Earlier this month we spoke with Dancing on Ice’s Dan Whiston ahead of the show’s return. Now the show has been back for a few weeks, we caught up with Dan again to discuss how the contestants are getting on!
Hi Dan! How have you found Dancing On Ice since it’s return?
Dancing on Ice has just been amazing since its return and seems to get stronger and stronger with every week that passes. If you’d have asked me a few months ago whether any of our skating stars would be performing the headbanger by week 5, I’d have said no, as it’s something you usually don’t see until around semi-final week. For so many of our celebrities to be doing such complex skating steps, lifts and jumps at this early stage is quite mind blowing.
What’s been your highlight of this series so far?
I’ve had so many highlights already, I loved every performance Didi Conn did with her pro partner Lukasz because they both seemed to have so much fun out there on the ice. It didn’t matter that the skating was less complex than some of our other celebs because it was all about the joy they radiated when they skated. I also thought James Jordan’s performance in fairy tale week was stunning, as it was smooth, controlled and balletic. There have also been personal highlights for me this series in my new role as associate creative director, as I’ve had the opportunity to create and choreograph group routines. I’m probably most proud of the aerial straps routine I created and performed in, as I’d been training for months beforehand and it was amazing to receive such positive feedback from Dancing on Ice fans.
How are the contestants getting on? Are there any particular highs or lows they’ve experienced?
Most celebrities have experienced some highs this series but I think maybe the lows stand out for them because they usually involve falls and fallouts. Gemma Collins has had both of those, which seem to have impacted on her confidence. I hope she manages to build it back up again because her nerves are starting to show in her performance and reflected in the low scores she’s getting from the judges. Poor Jane Danson fainted during rehearsals the other day, which was really scary for her and everyone else who saw it happen, including me. However she dug deep and managed to turn things around and put in a great performance during the show……..which I guess is making a high out of a low.
Can you outline the average training day?
An average training day is pretty full on and consists of the celebrity and their professional partner working together on the ice for a few hours. In addition to that they may do off-ice training where they practise lifts over and over again before trying them on the ice. It’s quite common for the celebrities and their pro to do gym sessions to build up or keep up their core strength……it’s certainly no walk in the park being a contestant on this show!
What’s the atmosphere like during the Skate Off? We can’t imagine how nerve-wracking it must be?
There’s a huge change in the atmosphere during the skate-off not just backstage amongst the cast but also the audience seem to tense up too. I guess everyone dreads finding themselves in that position, as not only does it mean finding the physical energy to skate again but also it’s a real test of their mental strength to not buckle under the pressure. I tell the celebrities to go out and try to enjoy the skate-off as much as they can but I remember from my time competing on the show, it’s a really big ask.
Is there any rivalry between the contestants?
There’s a lot of friendly banter between the celebrities on the show, probably the biggest rivalry is between James and Wes, who no doubt fans of the show will have already noticed. They seem to be turning into each others nemesis as they try to out perform each other each week……it’s all done in good humour though. I fully expect other rivalries to heat up, as we get closer to the final, if previous series are anything to go by.
Who should we keep an eye on in this series? Any top contenders? This series there are quite a few celebrities who are contenders, in fact it’s quite unusual to have so many people who could make it to the final. Already this series we’ve seen James Jordan, Wes Nelson and Melody Thornton all at the top of the leaderboard with Saara Aalto hot on their heels every week…..and Brian McFadden and Jane Danson not too far behind either. We’ve had quite a lot of injuries this series. Last week was like an episode of Holby as so many of our celebs had to be attended to by medics and were in and out of physiotherapy almost as if they were on a conveyor belt. On past series, injuries have taken celebrities out of the competition, so there’s always the chance that could happen this year.
Keep up to date with Dan Whiston
We loved catching up with Dan! Make sure to tune in to Dancing On Ice on ITV Sunday evenings!