Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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Skaters live the fairy tale life on and off the ice

James and Vicky Black live as husband and wife. They work as Prince Charming and Cinderella.

James plays Prince Charming in Disney On Ice's new show Dare to Dream, coming to the Tampa Bay Times Forum through Sunday. Vicky plays Cinderella.

For better or worse, it's a real life fairy tale come true.

The skaters met as teenagers at training events and competitions in the United Kingdom, where he's from England and she's from Ireland. They went to every Disney On Ice show that came to town, wishing upon a star that some day that could be them.

Both went on to pursue competitive careers but reconnected after she joined Feld Entertainment's Disney on Ice in 2003. James eventually followed and, in 2006, the pair started skating as Cinderella and Prince Charming. They married the next year, in a wedding that surprisingly had nothing do with Disney.

The couple spend all but four to six weeks a year on the road, traveling to cities worldwide. To them, it's a magical lifestyle not many people get to experience.

Dare to Dream combines elements of the Disney movies Tangled, Princess and the Frog and Cinderella. It caters to little princes as much as princesses. In an interview between shows, the Blacks spoke with tbt* about their lives on the ice and off.

What would happen if one of you got injured?

Vicky: If it was something where one of us couldn't come back to the road, I think we'd get off the road. I can't really see us being apart like that for the long term.

If you fall or make a big mistake on ice, how do you deal with it afterward? Do you ever argue about who's to blame?

James: No, we just get up and carry on. It's slippery out there and every once in a while people fall down. It's never anyone's fault.

Vicky: Skating together as a team and as husband and wife, we have to remember that we're out there to do our best. Yes, you're husband and wife, but you can't bring that into it. If something happens we talk about it and say what can we do differently so it's better for the next show. It's live entertainment and things happen. You can't be perfect every show.

It is hard to live and work together? Isn't that a lot of togetherness?

James: There is a lot of togetherness, but it's what we know and what we've become used to. We live, work, socialize, travel together. We get along very well, and our homes are on the road.

James, do you act like Prince Charming off the ice?

I would like to think so. Prince Charming is a very relaxed, calm, pleasant guy, and I would like to consider myself that way.

What about you, Vicky. Do you act like a princess?

Well, I always have a great pair of shoes. And I really love to clean. But I don't think of myself as a diva princess who expects everything.

Do you ever visit Disney World or Disneyland?

Vicky: Every time we're in California or Florida we make sure to take a trip there. We're like big kids. We love to go and see the characters we play on ice. I love the castle. We like to think there's a little bit of us there.

What's your idea of happily ever after?

Vicky: We're getting to live this dream and that's our happily ever after right now. In years down the road we would love a family and to settle down somewhere and live in a house — what a concept! We just want to be together and the fact that we can be together and doing what we love, that's happily ever after.

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