Imagine you have a job you love, a job that involves working hard to perfect your favorite sport, and hearing oohs and aahs as appreciative crowds watch you jump and glide across the ice.
Now imagine you’re doing all this partnered with the person you love. Does it get any better?
“We are very lucky,” said Bonard Muck, who skates as the character Flynn Rider with his princess and real-life wife, Tatjana Zaharjeva, who occasionally soars over Muck’s head in the role of Rapunzel in Disney on Ice’s presentation of “Dream Big.”
“Dream Big” will take the ice for eight shows from Jan. 11 through 15 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township, and families will be able to see their favorite characters from many of Disney’s fairy tales — among them Ariel, Belle, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Tiana, Jasmine, Aurora and Snow White.
Anna and Elsa from the “Frozen” land of Arendelle will make an appearance too, along with their lovable snowman friend, Olaf.
“We have an amazing show,” Zaharjeva said. “We try to show how every princess’ dream comes true.”
She and Muck seem to be living a dream of their own. Put it into fairy-tale language and it might go like this:
Once upon a time, in a far northern land called Canada, a 6-year-old boy tagged along to his sister’s figure skating lessons in the hope that he could improve his skating skills for ice hockey. No one expected young Bonard would enjoy figure skating, with all its “jumping and exhilaration,” so much. But he did.
“I never looked back” to hockey, said Muck, who eventually earned a silver medal for ice dancing at the 1999 Canada Games.
Meanwhile, 3,000 miles and an ocean away in Latvia, a mother enrolled her active daughter in figure skating lessons so she could channel little Tatjana’s high energy. As it turned out, that was a good idea. Perhaps as good as rubbing a magic lamp. Or kissing a frog. Or leaving a glass slipper behind at the ball.
Zaharjeva would grow up to become a national skating champion in Latvia and compete at the World Championships.
In August 2014, when Zaharjeva was portraying Cinderella and Muck was performing as “The Little Mermaid’s” Prince Eric in a Disney on Ice show, the couple married and prepared to skate happily ever after.
Today, they skate together as Rapunzel and Flynn in a new show and, as they perform in city after city, they enjoy bringing the audiences a sample of Disney magic.
The show boasts a multi-tiered waterfall and bubbling special effects in Princess Ariel’s “Under the Sea” number, a dragon for the “Sleeping Beauty” scene and a bustling marketplace for Aladdin and Jasmine.
“The costumes are so amazing,” said Zaharjeva who, as Rapunzel, is noted for wearing an accessory that gives her the appearance of very long hair.
“It’s past my waist,” Zaharjeva said.
“I think it’s almost to your knees and wrapped around your shoulder again,” Muck said as the two passed a telephone back and forth.
From eye-catching costumes to well-choreographed skating to beloved characters, the couple said, the show has something to please people of all ages.
“Bring the whole family,” Zaharjeva said. “Absolutely, it’s for the boys and the girls, for the parents, for the grandparents.”