now a coach for all three sports.
Marsh said some Disney skaters will come in, skate for a year or two and see the world, then get out. Others stay longer.
“This is my eighth year,” he said. “I think seven years is the average, but I have one friend who’s still skating and he’s over 50 now. It can be done if you take care of your body.”
Marsh spends 10 months of the year on tour with Disney on Ice. The vagabond lifestyle doesn’t afford much opportunity to amass material goods.
“You’re living out of two suitcases,” he said. “I wouldn’t call it minimalist, but you are limited to 100 pounds.”
Marsh figures he’ll skate one more year, then pursue other goals. He’s been working on his photography on the side, and has amassed a fairly impressive portfolio.
Skating for Disney on Ice has been a “really cool job,” according to Marsh, and he loves performing for children and families of all ages. He also gets a kick out of the different different reactions in different cultures.
“In Brazil, they love Disney and these ice shows,” Marsh said. “When Mickey and Minnie come out, the audiences go crazy — you can hardly hear the (musical) track. Whereas, in Japan they’re enthusiastic but you get a clap at the end of the performance. Until everything is done, they don’t want to interrupt.”