This week, pro ice skater Adam Blake takes the ice in Utah for the first time.
The Knoxville, Tennessee native started skating when he was only 3 years old. He passed his Ice Skating Institute Freestyle tests, and he received the Robert Unger Sportsmanship Award and the Robert Unger Award for Professionalism and Dedication.
Seeing Blake on the ice on his own would be a show in itself, but this week at the EnergySolutions Arena, he'll be joined by other many professional ice skaters, including Mickey, Minnie and Goofy.
"The wonderful thing about this show is just how timeless everything is," says Blake, who plays both Shan Yu from Mulan and the General of the Army Men from Toy Story in the show. "The characters really come to life."
We chatted with Blake recently to get his take on the show and what spectators can expect (warning: potential spoilers ahead):
You play Shan Yu and the General from Toy Story, but which character do you like best?
"Shan Yu, definitely. Shan Yu is my favorite, because it's always fun playing a bad guy. It's just a great time to be out there and be something that you're completely not."
Any key scenes with that character on the ice you can mention?
"There's an epic battle with Mulan and the Chinese army against Shan Yu and the Hun army. It's an amazing battle scene that takes place on the ice, which becomes a giant snowy mountain in China. We actually make it snow, and the Huns climb over the Great Wall of China. It's a great scene, and just beautifully transferred to the ice."
Any other big scenes with you to look forward to?
"The other scene you'll see me in is the Toy Story segment where I lead out the green Army Men in a routine choreographed by Emmy Award-winning choreographer Sarah Kawahara. And when the show was created, they actually had a drill sergeant come in and teach the basics on gun work."
And how did you get involved in all of this?
"I started figure skating when I was about 7 years old after I had a little run in at a hockey game—one of the other kids knocked me down—and my dad said you're not going to play hockey until you learn how to figure skate. So, I started figure skating, and then I saw my first Disney on Ice show at 10 years old and fell in love with the show. After that, I skated all the way through high school, and at age 18 I sent in an audition video and was hired for High School Musical: The Ice Tour for two years. Then, I transferred over to this show, 100 Years of Magic."
Tell us a bit about that magic.
"There's something for everybody, from the classic stories of Snow White and Pinocchio up to the modern stories like The Incredibles and Finding Nemo."
So, the show is evolving all the time?
"Yes. We're always trying to find ways to revamp the show and make everything new and fun at the same time, so even though the show's been running for an amazing 13 years, it still looks as fresh and new as if it opened yesterday."
What has your interaction with kids at the shows been like?
"We have meet and greets, where the kids get to meet their favorite princess or Toy Story character, like Buzz, Woodie or Jessie. And throughout the show, while we're skating, we can see the kids' reactions. Some of them can't even stay in their seats."
Will parents like it, too?
"Parents will love it. It's because everyone, no matter how old they are, has a kid inside. I thought I lost it one time, but when you come to the show and see Mickey, Minnie and Goofy as they run out at the beginning of the show, you can't help but be transported to another world—a world that has been two dimensional on your TV set and is now in 3D where the characters come to life."
And how are you gettng from city to city?
"By bus or by plane. We're usually in a city for about a week at a time. It's great—the friends you make on the road. On tour, you have your small family of 47 skaters from all over the world, and they become your closest friends. It's just a wonderful experience.
How long are you going to be on tour?
"We're going to be on the road until about April."
This week, that road leads to the EnergySolutions Arena. Catch Disney on Ice: 100 Years of Magic, starting Nov. 14.