Penny Coomes & Nicholas Buckland: “We try to be as creative as possible”

Interview by Vladislav Luchianov
Photo: Liz Chastney

Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland this season made their debut at the Grand Prix and I am sure that their performances in these competitions was remembered to many people. They have shown the brilliant dancing style, the creative approach, and also the real ice dancing artistry. I would like to present you an interview with these British figure skaters.

General Information 

Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland teamed up in 2005 where they trained at The National Ice Centre, Nottingham, Great Britain. In December 2009 they moved to New Jersey to train under 2 time Olympic Champion, Evgeny Platov.

Season 2010/11 results: Ondrej Nepala Memorial – 4th, Coupe Internationale de Nice – 3rd, NHK Trophy – 8th, Skate America – 8th. 


Date of birth:
April 6, 1989
June 9, 1989
Started Skating:
First Coach:
Philip Askew
Evgeny Platov
Mick Wilde and Leigh Yip
Evgeny Platov
Completed A-levels in Sociology, Drama, English, Geography and Ethics at the Becket School. Completed 2/3 years of a Psychology Degree at Nottingham Trent University.
Completed A-levels in History, Sports Science, Geography and Ethics at the Becket School. Completed 2/3 years of a Law Degree at Nottingham Trent University

Acting, Cooking, Reading, Listening to music, Watching movies and Drinking Tea.
Playing golf, Football, Guitar and the Xbox. Also, Go-Karting and Painballing.
Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili peppers, Kings of Leon, Linkin Park, Newton Faulkner
Linkin Park, 30 Seconds to Mars, Michael Jackson
Star Wars
TV Show
Family Guy, Sex and the City, The Inbetweeners.
Prison Break, The Inbetweeners
Chicken, Pizza
Thing to do
Having a cup of tea with my mum and playing with my dog Harry
To play Xbox with his friends (Halo, FIFA 10, Call of Duty)

Vlad: Hello Penny and Nick! Could you tell us a few about yourself? How did you choose figure skating and why?

Penny: I always loved to watch ice skating, and I would always dance around at a young age pretending to be an ice skater. My mum brought me a pair of ice skates off her friend and took me as it was something she always wanted to do herself as a child. My great Grandma used to skate on frozen ponds, so I guess it’s in my blood.

Nick: I chose figure skating probably because of my Grandma and Grandad. My Grandma was a skater in the London ice shows and my Grandad was three times British skating champion. They took me from an early age, two I think, and it’s become a way of life ever since.

- I’m sure that your performances at the NHK Trophy and at the Skate America amazed a lot of people. It was really wonderful! What do you think about it?

Penny: Nick and I didn’t expect to receive GP assignments this year, so firstly to get two was fantastic feeling for us! Being in Japan at the NHK trophy was amazing, it was our first time there and it really is an amazing country with amazing people.

As for Skate America, although Nick and I train in New Jersey, we had never been to the west coast of America so again it was another first for us. And Portland was a really pretty city. It reminded me a lot of Vancouver and the Olympics.

Nick and I always aim to give a good performance; it’s so nice to have support of the audience when you skate. And for me personally it helps relax me, and I enjoy performing to the bigger louder crowds. Our goal this year was to do something a little different and we really pushed ourselves with our lifts too, so we’re happy that it has gone down well with the crowds in Japan and Portland. John and Sinead Kerr have always been the crowds favorites and Nick and I look up to them a lot, so we hope to carry on in their footsteps.

Nick: We were really pleased with getting the NHK trophy. First of all it was our first Grand Prix and the experience of the competition and Japan itself was amazing. The people were so friendly and we really enjoyed it. We were also pleased with our performances too.

I think we both know both programs have a long way to develop as we feel the potential is great in them, especially the free dance. We were happy to get our programs seen and learnt a lot for future competitions.

- Your skating style evolves according to new trends. I mean high speed, new difficult elements, your own creativity. And what is your vision of your skating?

Penny: I think because of our height difference we’re able to really come up with some innovative and exciting lift ideas. It’s a real strength for us, so this year we decided to really take advantage of it.

Nick: I think our vision of our skating is to try and be as creative as possible. We want to create something both audiences and judges will enjoy so that a performance will be remembered. We have a long way to go in terms of developing skating skills, creating lines and increasing components scores but we try and use certain aspects such as our high difference to execute different and creative lifts and combine that with a routine that is fresh and new.

- You increase stably in your mastery. Who is your main inspirer or mentor?

Penny: There are so many fantastic skaters out there, Nick and I try and take the best from everyone. Obviously being British and from Nottingham we’re huge fans of Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean. They were really creative, and different. And, they have a similar height difference to us.

But, I think we’re really lucky to have a fantastic team of people to work with and amongst. We love training under Evgeny Platov, obviously he is a fantastic skater and has a lot of experience in competition himself.

We train with John and Sinead Kerr too, and they are always helping us out with advice and stories of their own experiences. It was nice to share our first big international competitions Euros and Olympics with them.

Nick: I think we have a few different mentors in different aspects of our skating. Obviously Evgeny Platov our coach is very inspirational with what he has achieved but also his incredible skating ability is something we both are keen to learn. His knowledge and advice is something extremely valuable and we are very lucky we get to work with him and use these traits to our advantage.

We also work with Phillip Askew who choreographs our programs and coaches us whilst in the UK. I think his creativity is something that we both find very inspirational and a very important part of myself and Penny as a team.

- There is a lot of great music for the skaters. How do you choose yours?

Penny: We take so long to pick our music for our programs. We sit and listen for hours and hours. Robin Cousins actually helped us out a lot this year with our music choices. We try to think of themes and then pick and play with a few options. It has to fit with the rules and sound good on the ice but most importantly the whole team have to like it.

Nick: Me and Penny, both have to skate to something that we like. I think that’s the most important thing. I also think that it’s important you pick a piece of music that you would find interesting if you were watching a performance, so then you would feel confident that an audience would receive it very well. It needs to trigger something inside of you that allows creativity to take over your performance.

- What are you focusing on before you take the ice for your warm-up in competitions?

Penny: I try and stay as relaxed as possible but also focused on what i need to do.

Nick: Before a warm up I think we both want to make ourselves comfortable on the ice to get as relaxed as possible. You only have 5 minutes so getting as many elements done as possible helps get us into the ice and feeling good.

- In your vision, which way will develop ice dancing?

Nick: I think Ice Dance has been developed a long way and it will keep developing as long as the athletes keep pushing themselves physically and creatively. We have a few ideas for the future to produce ideas nobody has done before as I think the key to development in ice dance is creativity.

- Nick, England is famous for its football (soccer). Do you like it too? And if yes, what football club is your favorite?

Nick: Yes, I love football (soccer) and my favorite team is Nottingham Forest. Two of the team’s players actually live next door to Penny in Nottingham!

Penny: That’s right. I actually live next door to Luke Chambres who plays for Nottingham Forest, so I support them, but I’m not really a football fan, nor do I know much about it. But, I’ll cheer when my team scores!

- What are your next goals?

Penny: Nick and I are now looking at Europeans and hoping for good skates and good results. :-)

- Is there something outside of skating you enjoy doing?

Penny: It’s hard to find time for anything else :-) I enjoy watching movies and studying. But, when I am home I love walking my dog and relaxing with my family.

Nick: I enjoy football, golf and I love go karting if I ever get the chance to go!

- Penny, Nick, thank you very much for the interview! Best of luck to your couple!

Penny/Nick: Thank you for your interest in our skating!

Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland – Free Dance program, The Lion King soundtrack

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