The ‘Kingdom of SDIA’ raised its very own princess …
Kassy Kova as Princess Tiana.
San Diego Ice Arena has helped to develop many nationally‐competitive and professional skaters over the years. Among these national competitors and professional performers is Kassy Kova who is currently performing in the principal role of Princess Tiana for two Disney on Ice productions this year; Princesses and Heroes and Dare to Dream. Kassy is completing her third year as a principal skater with Disney on Ice. See Kassy as Princess Tiana in Dare to Dream, filmed this year:
Kassy Kova began her training at San Diego Ice Arena at the tender age of four, after moving to SDIA from another local rink where she first stepped onto the ice just barely after her second birthday! She began ice skating following in the footsteps of older sister Joséphine Logbotché, whose passion was synchronized skating. Josie competed with SDIA’s Team del Sol, starting in their Juvenile division, and loving every minute of it, all the way through her crowning year with Senior Team del Sol in 2005. At age 17, with four national medals and quite a number of Sectional medals under her belt, older sister Josie moved on to other interests, and younger sister Kassy decided to stay on the ice.
Like her older sister, Kassy too, got her start in synchronized skating. In fact, Kassy enjoyed a half dozen years in Synchronized Skating, from age four through ten, advancing from the “Tiny Tots” division of Shining Blades, up through its top level team, and ending with a last year on the Team del Sol Pre‐Juvenile team in 2004. She began her Moves in the Field training very young, advancing quickly, earning her Senior Moves in the Field just a few days after she turned 16. She received her MITF training from SDIA coaches, Eileen Young, and head coach, Wendy Smith.
In 2004, Kassy fell ‘head over heels’ in love… with Ice Dancing. She came to a skating exhibition organized by the San Diego Ice Arena, and watched national competitors Ben Westenberger and his graceful partner Allysa Allapach perform their incredible Free Dance. She turned to her mother at the end of their beautiful Free Dance, and said with conviction “That’s what I want to do!”. She decided to put all of her energy and training efforts into ice dancing. Fortunately for her, there were skilled and experienced Ice Dancing coaches at San Diego Ice Arena available to assist her with pursuing her new dream of becoming a nationally‐competitive ice dancer. Kassy first trained in ice dancing with Wendy Smith and was partnered by then‐SDIA ice dancing coach and former national competitor, Paul Kimzey. She mastered the first five levels of compulsory ice dance testing (Preliminary through Silver), and even her first ice dancing Free Dance test with professional partner, Paul Kimzey. All the while she was searching for a partner of her own. In 2005, just a year after Kassy was smitten with Ice Dancing, her dream came true when she found a partner – Justin Ross, another San Diego Ice Arena skater who lived just down the street from her with SDIA in the middle.
Kassy and Justin enjoyed a wonderful seven‐year competitive experience together, trained by some of the best coaches the Southern California region has had to offer; including Olympian Ice Dancer Suzie Semanick, Darlene Gilbert, Christine Fowler‐Binder, Wendy Smith, Bob Pellaton and in later years, Jon Nichols. There has always been so much coaching talent at SDIA to tap into!
Kassy and Justin were very dedicated about their training, which involved several hours each day of lessons with exacting coaches followed by practice, rotating among their coaches, and then off ice and ballroom dance lessons. Wendy Smith took primary responsibility for getting the team through their compulsory dances. Olympian Suzie Semanick and then Christine Fowler‐Binder, were in charge of choreographing and polishing the Free Dance. And Bob Pellaton was their go‐to guy for lifts. Kova and Ross competed together from Juvenile through Junior level, competing nationally four times, with a top result of 7th in the nation in the Intermediate Division. It was very challenging, but they were both dedicated skaters who thrived.
At age 21, Justin was lured by the excitement of traveling as a professional skater, and followed his dream into professional show skating with Disney on Ice, where he skated for two seasons. But, by that time, Kassy was mid‐way through her Bachelor’s Degree, and decided to keep her nose to the grind to complete her BA. A year and a half later, as Kassy was completing her last quarter at UC San Diego, she too decided to see what life is like as a professional show skater. She sent off her application to Disney on Ice, and was thrilled to receive a positive response from Disney’s Casting Director the very next day! In August 2013, with her newly‐minted UCSD diploma under her belt, Kassy set off on a new adventure, having been offered the principal role of Princess Tiana with the Disney on Ice Show, Princesses and Heroes.
Kassy is in love with the life of professional show skater with Disney on Ice; the shows, the costumes, the excited audiences full of children with glowing smiles on their faces. She is also in love with the travel. With Disney on Ice, Kassy has traveled and performed in cities near and far; from San Diego at the Viejas Arena for the hometown crowd (in September 2015), to frequent performances in cities around New York City and Chicago, to Quebec City, Doha, Qatar, and Lima Peru. In early April, Kassy will fly off to Brazil, with a 2 ½ month tour of five Brazilian cities, before heading to Argentina and Chile. Kassy takes time to enjoy each city, with side trips to visit major sites with cultural and historical significance. Disney has taken Kassy to the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, to the Ice Hotel in Quebec, a quiet lane in North Carolina, and to Machu Pichu near Pisco, Peru. Kassy is loving this life full of adventure, and hopes to continue touring, and exploring the world, with Disney on Ice for several years to come.
And all of this amazing life is possible thanks to her years of dedicated training at the San Diego Ice Arena!
So, SDIA skaters… practice hard. You never know what you might achieve if you give it your all!
(Content by Suzan Cioffi)
Kassy Kova, as Princess Tiana, in the Disney on Ice Production “Dare to Dream”, 2016
Kassy Kova, taking it all in at the top of Machu Pichu Mountain (elevation 12,000 ft)
Kassy Kova, pretending to be Lawrence of Arabia, in Qatar
Kassy Kova, in front of the iconic Toronto sign with her friends
Kassy Kova, at the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi
Kassy Kova, exploring a quiet lane in North Carolina
Kassy Kova, hamming it up at The Ice Hotel, Quebec City, Quebec
Kassy Kova, enjoying Miami Beach