British Skating News, 2022 and beyond

Sylvia

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Belsornia

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New ice dance team: Layla Karnes and Liam Carr.

She's a British citizen and previously competed in the US, with some good results at lower levels with partners including Jeffrey Chen and Kirill Aksenov, but has been without a partner since 2020. He previously competed in Canada and split from Maia Iannetta last year. I don't know if he has any connection to GB beyond Layla, but he appears to have grown up in fake London.

I think he's too old for juniors, so I assume they will be competing senior, in which case a trip to Euros awaits.
 

litenkyckling

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New ice dance team: Layla Karnes and Liam Carr.

She's a British citizen and previously competed in the US, with some good results at lower levels with partners including Jeffrey Chen and Kirill Aksenov, but has been without a partner since 2020. He previously competed in Canada and split from Maia Iannetta last year. I don't know if he has any connection to GB beyond Layla, but he appears to have grown up in fake London.

I think he's too old for juniors, so I assume they will be competing senior, in which case a trip to Euros awaits.
They'll be up against Phebe and James for that trip
 

Belsornia

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A couple of recent interview:

Mark Hanretty - a lot on Dancing on Ice but he also discusses coaching and choreographing, his move into commentating and even a bit on his competitive career.
Do you have a favourite aspect of coaching and how is it being part of your skaters’ journeys in the sport?

I love choreographing, that’s one of the things that I enjoy a lot. I also really enjoy coaching and making skaters competitively ready. I’m quite competitive myself, and I love to see my skaters winning, but because I’m so busy now with Dancing on Ice and commentary, I’m not around very often to be able to make skaters competition ready because they need year-round tuition. I just tend to help other coaches and help skaters and deal up choreography.
You began your sports career as a figure skater and then switched to ice dancing, do you have any stand-out memories from your competitive sports career and is there anything you miss most about skating competitively?

I wish I had done more competitively. I did the World Championships and European Championships, but I feel like I had more to give. It’s a very expensive sport and I couldn’t afford to compete or train at the level that was required to contend for medals at the World Championships so it was a little bit bittersweet. I did love jumping. I loved triple jumps and I wish I could still do them but I’d be too scared in case I injure myself and then can’t work and provide for my children, so triple jumps are a thing of the past for me.
I don't actually remember Mark having triples when he was in singles. :lol:


Graham Newberry - Not such a range of things to talk about here
Do you have any competitions coming up that you can tell us about or that you are targeting?

I’m in my off season so I have no competitions coming up for a few months. But my main goal for this upcoming season is to become the first British man to land a quadruple jump in an international competition. Most of my training focus has gone towards this goal.
 

Sylvia

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The new Lee Valley Ice Centre in East London opens to the public tomorrow (June 17):
The elegant world class centre is one of only three in the country, and the first in the South East, to have two Olympic-sized rinks. It has a gym, dance studios, community spaces and café, and will be a new community hub for East London alongside the award winning open spaces in Lee Valley Regional Park.
A welcome addition to sport and leisure facilities in the region it is expected to boost the local economy by as much as £1.5 million annually and attract half a million visitors a year, double that of the old Lee Valley Ice Centre which, after 37 years, could not cope with demand.
Olympic Gold Medallist and President of British Ice Skating, Robin Cousins said: “I skated at the opening gala of the old Lee Valley Ice Centre in 1984. It’s fantastic to see that journey continue with this stunning new state of the art space – the perfect place to launch Skate UK, our new national learn to skate programme. Having these two Olympic size rinks in London is a game changer and I’m sure they will attract thousands of people of all ages and abilities, from World level competitors, community groups and families, to the first timers, who will experience the joy of ice skating and all it has to offer.”
The new centre opens to the public on Saturday 17 June. It has been completed within budget and features extensive environmental, landscaping and biodiversity improvements. It is the culmination of a £30 million investment by venue owner Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, with support from the London Borough of Waltham Forest, to create a world leading ice venue on the site of the old Lee Valley Ice Centre on Lea Bridge Road, Leyton.
Website: https://www.better.org.uk/leisure-centre/lee-valley/ice-centre
 

Belsornia

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Lee Valley is my local rink so it's great to finally have it back in operation. Even though I'm not a regular skater I went along for the reopening. The new facility looks great - although everything is gray, which doesn't feel very skating :lol: - and seems very well equipped, with a gym, dance studios, lots of space for off ice training etc. The opening weekend crowd appeared a lot more representative of the East London community than the usual British skating population, so I hope they're able to keep that up.

