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Emily talks ‘learning curves’ as the couple look to season ahead

Emily Brown and James Hernandez are a GB Junior International Ice Dance Couple, and now, with the 2017/18 season ahead, are reflecting on all they've learned after what has been a very busy year. 


The last season has been filled with learning curves, highs and lows for the team, but Emily says she is thankful for every single new experience 2016/17 has brought.


Emily, 16, recently moved from the north to the south of the country, to train regularly with her partner James.


The move has meant that the young skater has needed to settle into a new school and balance her GCSE's with her skating.


Last season Emily and James competed at their first Junior Grand Prix in Tallinn, where the team skated against some the best talent the world has to offer.


Finishing 15th, Emily sites the experience at the huge arena as 'phenomenal', and one which taught both her and James many lessons.


They followed the event with a series of international competitions in Dortmund before finishing the season with their skate at the Bavarian Open.





Emily said: "We kept improving our scores each time, and finished the season as British Silver Medallists. With a total score of 122.32, we also came in at 6th place at our final competition, the Bavarian Open.


"The whole 2016 /17 season was a huge learning curve for James and myself, and we've been lucky enough to have fantastic experiences.


“I really love the storytelling we try to achieve in our choreography, and we really did have lots of fun last year with the blues and the jive in our wartime theme. I loved that costume - especially the victory rolls in my hair.


 "I think it's really important to remember to have fun and enjoy skating to the full - it's that passion that has got us so far.


 "The season involved a huge amount of travel abroad, both for competitions and training, and I am so grateful to our coach, Jimmy Young, for everything he does for us.


 "His guidance is invaluable and we still continue to learn every single time we're on the ice, which is vital in our progression as ice dancers."


Emily and James were awarded NISA's Rising Star fund, designed to support performance athletes in their development as skaters for Britain.


Emily adds: "Being awarded the Rising Star fund has contributed to the costs we've faced, and we are very thankful - when there are so many talented skaters in Britain.


"I am very excited for the 2017/18 season, both James and I are ready for whatever it has to bring and we certainly won't forget to enjoy and learn from every moment.


"Our short dance is a Cha Cha and a Rhumba and I absolutely love our music, which is a Whitney Houston medley.


"My costume is bright yellow and sparkly... I have my nan to thank for all of my amazing costumes!


 "Our free dance is to 'Who Wants to Live Forever' by The Tenors, and we have gone for an emotional story here with our inspiration coming from the Gothic era.


"Both programmes have been choreographed for us by coach Mark Hanretty. It was lovely for me to return to Sheffield for a week to work with Mark, who used to be my main coach before we moved south."


Emily and James have been awarded two Junior Grand Prix's this season, with the first taking place in Salzburg at the end of the month, and the second in Zagreb at the beginning of October.


The couple have continued to base their training in Germany with coach Jimmy Young throughout the summer in preparation for the events.


Emily and James are feeling confident and strong as a team ahead of the upcoming season. They're a fantastic example of how valuable every experience can be, and they're determined to carry forward all the lessons they've learnt.


They said: "We are really excited and looking forward to the Junior Grand Prix in Salzburg. We've been training really hard in preparation for the start of this season with our coach James Young. We cannot wait to get out there and do our best now."


Emily concludes: "Skating in a pair is full of ups and downs - but having James there to share all these experiences makes our journey memorable and enjoyable.


"I am very lucky to have a partner like him, a fabulous coach and a supportive family, and I would like to thank NISA for all of their support."