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New West-based skater Cole Stanbra takes the stage in Disney on Ice's latest show, Road Trip Adventures.
Even before he was cast in Disney on Ice, Cole Stanbra was well-acquainted with travelling for work. Stanbra skated on cruise ships for 13 years—an experience he affectionately calls “very bizzare”—prior to his role as Jack in Disney on Ice: Road Trip Adventures. It’s an aptly named show, especially considering the experience of the skaters. Every week they travel to a different city, sometimes doing 10 shows in five days (that’s the case in Vancouver: the show runs November 23 to 27, with one show each Wednesday and Thursday, two shows on Friday, and three shows each on Saturday and Sunday).
Stanbra was born in Castlegar, B.C., and trained at Scotia Barn (then called Burnaby 8 rinks) in Burnaby before moving to Ontario to compete at the national and international level. Growing up, he played baseball and hockey, and also participated in competitive swimming and jazz dance, but he says that figure skating has really always had his heart. “I was a very hyperactive child, I loved spinning and turning and jumping—I’d spin around my grandparents’ kitchen,” says Stanbra. “Once I started figure skating, I just became completely obsessed with it.”
He was also obsessed with Disney (hey, what kid isn’t)—particularly Aladdin and The Lion King, though his current role in Disney on Ice is from a more contemporary movie. Stanbra plays Jack, a principal role in the show, and a character you’d recognize as Lin Manuel Miranda in the film Mary Poppins Returns (he’s 2018’s thoughtful tribute to the original Dick Van Dyke character). Even so, the skater says that this is his dream role. “The character is very fun and uplifting—there is a lot of dancing on streetlights and posts—I just love it.” Disney? Making dreams come true? Unheard of!
He now lives in New West, so this week he’s skating on home ice (er, the Pacific Coliseum). And despite a rigourous schedule that requires performing the same show over and over again, Stanbra says he doesn’t get bored. “Each time I do a performance, I get a different energy from the audience which keeps it new and fresh,” says Stanbra. “I feed off the energy, it never gets stale for me.”
Watch Stanbra in Disney on Ice: Road Trip Adventures at the Pacific Coliseum from November 23 to 27. Tickets from $25—get them here.