Gabriel Jacobo Montemayor had dreamed of traveling around the world as a professional skater.
Hundreds of workouts -- and several Mexican national titles -- turned his dream into reality.
Montemayor is now a skater on Disney On Ice's 'Dare to Dream' tour. The extravaganza that brings to life the romance and adventure from Disney classics such as 'Cinderella,' 'The Princess and the Frog' and 'Tangled,' opens in Fresno today (Jan. 30) at Selland Arena.
"One of shows in Fresno, on Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. will be in Spanish," said Montemayor by telephone last week while the show was in Las Vegas.
"I'm really looking forward to the show, and going to all these places. I've never been to Fresno before. Last year, I had the opportunity to go to Sacramento. Honestly, I really like California."
After 'Dream to Dare' opened its 9-month tour last July in México City, the show traveled to Monterrey, México before heading to the U.S. and Canada.
The show stops for five days in Fresno before heading to the Stockton Arena (Feb. 7-10); the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento (Feb. 13-18; the HP Pavilion in San José (Feb. 20-24); and the Oakland Arena (Feb. 27-March 3).
Montemayor explained he earned his skater's wings in competition on the pro circuit, winning two Mexican national titles, while competing in the USA and Canada's North American Challenge from 1995 to 2003. He also competed in the Junior Grand Prix in México and Europe.
A 2005 audition with Disney On Ice led to numerous appearances in the productions 'Princesses and Heroes' the following year and "The Treasure Trove' in 2011 before the current 'Dare to Dream!' tour, where Montemayor is the only Mexican skater.
"I've been to 35 countries because of skating," said Montemayor, who for seven months has lived out of a suitcase with his two pairs of Freesport skates in tow.
"I started skating at 10 years old. It was hard leaving Monterrey, but I went to Zagreb, Croatia for the Junior Grand Prix. And I did three other Grand Prix in México City and one in Montreal. I have basically skated from Spain to Portugal and Europe to Russia. I skated for about five years in Europe, and that was very exciting."
Last year's stop to his hometown of Monterrey proved very special because he performed for his mother, Juany Montemayor.
"My mother, Juany, and my aunts came to see me. And all my friends came to watch. It was great to perform in my home town ... there was a lot of interviews," he said.
Gabriel Montemayor believes that skating not only helped him accomplish his goal of becoming a professional, but also left him with cherished experiences.
"I was in London, and I was watching a movie in one of my friend's room, she's Japanese. And another friend, she's Russian. She lives there," he said, "I thought never in a million years I would be in London watching a move with a Japanese and a Russian girl. It was something I couldn't imagine, I guess. I always wanted to travel, but I never thought it was going to be real."
Competitive skating appears to be out for Montemayor; entertainment is the apparent good fit. After a long rest in Monterrey, he expects to take part in future entertainment prospects after the Disney On Ice tour ends this summer.
"I like being here. If I didn't like it, I would be doing something else, figure skating is one of the things that I enjoy, but this is very nice. You actually get paid for doing something you really enjoy doing," he said.
For tickets, visit Ticketmaster or call the box office of the various centers.
Good numbers are expected for the Spanish-language show.
"We are always evaluating various opportunities and listening to our customer’s feedback in regards to our shows in the market. Given the growing Hispanic community in the area in recent years, it made sense at this time to schedule a Spanish-language performance to meet the needs of these Disney On Ice fans," said Samya France, a spokesperson for the show.
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