The performance rink is very nice, and even has windows so skaters can get some natural light (and a view of the traffic going by on Lea Bridge Road). Spectator seating is quite high up and was revised down to about 500 seats in the latter stages of planning but that's more than enough for a domestic event, or even a JGP or senior B tbh. I suspect that BIS will continue to favour Sheffield but I hope they at least get the qualifiers elsewhere in 24-25.

The opening day schedule proferred a demonstration by the skating club but it turned out to be less demonstration performances and more "you can watch some teen girls take a synchro class". So I didn't get an indication if any of the higher level British skaters will be training there. Though I did see Marika Humphreys, so now I can say I've been on the ice with an Olympian.
 

skatfan

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A couple of recent interview:

Mark Hanretty - a lot on Dancing on Ice but he also discusses coaching and choreographing, his move into commentating and even a bit on his competitive career.
Here’s the duet he skated with Olivia Smart on Dancing on Ice. Olivia looks more elegant with a taller partner.

 

Belsornia

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GP assignments day: With no GP Sheffield this season ( :wuzrobbed ) we're back to relying on Lilah and Lewis to fly the flag on the GP series. They'll be at Skate Canada and NHK once again. Bekker/Hernandez are tenth on the alternates list, so should be in the mix if spots become available in the event of any withdrawals or unused host spots.

Other off season news which didn't warrant a post of its own:
  • The ISU published the 2023-24 competition calendar and the Tayside Trophy (14-15 October in tba but presumably Dundee) is the only event in the UK. The August slot and clash with the JGP meant that Britannia Cup last season was (aside from senior dance) largely a domestic event so not really surprised that it hasn't survived, but I was hoping that BIS could leverage the success/goodwill from GP Sheffield to get a better spot and a more international event.
  • Kristen Spours has been having trouble with her back again (I think it's the same injury she talked about on Freeze).
  • In better Kristen news, she and Lydia Smart have started an off-ice training platform, Elite Edge. For all your off-ice zoom workout needs!
  • Entries are out for the solo dance championship. Notable entrants include Jess Marjot, former senior (partnered) ice dance silver medallist as the top qualifier; Genevieve Somerville (switched disciplines or double hatting?); Lily Mathias (back in solo dance once again); and my favourite Alana Pang in juniors. Notable absence former junior and senior champion Saule Lunevicuite (injured, quit, found a partner or switched federations?). I'd half wondered if Sasha Fear would show up, since she's been competing solo dance for her uni, but she appears to be back in Montreal for the summer.
  • Toby Palmer got his PhD. Congrats to him! If you ever want to know about stratification of surfactants and colloidal particles in pressure-sensitive adhesives, he's your guy. 🤯
  • Carol Lane (with Gilles and Poirier) will be the moderator for the coaches convention. On the one hand, she's British and probably the most successful non-IAM coach at the moment. On the other, her main contribution to British skating in recent years seems to have been getting British skaters to switch to Canada, so from that perspective she seems an odd choice.
  • A couple of likely rink closures. :( Sobell Ice Rink in Islington (I think the only rink in London I haven't been in) and Ayr Ice Rink, where Lewis Gibson learned to skate.
 

Belsornia

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BIS have refreshed their website, including publishing the Performance Squad for 2023-24. I think this is the first published update since 2019 so yay transparency.

Senior Women: Nina Povey, Kristen Spours
Senior Men: Brandon Bailey, Henry Privett-Mendoza, Graham Newberry
Senior Pairs: Lydia Smart / Harry Mattick, Anastasia Vaipan-Law / Luke Digby
Senior Ice Dance: Phebe Bekker / James Hernandez, Lilah Fear / Lewis Gibson

Junior Women: Arabella Sear-Watkins, Alexa Severn
Junior Men: Edward Appleby, Tao MacRae
Junior Pairs:
Junior Ice Dance: Ashlie Slatter / Atl Ongay-Perez

I couldn't find the relevant document on the site, but I believe the criteria is that senior skaters/teams need to have achieved the technical minimums for Euros in ISU competition (junior worlds minimums for juniors). So skaters who haven't reached Performance Squad criteria are also eligible for international selection and will be added to the squad if they get scores during the season. Development Squad, which includes seniors, has lower requirements which can be achieved in domestic competition.

Women, pairs and dance basically as expected. I guess they've fudged the criteria a bit for Phebe and James, who don't have senior scores yet, but I don't think anyone would argue that fourth at Junior Worlds doesn't deserve a spot.

