Coomes, Buckland to begin the season at Rostelecom Cup

Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland performing SD at 2012 Europeans

By Vladislav Luchianov

Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland, the leading ice dance couple of Great Britain, is ready for their debut performances of this season, which will take place at the Grand Prix stage Rostelecom Cup this weekend.

Last season was very successful for the representatives of Albion. Under the leadership of famous coach Evgeni Platov, British ice dancers placed a career-best sixth place at the 2012 European Championships in Sheffield. They also set personal bests scores in both the short and free dances there.

Despite the very strong competition in the modern ice dancing, these athletes are always distinguished by the presence of their own style and creativity. Penny and Nick do not try to imitate anyone, and thus won the sympathy and love of many ice dancing fans.

Rostelecom Cup 2012 will be held in Moscow, Russia from November 9–11, 2012 in the Megasport Arena.

World Figure Skating talked with Penny and Nick about their expectations of coming Grand Prix stage and about general goals for this season.

Penny, Nick, at Rostelecom Cup will be your start of the new season. Could you tell us a few about your off-season time?

Penny Coomes: After the World Championships in March I had to take some time off as I obtained a back and hip injury, thus the start of our off season was a little slower than normal for us. I spent some time in the UK at a sports rehabilitation centre.

One of the hardest parts of the season for Nick and I is finding the right music! It always seems to take us forever, but this year we actually found our Short Dance music relatively early. Once I was recovered, we choreographed our programmes in Nottingham with my step-father, Philip Askew.

While back home in England and working on choreography for our Short Dance, Nick and I performed in the Olympic Torch Gala with Torvill and Dean. It was a great experience for us, and we were both honored to take part in such a prestigious event. It was while we were at rehearsals for the show that Nick and I sat down with Robin Cousins who really helped us find and cut our Free Dance music.

Once both programmes were complete, we travelled back to America to work on our new programmes with Evgeni Platov and his team.

This is your first Grand Prix in Moscow. What do you expect from the Russian audience?

Nicholas Buckland: We were really happy to receive Rostelecom Cup as one of our Grand Prix events this season as we had a very enjoyable experience at 2011 Worlds. The Russian federation put on a great event at the last minute, the audience was very interactive, and so it’s a pleasure for us to come back here and debut our new programmes for the Russian crowd.

You and your coach Evgeni Platov every season give the audience something special and very creative. What about this one?

Penny Coomes: For our Short Dance, Nick and I will be skating to an Irish Polka called “Scalliwag”. It’s a very fun piece of music and we both enjoy skating to it. We have tried to be very playful with our short dance this year and show something a little bit different for us.

We have chosen music from the “Basement Jaxx versus the Metropole Orkest” for our Free Dance this season. The two pieces of music are actually from the same album but are very different. We start out quite classical and then go into something a little more quirky and fun. We haven’t competed since Worlds so Nick and I are excited to get our season going!

Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland at 2012 Europeans gala

Collage: World Figure Skating

I think you have watched the previous stages of Grand Prix. What main differences have you noticed in comparison with the past season?

Penny Coomes: One of the most noticeable differences this year is in the short dance. I think that because of the genre we have been given this year waltz, polka, march… It has broadened the overall look of the competition. And by that I mean, every team has a different interpretation of the polka, each short dance offers something different.

Nicholas Buckland: I think with the Polka being such a different style to the Rumba last year, it’s giving teams like Penny and I a chance to show a different style in our skating. The pattern dance itself is a lot longer with more steps to master, and for many teams, including us, it is the first time learning the dance so we can approach it with no bad habits!

Last season your team placed a career-best 6th at the 2012 European Championships in Sheffield. You also set personal bests in both the short and free dances. What are your plans for this season?

Penny Coomes: Nick and I were very pleased with how we skated at Europeans. I think we are going to continue to work hard and hope for more good performances in our future. The placements are down to the judges and technical panel, all we can do is skate our best.

Nicholas Buckland: I think Penny and I have high standards for what we want our skating to look like. I think a very valuable asset as a skater is to be self critical in order to analyze your performances and improve on them with your team. I think over the course of the season if we can keep improving our performances in our own eyes then, then everything else will take care of itself.

Photo: Penny & Nick’s supporters FB page

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