Skating with Disney has been a life-changing experience for Marsean Oyler.
“You get to experience so many things that people can only ever dream of! It’s a rare opportunity offered to only a few people and I’m incredibly fortunate to be in such a wonderful production with such a talented cast and crew,” said the 20-year-old Knoxville, Tenn., native who joined the “Disney One Ice: 100 Years of Magic” tour in August of 2013.
“Disney is something you watch as a child and it draws you into a world of fantasy where anything is possible. As an adult you are able to see it at a deeper level and make more connections with characters who are sometimes more complex than they appear.”
Presented by Feld Entertainment, 100 Years of Magic’s 46 skaters highlight 65 of Disney’s most unforgettable characters including Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck from 18 beloved movies like “The Lion King,” “Mulan,” and Disney/Pixar’s “Finding Nemo.”
To date, it has entertained more than 135 million guests worldwide with its colorful costumes, dizzying choreography and well-known Disney songs.
“I want to take the audience on a journey back to when they were children,” said Oyler, who skates in various sections of the show including as one of Mickey Mouse’s band members and an African in the “It’s A Small World” production. “I want to make them feel nostalgia for their childhood when they watched Disney growing up and believed that when you wished upon a star, your dreams came true.”
Oyler always had an affinity for ice skating. His love for the sport grew after a friend persuaded him to join him at an ice skating workshop.
“I started at a two-week camp just to put my foot in the water. I almost declined my friend’s invitation because it started at 11 o’clock on a Saturday morning and my bed was beckoning me not to leave; but I mustered up enough strength and got up. Awaiting me and the new group of skaters at the rink was Adam Blake,” he said.
Figure skating phenom Adam Blake was a finalist in the young artist showcase in 2010 and went on to win the prestigious competition in 2011. He has an uncanny ability to take figure skating choreography to higher ground by combining various dance styles including jazz, modern swing, hip-hop, and popping and locking, with an emotional story with edge.
Blake saw something special in Oyler and became his coach.
“Adam coached me for my first year of skating, arguably at the most crucial time for anyone,” Oyler recalled. “He was and continues to be a positive and encouraging role model and it wasn’t for him, I’m not sure I would be where I am today. First and foremost he taught me that skating is all about your attitude. Have a bad one, and your performance will suffer. Have a good one and you’ll find success. He also taught me to have an open mind while skating: Not only with coaching style, but with maneuvers.”
Oyler took Blake’s sage advice and applied it to every aspect of his skating career.
When he learned that “100 Years of Magic” was seeking skaters, Oyler knew this was the opportunity he was looking for. He immediately contacted Blake to see how he could become a part of the magical world that is Disney.
“Disney means a lifetime of entertainment meant to be enjoyed by the whole family. I contacted Adam when I heard that a program that does live auditions for various skating companies and decided to see where it would possibly take me,” Oyler said.
It led him to the “100 Years of Magic” tour…skating alongside his coach, mentor and friend, Blake who is a line captain in the show portraying various characters in the show including Prince Eric.
“I have skated with Adam in productions put on by our rink, but I never dreamed that I would end up skating alongside him in front of tens of thousands of people! It’s wonderful. He was a major influence in my skating career and still continues to be a strong leader and show guru for not only me, but to the entire cast of “100 years of Magic.” He is incredibly talented and has a passion for show biz that is not commonly seen.
“I get to skate and portray characters that influenced me as a child in the best way possible.There’s nothing like carving up the ice and feeling the wind rushing against your face,”Oyler continued. “It’s one of the ultimate freedoms. One very few of us are privileged enough to enjoy.”
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