We caught up with Dan Whiston, the longest serving member of the Dancing On Ice team ahead of the show’s latest episode. Read on to find out more about his new role, highlights, and advice for skating hopefuls!
We’re so excited for the return of Dancing On Ice! What can we expect from this year’s show?
This series I’m working in my new role as Associate Creative Director, which means I’ll be working alongside different creative directors to come up with group performances. I think everyone on the Dancing on Ice team are putting all their efforts into making the new series as spectacular and thrilling to watch as it can be……so I’d say for fans of the show to expect it to be just that.
This year you’re working with all the celebrities on the show, do you ever find yourself star struck?
This series I was really excited about meeting Didi Conn because I’ve watched the movie Grease so many times and Frenchy was one of my favourite characters. I’ve never found myself star struck as such, though having said that, the first time I got to work alongside Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean was a big moment for me and to this day I pinch myself about having the chance to work with them.
What’s your best way of keeping everyone motivated, in what can be a challenging sport?
So far, I’ve been mainly motivating celebrities to continue putting in the training hours needed to perfect their basic skating skills because that underpins all the other more advanced lifts and steps and spins they will go on to learn. I’ve also been working with celebrities to try to bring out their showmanship, as the judges won’t just be marking them on their skating ability. To get to the top of the leaderboard celebrities need to go out there and wow on every level.
What’s been your Dancing On Ice highlight?
From first appearing on the show in series one, I’ve had so many moments that stand out for me. One of the most memorable ones is the opening number when I performed with Jayne Torvill because I remember we had so much fun rehearsing for it. I’ve been lucky enough to skate in and win series finals with Gaynor Faye, Hayley Tamaddon and Beth Tweddle, so each of these have been highlights.
What have you been up to since the last series of Dancing On Ice?
I’ve been up to lots of different work projects but one of the biggest was my role as assistant director on the 75thAnniversary tour of an ice show. It was a huge ice spectacular and I was lucky enough to work alongside an award winning director Kim Gavin. It was a lot of hard work getting the show together but a brilliant experience and one which taught me a lot about the type of shows I aspire to create in the future.
If you could skate with any celebrity in the world, who would it be and why?
I think it would be Madonna as she’s a pop icon and must have so many amazing stories to tell. It would certainly make for an interesting training session, we’d be nattering so much we probably wouldn’t get much work done. Also, I think she looks amazing for 60 years old and she’s incredibly fit with good dance ability, so I think she’d have a good work ethic and do well.
For fans interested in ice skating, what advice would you give to them?
I’d encourage everyone to give ice skating a go, as it’s such a fun way of getting fit and toning up, especially after maybe over eating and under moving during the Christmas holidays. My advice would be to take it slow at the beginning and most important of all is to bend your knees. I’d also advise people to wear lots of protective gear, like knee and elbow pads and maybe some padding around the derrière because if there’s one thing that’s sure to happen, it’s falling over ……it happens to the best of us.
Who should we keep an eye on in this series? Any top contenders?
I think there are a few top contenders this series, though it’s still a little too soon to be able to single one particular celebrity out from the others. What I can say is there are already some contestants doing lifts and skating moves which in past series we’d usually not see until around weeks 3 or4, so that’s an indicator of how high the standard is this year. I think the competition for which celebrity is at the top of the leaderboard each week is going to be really exciting
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!