A bit surprised to see Ed Appleby still in juniors since he has the senior criteria and at Junior Worlds said he was planning to go senior full time in the new season. Also wasn't expecting to see Brandon Bailey or Tao MacRae, who finished well down the pack at the British Championship on the list, but that doesn't factor into the criteria and they made at the scores at Britannia Cup (Brandon) and Tayside Trophy / Coupe de Printemps (Tao).
 

Karen-W

Checking Senior Bs for TES mins...
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All of the individual JGP announcements have been published by the ISU now and Great Britain stayed steady at 1 dance spot in each JGP, electing to not take a 2nd spot in any of the JGPs when they were next in line - 7 seems like a good number for British junior ice dance, and it will be exciting to see the new teams that make the most of the opportunity earned by Bekker/Hernandez!
 

Belsornia

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The Solo Dance Championship took place this week, with results largely going according to the qualification form book:

Senior Ladies
Gold: Jessica Marjot (Streatham)
Silver: Margot Orange (Sheffield)
Bronze: Amy World (Gosport)

Junior Ladies
Gold: Alana Pang (Sheffield) - FD is Romeo and Juliet (version "with a couple of jumps thrown in" here). She posted that she plans to move up to senior next season.
Silver: Lily Bakhtiari (Deeside)
Bronze: Natasha Griffin (Basingstoke) - RD | Lion King FD. She's also planning to move up next season (and is on IPS).

Junior Men
Gold: Jamie Hammond (Oxford/Sheffield)

Full results

Good representation from Deeside here, including junior silver medalist Lily Baktiari, especially as the rink only reopened a few months ago. Anyone know who's the current dance coach there?

I don't really understand why BIS splits the championships by gender when all the qualifying events are combined. Unfortunately even fewer men and boys than last year, and if the results had been combined none of them would have won a medal, so I'm not holding out hope for any new partnerships.

Hopefully the ISU will publish its plans for solo dance soon so some of these skaters will get the chance to compete internationally.
 
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Belsornia

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Video interview with Judith D.: (54 mins.): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZIvB9D0lDA
A few tidbits from the interview:
  • Phebe was about to move to France to skate with another partner but she chucked him to try out with James.
  • Their Muse FD is to tracks that they don't think have ever been done before. So hopefully that means not Exogenesis III. But tracks from their Prince RD have been done before.
  • James really likes their coaching team. On Nick Buckland: "one of the best male skaters ever in ice dance". (I thought I was one of Coomes & Buckland's biggest fans, but that is just...not true. :lol: ) On ballet coach Zhanna Palagina: "one of the best people on planet earth".
  • They don't get any funding, but they're sponsored by a homeschooling company and James works as a coach. Makes me wonder if anyone is getting funding from BIS or if all the UK Sport money is going to federation overheads / development camps / covering coaching costs for championships / recovering from GP Sheffield.
  • Special guest appearance by Phebe's host family's handsome dog.
 

Belsornia

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It’s finally official! :lol:

After BIS didn’t use the dance spot in Bangkok, I’m expecting that Bushell/Haddad will be the third team on the JGP this year, along with Slatter/Ongay-Perez and Hirsine/Surenkov-Gultchev.

Anthony Haddad is from the US and previously skated in Canada with Jamie Fournier (15th in junior dance at Can Nats 2022) but I don’t think he’s yet competed internationally. I’m not aware of any connection to the UK beyond skating with Sophia but I wonder if he does: he previously tried out with Phebe Bekker when she was between partners (could be a coincidence, of course).
 

Dobre

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Anthony Haddad is from the US and previously skated in Canada with Jamie Fournier (15th in junior dance at Can Nats 2022) but I don’t think he’s yet competed internationally.
He competed in the North American Series for novices back in 2018-19. (I remembered the name from the year I went to Lake Placid, and I ran a quick search here. FSU has an excellent search function:)).
 
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Belsornia

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Entries are out for the August Qualifier.

