Cabarrus

Folks warm to ice skater's dream

Jayna Colgin, who lives in Kannapolis, loves to entertain and lives to inspire others to follow their dreams in life.

On Jan. 21, the talented aerial acrobatic performer will team with Extreme Ice Center in Indian Trail to participate in "National Skating Dreams Figure Skating Show," a benefit for ice skater Alex Aiken.

Paul Wylie, the silver medalist in men's figure skating at the 1992 Olympic Games, announced the benefit show. Aiken, who has qualified in the senior men's division for this year's U.S. Figure Skating Nationals, needs money for expenses while he trains full time for the competition.

Colgin, 30, was born in Richmond, Va., and became inspired by circus performance after her grandmother took her to the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

When she was 10, her family moved to Concord, where she auditioned and got the part of a court jester at the Carolina Renaissance Festival in northwest Cabarrus County. She quickly advanced to staging her own shows and continued working at festivals while attending college.

In 2004, she graduated magna cum laude from UNC Greensboro with a bachelor of arts degree in religious studies. Still with a strong desire to perform, she bought a truck and a trailer and took her show on the road full time.

Her career has led her to showcase a variety of talents, such as aerial silk, static and swing trapeze, Roman rings, acrobatics, stilt-walking, juggling and fire eating. She has appeared on television in "The Ellen Degeneres Show" and "America's Got Talent."

She was happy and successful in that career until October 2011, right before she celebrated her 30th birthday, when she was inspired to try something new. That led her to take ice skating lessons.

She got the idea while shopping in a Goodwill store for Halloween items for an upcoming show. She came across a pair of ice skates in perfect condition, selling for $2.50.

What were the chances they'd be her size?

"I was looking to try something new, and the skates fit perfectly," said Colgin.

She later learned from the man at the rink that the skates were actually brand new, and the blades had never been sharpened. She took it as a sign.

She went to an ice skating show in Atlanta and had the skates signed by her skating hero, Olympic skater Johnny Weir. Now she believed the skates were lucky.

She went home, ice skates in hand, and searched the Internet for ice skating rinks, requesting information.

Extreme Ice Center contacted her immediately, and she started taking lessons in December.

Inspired by American juggler Albert Lucas, she got the idea to combine her new love for ice skating with her acrobatic/aerial performance talent.

When Tom Logano, owner of the Extreme Ice business, saw her practicing her juggling routine, he was impressed and asked her to participate in the benefit for Aiken. She agreed immediately.

Colgin said she is excited to be able to help Aiken realize his dreams.

Everyone at the Extreme Ice Center has been "delightful and welcoming," said Colgin.

She plans to continue her lessons. She will perform this year's aerial silk show barefoot, but she has already told Aiken that he has to make Nationals next year, because her goal is to do the show again, but on ice skates.

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