AS the stars of Kyran Bracken’s Ice Party spin, jump, back-flip, lunge and perform the most spectacular lifts imaginable, I sit in awe at the side of the ring at the Pleasure Beach in Blackpool.
The celebrities and professional skaters are warming up for this year’s ice skating extravaganza which promises to be a real treat for the whole family.
Former English rugby union player, Kyran Bracken MBE, won ITV’s Dancing on Ice in 1997, and since that time he has been hooked on figure skating.
In fact, Kyran loves ice dancing so much that he now stages his own shows featuring celebrities and the cream of skating talent from across the globe.
He won Dancing on Ice after performing a breathtaking routine which featured flying on wires and a final, incredible performance of Torvill and Dean’s Olympic gold medal-winning Bolero.
Kyran zips across the ice to have a quick chat with me: “Dancing on Ice was so much fun and I loved it so much that I decided to put on my own shows. It is a sport. I really love the training. It is a different challenge for me. Putting on the shows is a real buzz. I have choreographed several routines. I skate with the professional skater Renata Rin. I think we’ve got good chemistry. I’m still involved in rugby – I coach professional players.
“Blackpool has a wonderful rink. It’s a great venue. There is nowhere else like this in the whole country.”
He is right. Built in 1936, the Pleasure Beach has the oldest purpose-built ice skating arena in the world.
One of the main celebrity performers in the Ice Party show is Clare Buckfield.
Clare’s acting career began in the BBC teen drama Grange Hill and roles in Steel River Blues, Two Point Four Children, Dangerfield, Doctors and Holby City followed. Clare recently appeared in a challenging two-hander play in London.
Clare’s natural ability and grace on the ice saw her finish as runner up to Kyran in the final of ITV1’s Dancing on Ice in 2007.
Taking a break from a tricky-looking routine, Clare says: “I could not believe how much I loved it when I was on Dancing on Ice. I got the bug. The Ice Party is full of surprises and great routines. It’s a family show and there are lots of comedy elements to it.”
Another of the celebs in the show is Suzanne Shaw, who began her career as a member of pop group Hear’Say.
More recently Suzanne has appeared on the ITV soap Emmerdale, playing Eve Jenson, Edna Birch’s grandaughter.
In ITV1’s Dancing on Ice in 2008, Suzanne performed with her professional skating partner Matt Evers and impressed both audiences and judges with her technical footwork and lifts and confident solo skating. It was these accomplished performances which led to her being crowned Dancing on Ice queen. Suzanne and Matt skate over and tell me about their performances: “We were both rubbish at first,” laughs Suzanne. “Our routines are fast and there are lots of tricky lifts.”
Matt recently emigrated from America to Britain as he mainly works in the UK. He has travelled the world with the United States Figure Skating Team and, in 1998, he won the US Junior Pair Championships at the US Figure Skating.
If the skating in the practice session is anything to go by, Kyran’s Ice Party will be truly unforgettable. The Pleasure Beach also puts on its own Hot Ice shows and other events.