Ice Network

Kerr immerses herself in 'Battle of the Blades' role

Seven-time British ice dance champion joins forces with hockey player
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Sinead Kerr is bringing her own dance style to 'Battle of the Blades.' -Getty Images

She cannot yet disclose who her partner is, but Sinead Kerr is very eager to say she's enjoying the training process immensely. A first-time competitor on the Canadian TV show Battle of the Blades, Kerr loves talking twizzle exercises with hockey players who are wearing figure skates for the first time in their lives and learning to embrace their softer sides.

"When you're used to skating with someone for as many years as I have been, you're not quite sure how it's going to feel with somebody new, but I was really excited about the challenge," said Kerr, 35, who won seven British ice dance titles with brother John, 33, as well as two European bronze medals. They competed at seven world championships, finishing a career-high fifth in 2010, and two Olympic Winter Games.

She's been training with her partner for two and a half weeks and is astounded by his rapid progress. While many of the female figure skaters on the show are pairs skaters, Kerr is approaching her partnership from an ice dance perspective.

"[Show co-creator Sandra Bezic] told me, 'We want every pair to have their own thing and be different. Take your partner and make him be your partner, not try to be something you're not,'" Kerr said. "It's going to be boring if everyone is doing the same stuff.

"I want to do dance steps," she continued. "I want to do changes of hold, rotational lifts. That's what I intend to be doing with my partner. We can be doing some of the big lifts. That will kick into the series a bit later on, but to begin, I really want to show a bit of what I'm good at on the ice.

"Battle really seems to know how to pair the skaters. They paired me with a great skater and a great mover. I skate as fast with my partner as I do with John."

Kerr has enjoyed working with five-time U.S. ice dance champion Michael Seibert, who is returning for his fourth season as a Battle of the Blades choreographer. She feels a great connection and appreciates his willingness to let her take the reins at times.

"I love choreography," Kerr explained. "We work very quickly. He'll put an idea in my head and I'll roll with it."

Having worked with Kurt Browning on Stars on Ice, she's looking forward to hearing his comments from the judging panel. This will be a new role for Browning, who was the show's co-host during its first three seasons.

"For me, it's going to make it even more comfortable," Kerr said. "I'm so used to Kurt, on Stars on Ice he'd always have something to say afterwards in a good way. ... He was always giving us feedback on our performances."

It's been fun spending time with familiar faces like Jessica Dubé, Marcy Hinzmann and Amanda Evora. They've been having good girl time. Also, the entire group is in upbeat spirits and thrilled to see Battle returning after two years.

"What an amazing group we have here, and every one of them is so into it, having a lot of fun, wanting to work as hard as they can," Kerr said. "It's a great bunch of guys. They're all super enthusiastic about trying everything we throw at them.

"It's going be fantastic," she added. "At the moment, we're running through our week one program pretty easily. Now we've started focusing on week two. We've got to keep ahead of the game because a week is not long to make up a program. We're trying to use this time well."

This season's 16 participants are being announced throughout this week. The eight pairings will be announced on Sunday night's show, which will feature a retrospective of past seasons. The first live show is Sept. 29.