Love is On the Ice at Disney’s ‘World of Enchantment’

True Love Behind Portrayal of Fairy Tale Couple

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Bertalan Zakany and Agota Zakany-Szabo are the real-life couple who play Ariel and Eric from 'The Little Mermaid' in Field Entertainment's production of Disney on Ice 'World of Enchantment,' at Capital One Arena Feb. 14-18. Photo: Field Entertainment/MSL

Disney on Ice’s ‘World of Enchantment’ opens on Valentine’s Day at Capitol One Arena, and skaters Bertalan Zakany and Agota Zakany-Szabo will bring more than one love story to life.

That’s because the two Hungarian skaters, who have been with the company for almost nine years, have been married for nearly eight of them.

Bertalan and Agota were born in the same hospital and grew up together, beginning to skate when they were 9 and 7 years old. They have some impressive accolades: Zakany-Szabo has placed second or third in every Hungarian Championship between 2004-2008; Zakany was Hungarian Champion in 2002 and placed second every year afterward until 2006.

Despite their impressive skating resumes, neither skated pairs until they came to Disney on Ice. Bertalan skated for a year with an experienced partner who taught him the ropes in his first year (a period he calls ‘challenging’) before skating with Agota, now his wife, in their second year. She said their relationship made the learning process a little nicer. “Obviously, we trust each other and I’m very safe if we’re trying new things,” she said.

The two play Ariel and Prince Eric from Disney’s ‘Little Mermaid’ in the show, one of four stories brought to life in the production, together with “Frozen,’ ‘Cars’ and ‘Toy Story.’ Zakany-Szabo says that their relationship makes it easier to bring the fairy-tale romance to life.  “It’s a love story, and it’s easy to put it on the ice because we love each other,” she said.

Agota Zakany-Szabo, who plays Ariel, placed second or third in Hungarian Junior Championships from 2004-2008. Image: Field Entertainment/MSL
Bartalan Zakany, who plays Eric, is the 2002 Hungarian National Champion Figure Skater. Image: Field Entertainment/MSL

Though the two acknowledge that they had to learn to separate their work life and ‘real’ lives, they say that living and working together has worked out well. “In the building you’re with your co-workers,” said Zakany-Szabo. Still, many of their routines involve the other; both say they put on their left skate first, and as part of their regular routine, blow one another a kiss before the get on the ice.

Their favorite memories on the ice? “Jordy Benson, the voice of Ariel [in the Disney film] came to watch the show. We got to do a meet and greet with her –that’s one of my favorite moments with the company,” said Zakany-Szabo.

Zakany’s favorite on-ice memory ties performance to friends, family and home. The company performed in Budapest. “All my family and friends came to the show to see us skate,” he said. “We almost had 200 friends at that performance.”

The two have purchased a home in Florida but say they haven’t seen much of it yet. They’re looking forward to getting some furniture and settling in a bit. They also have more long-term plans of passing their knowledge on to skaters as coaches of either competition or performance skaters.

See Ariel and Prince Eric and all their Disney friends in the Field Entertainment production of Disney on Ice ‘World of Enchantment’ at Capital One Arena (601 F St. NW) from Feb. 14th to 18th. The show premiers Thursday evening with multiple showtimes Friday through Monday. Get tickets online today.