Colwood figure skater Chanelle Biggan has sidelined college plans for at least a year for a chance to become a princess.
Enrolled for Camosun College in the fall, Biggan, 19, put her post-secondary education on hold when she was accepted as a skater on the Disney On Ice tour.
While making it on the Disney tour and becoming a professional ice skater is a difficult feat, it’s something the members of the Juan de Fuca Skating Club have done before.
In 2009 two of its skaters landed gigs with Disney and two of its current coaches have also skated for Disney on Ice.
Biggan’s coach, Annaliese Fargiarini, skated for Disney from 1994 to 2001.
“I loved the travelling and performing,” Fargiarini said who performed across North America, Southeast Asia, Australia and South America.
“Performance-wise I learned a lot. I learned to project my emotion and performance to the whole audience.”
As a coach Fargiarini will miss Biggan, but said she is happy for her student.
“I am so proud of her. She is going to love it. Chanelle is a performer,” Fargiarini said. “She is technically consistent and well balanced.”
While Biggan knew other skaters who’d skated for Disney, she never thought she’d ever tryout.
The 2010 Miss Teen Southern Vancouver Island and national pageant competitor submitted an application on a whim and at the last minute. Included was a video of Biggan skating and showing off all her best jumps and spins.
“Chanelle is very flexible, she can do things other skaters can’t,” Fargiarini said. “She can hike her leg up over her head.”
Disney hired Biggan as an ensemble dancer with the possibility of graduating to the understudy position of Princess Charlotte from the film, The Princess and the Frog.
Biggan has figure skated for 14 years, five to seven days a week, so the rigorous schedule with Disney doesn’t scare her. She has competed in provincial and national figure skating championships.
The teen will be performing with the Disney on Ice Dare to Dream show, touring across the U.S., including Florida, Texas, New York and Pennsylvania.
She is scheduled to start a five-week rehearsal period in Florida next week, and then tour for the next 10 months.
“I am so excited for this,” Biggan said. “I love the freedom on the ice.”