SALT LAKE CITY — Ariel is just one of the 10 courageous princesses coming to Salt Lake City with the 2017 Disney on Ice "Dream Big!" show Nov. 16-19, but she's the only one who is currently portrayed by a former Utah resident.
Victoria "Vika" Tugolukova, who plays Ariel in the new show, has skated with Disney on Ice for five years after auditioning for the troupe on the recommendation of her coach. Although born in Russia, Tugolukova came to Utah with her family when she was 10, training at the Oval Skating Club and competing in ice skating competitions until her junior year at West High School.
Now, back in her adopted state, she's looking forward to seeing friendly faces in the audience and catching up with family. This year is the first time she's been back to Salt Lake City since joining Disney on Ice.
"I'm very excited. It'll be fun to show them what I've been doing," Tugolukova said in an interview.
The athlete has been in ice skates since she was 3, but performing with Disney on Ice means she gets to do some extra moves not always found in the world of ice skating. In "The Little Mermaid" sequences, Tugolukova's routine includes acrobatics and special effects with bubbles and glowing fish.
In addition to the effects, Disney on Ice also allows Tugolukova to share her talents with people all over the world. So far, she has traveled to 40 countries in five continents.
"I think I like Vietnam, Thailand and Southeast Asia the best," she shared. "Their audience reactions to the singing and the effects are so much fun to watch. It's such a rare experience for them."
While Tugolukova loves performing and skating every day, her schedule doesn't leave much time for life outside the rink.
"I try to keep a balance," she said. That balance includes a sticking to a healthy diet and regular stretching between shows. However, when she's back on the ice, her stresses fall away.
"My job allows me to escape the realities and it's lovely to connect with everybody," she said.
Working hard for a cause that she cares about is something Tugolukova has in common with her character, Ariel. 10 princesses are featured in Disney on Ice "Dream Big!," as Tinker Bell takes the audience on a journey of Disney tales through a sprinkling of pixie dust. The classic princesses Cinderella, Aurora and Snow White along with Ariel, Belle, Rapunzel, Anna, Elsa, Tiana and Jasmine all appear in the familiar stories.
"There's definitely something for everyone," Tugolukova said.
If you go:
What: Disney on Ice "Dream Big!"
Where: Vivint Arena, 301 S. Temple
When: Nov. 16-17, 7 p.m., Nov. 18, 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m., Nov. 19, 1 and 5 p.m.
Tickets: $15, with an opening night discount tickets of $10 for select seating.
Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with more than 40 years' experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.