Ice dancer explores her feisty side as Princess Tiana in ‘Disney On Ice’


Kassy Kovakou is proud to be portraying the sassy Princess Tiana from the “Princess and the Frog” in the recent installment of Disney On Ice Presents Princesses & Heroes.
“Tiana is the first African American Disney princess. Including her in this show shows that Disney is stepping out of its comfort zone,” explained Kovakou who resides in San Diego. “I watched the movie many times and I tried to embody Tiana’s jazzy character. This is an amazing show.”
In this Feld Entertainment Produced ice show, which ran at the Consol Energy Center from March 4-8. Audiences go where imaginations soar and anything can happen if they just believe. Tiana celebrates her ambitions of owning a restaurant down in New Orleans; Jasmine discovers a new world with Aladdin’ Snow White finds her one true love, Ariel’s dreams are locked from under the sea, and in one magical moment, Prince Eric breaks Ursula’s spell to claim his true love.  It was presented by Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt.
In a race against time to rescue Sleeping Beauty’s Aurora, Prince Philip defeats the evil Maleficent as she transforms into a spectacular photo-worthy fire-breathing dragon. Rapunzel is able to let down her hair and escape from the tower to see the lights; Cinderella, in a beautiful gold coach and Belle both realize their deepest wishes. Disney’s blockbuster film, “Frozen” was a featured part of the show as royal sisters Anna and Elsa navigate the winter wonderland they live in and find out the true meaning of love.
“This is such a magical and entertaining show,” explained Kovakou who has been a part of Disney On Ice for two years. “It’s really rewarding to see the little kids waving at us and losing their minds. We love doing this.”
Creative Director Jerry Bilik sought a cast whose talent would make the stories relatable and inspiring.
“To me, the most exciting part of the show is really the cast, ”Bilik said. “These exceptional performers help translate the stories to the ice magnificently.  Their portrayal of the princesses and princes sweeps the audience away because they capture the essence of the characters’ hopes, dreams and heroism.”
Kovakou is glad that her first show with Feld Entertainment is Princesses and Heroes.
“This is an amazing journey,” she said.
Kovakou began skating at the tender age of two after going to the San Diego Ice Arena with her older sister.
“My older sister was a skater and since I was in the rink all the time, I wanted to skate too,” she said. “I actually got started with my first private lessons at the age of two.”
Under the watchful eye of coaches Suzy Semanick, Christine Fowler-Bender and Jon Nichols, Kovakou was soon winning competitions including the ISI World Championships, Tiny Tots Division at age four. She is also a four-time USFS National Championships Competitor and USFSA Gold Medal-Moves in the Field-USFSA Junior Free dance winner.
“I can skate better than I can walk,” she said with a laugh.
When Kovakou isn’t wowing audiences with her athleticism on the ice, she enjoys listening to rock music, spending time with friends and exploring the myriad of cities she has the pleasure of performing in. Before joining Princesses & Heroes, she was in the process of completing her Art History and Dance degree at the University of California San Diego.
She is also an avid painter as well as a professional ramp and print model. She has modeled for the likes of Macy’s and Banana Republic and fashion designers Sue Wong and Lizz Russell.
For now, though, she is content living her skating dream with Disney On Ice.
“Skating takes a lot perseverance,” Kovakou said. “If it’s your dream you have to go after it and not let any small fail or discouragement stop you.”
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