This is the Qualifier that usually gets the best turn out, but a lot of the performance squad skaters and others likely to challenge at the British are skipping. Only three pairs entered (Davidson/Caller in Juniors, Coley/Casey and Smythe/Raikes both staying in Novice) - none of the rumoured new pairs have materialised here. :(

On the plus side, all of the dance teams confirmed to exist have entered. On the down side, that means only one Novice and three junior teams. But there are six (!!!) senior teams: Fear/Gibson and Bekker/Hernandez are planning to compete, Hirst/Currie and Man/Palmer are both continuing, Karnes/Carr will be making their domestic debut, and there's another new team, Browyn Welton and Lasantha Salpadoru. Two unfamiliar names, but a quick google turns up that Welton was 15th in juniors at the solo dance championship last year, and Salpadoru is her coach who competed at junior worlds in the 1993-4 season with Julie Keeble (of future Abba Brits infamy). So yeah....
 

Belsornia

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Alexander Buchholdt has a new partner: Lou Koch, who was on the JGP for France last season (she and Ivan Melnyk had the fun Swan Lake Remix FD).

Unclear which country they'll represent. They're training at Villard de Lans so France seems more likely, but given the relative depth of their dance field UK would be the strategic choice. TBA, I'm a bit surprised about this pairing; she's a vastly better skater than him. His lifts with Olivia Jenkinson were scary, so hopefully he's been hitting the gym.
 

Wyliefan

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New interview with Ashli Slatter and Atl Ongay-Perez: https://anythinggoe.com/ashlie-slatter-atl-ongay-perez/

For the 2023-24 season, ice dancers must theme their rhythm dance around the “Music and Feeling of the Eighties”, which excited Slatter. “I quite like it. There’s a lot of really good 80s music out there.” Ongay-Perez countered, “I thought it’d be an absolute cheesefest when I first heard it! I was a bit concerned at first but seeing how it [all] fell, I’m happy with the choices we’ve got and I think we can really show what we’re about.”

Their music selections are: It’s Tricky by Run-D.M.C and Walk this Way by Run-D.M.C. ft. Aerosmith, and for the Free Dance: 5-10-15 Hours, St. James Infirmary, and Great Balls of Fire.

Slatter explains, “[Candice] suggested Walk This Way] and then [Pippa] found It’s Tricky. I found – on Spotify – the title [5 -10 -15 Hours]. It looked cool so I just clicked on it and then everyone really liked it. Pippa found St James’ Infirmary and we all fell in love with Great Balls Of Fire.”
 

barbarafan

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Unsurprisinly, Ed Appleby got the remaining host spot at GP Sheffield.

Not new news, but a round out of the GB JGP assignments so far:
  • JGP Courchevel: Connor Bray, Lowenna Prigg, Sophia Bushell / Alex Lapsky
  • JGP Czech Skate: Lucy Hay / Kyle McLeod, Phebe Bekker / James Hernandez
  • JGP Riga Cup: Connor Bray, Arabella Sear-Watkins, Ashlie Slatter / Atl Ongay-Perez
Three spots for men, one for women, two pairs and three dance teams across the remaining four events. I guess the substitutes lists tell us who they are likely to be.

Entries for next week's Qualifier.

And for the Britannia Cup, running consecutively at IceSheffield - very GB heavy. (Competition thread in the KnC forum)

Two new GB dance teams in the Britannia Cup entry list:
  • Molly Hairsine / Alessio Surenkov-Gultchev in juniors. He was 4th in juniors at the British last year with Vasilisa Ahramenka, and I think she is new to partnered dance. A pretty new partnership, I think, since he was competing solo dance in early July.
  • Mimi Marler Davies / Joseph Black in advanced novice. They are from London and AFAIK also new to dance.
You gain one, you lose another: Luke Anderson is on IPS, so he and Emily Phillips must have split too. Let's not send any teams to Carol Lane's summer camp next year!
knocking off the competition
 

Belsornia

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Entries for the October Qualifier are out on Sportify and we have a new junior pair: Zarah Wood and Alex Lapsky.

Zarah: British Champion in intermediate novice girls in the 2021-22 season, last competed in advanced novice at the British in December 2022, Zoe Jones’ daughter.
Alex: Silver medalist in junior dance with Sophia Bushell in the 2021-22 season, competed in singles pre-pandemic, last competed with Bushell at JGP Courchevel 2022. I wasn’t expecting this move from him!
Based at Swindon, unsurprisingly, presumably Chris Boyadji and Lloyd Jones coaching with Zoe.

Also two new baby pairs in basic novice: Emily Thomson / Callum Gilchrist from Dundee and Millie Coleman / James Dobbin from Deeside.

No sign of advanced novice champions Jessica Hennessy / Joel Kirby, but she is competing in singles so looks like either they’ve split or he’s injured.

No dance at all. :wuzrobbed
 

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