Kids and kids at heart who “Dare to Dream” of seeing the magic of Disney live and in person will see those dreams come true at EngergySolutions Arena.
Disney on Ice: Dare to Dream, starting March 6, will feature scenes from The Princess and the Frog, Tangled and Cinderella, along with characters like Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy. Fans of other princesses are in luck, too. Jasmine, Ariel and the whole gang will be there.
Out of all the princesses, skater Vicky Black is partial to Cinderella. And it's not just because she plays the princess in the show, alongside her real life and on-ice Prince Charming. “I have played the role of Cinderella for almost seven years,” she says. “I like that classic fairy tale, rags-to-riches story, and I just love to get on the ice everyday and bring that story to life.”
Black began skating when she was 7 years old, when a neighbor invited her to her local ice rink in Bangor, Northern Ireland. She went on to become British Junior Champion, Northern Ireland Junior Champion and represented GBR in international competition.
We chatted with Vicky about her work with Disney on Ice, what fans can expect from Dare to Dream and what life is like on the road.
First, tell us a little about working with your husband James.
“I feel very fortunate to do a job that I love so much and get to do it with the person I trust so much and adore. We do pairs in the show, and you have to trust your partner because he's lifting you over his head. I feel very lucky I get to do that with him everyday.”
You also play a flapper in The Princess and the Frog portion. How do you approach these roles?
“Whether it's being part of an ensemble or being Cinderella, it's just getting into the character . . . For the flapper, you just feel the vibe and get up there, and everyone's having a good time, and there's jazzy music, and you just picture yourself on the street in New Orleans. With Cinderella, it's so dreamy . . . I love to find those little differences and really get into each character.”
Have you performed in SLC before?
“I've played Salt Lake City twice before. I really enjoy it there. I love the mountains and I love to go skiing, and there's some great restaurants. We love to get out there and explore the cities we're in every week, and we're certainly excited to come back to Salt Lake.”
Any restaurant you really love in SLC?
"The Oyster Bar! I loved it there, and we're going to have to take a trip back."
What's life like on the road for Disney on Ice?
“It doesn't feel like work everyday. When we get up, we don't have that Monday morning dread some people have when they go to their jobs. It's just great to go and get to dress up as a Disney princess and skate—the kids in the audience just love it, and they're so sucked into your story.”
Tell me a bit more about the interaction with the kids.
“During the show, there's a few moments when kids get to be right in the action. Prince Charming and the duke actually try the slipper on a couple girls in the audience . . . There's another moment in the show, where a child helps Repunzel and Flynn lift a lantern into the sky. That's a really special moment that often brings people to tears. And when we skate, we like to look out and make that connection with people sitting and watching. I always try to look for the little blue dresses out there—the girls dressed up as Cinderella—it's really special to see them light up when you give a little wave.
What's the most challenging part?
“It can be physically demanding. We have up to 12 shows a week, and we're moving from city to city living out of two suit cases . . . But as far as I'm concerned, the pros outweigh the cons.”
We also hear you're really into yoga and Pilates. Does that help with the physical challenge?
“I really wish I found yoga when I was competing. I initially started doing yoga just to gain flexibility and a little more strength, and it turned into a real mind workout for me. It's great for what skating does to your body, but I found myself much calmer and much more collected, too.”
What are some of your favorite places you've toured?
“I loved Australia—we were there twice now. Everyone thinks Sydney is going to be the biggest thing in Australia, but personally, I loved Melbourne. I also loved Thailand. When we were there, we did a lot of sightseeing and exploring. And one of my favorite places is Santarini, Greece. It's probably the most beautiful place I've ever been. And I love the diversity in the States. You can go from Florida where it's sunny and humid to California where it's a whole different kind of vibe, and you've got the mountains in Salt Lake City, and if you make your way northwest, it's rainy and so beautiful.”
How do you gear up for a show?
“I like to do a little yoga to warm up, so I get on my mat and stretch it out. Then we put our makeup together—there's a whole group of us in one makeup room and that's a fun bonding time. We generally have note from our performance director who will watch the show everyday and give us feedback on things we're doing great and not so great . . . And right before the show, there's some superstitions everyone has. My left skate will always go on before my right skate. If I put my right skate on first, it has to come off.”
With all these princesses, is this still a show boys would enjoy?
“I see so many boys in the audience having so much fun, and I've heard from so many moms who have said 'I took my boys and I didn't think they'd love it, and they loved it.' Yes, it's the princesses' stories, but in those princess stories, every princess has a prince. Plus there's some favorite characters like Flynn, Maximus the Horse, Louis the gator and Ray the firefly.”
Disney on Ice: Dare to Dream plays at EnergySolutions Arena from March 6–10. Click here for tickets and more info.