Kerr siblings happy to join 'Stars on Ice' family

Ice dancers make their debut performance in Lake Placid

Scottish dance siblings Sinead Kerr and John Kerr have brought their act to the show circuit.
Scottish dance siblings Sinead Kerr and John Kerr have brought their act to the show circuit. (Getty Images)


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By Lois Elfman, special to
(01/03/2012) - John Kerr described his Stars on Ice debut on Dec. 30 in Lake Placid as "nerve wracking" and "sort of brain exploding."

"We never had to do so many routines in a show before," said John, referring to the group routines and transitions they perform in addition to their individual routines.

Seven-time British ice dance champions and two-time European bronze medalists Sinead Kerr and John Kerr ended their competitive career in April 2011 after withdrawing from the world championships when Sinead required shoulder surgery. They returned to the ice in the summer with some shows in Asia and have now focused their attentions on performing. They are incredibly excited to be part of Stars on Ice, a show renowned for its group numbers.

"It was such an amazing thing to be a part of," Sinead, 33, said after the show's opening. "It's something we've obviously known about since we were kids. It's like a dream to be in Stars on Ice.

"We were a little bit nervous coming into it because it's such an amazing cast and group of skaters who have been heroes of ours forever," she added. "We feel like we fit right in. It's that family atmosphere everyone talks about."

The cast includes such Stars on Ice veterans as Kurt Browning, Ekaterina Gordeeva, Ilia Kulik, Todd Eldredge, and Kyoko Ina and John Zimmerman. Joining them as a tour rookie is 2011 U.S. men's champion Ryan Bradley.

In years past, the skaters had several weeks to prepare for the first show, but this year there were only three days. Browning is the show's choreographer, with an able assist from 2008 world men's champion Jeffrey Buttle.

"Kurt and Jeff combined did the most amazing routines for us," Sinead said. "We skated from pretty much 10 in the morning until 10 at night for three days solid to get ready for the Lake Placid show. Kurt Browning was amazing at the helm. He's a great leader. He's inspiring. He was fantastic at giving the right people the right parts in the ensemble pieces. Jeff Buttle was also great. He knew the timing of everything. Because of those two, we made it happen in such a short period of time."

Despite the demanding schedule, both Sinead and John said Browning was generous with his time and advice for them and Bradley, telling them this was the start of their journeys as performers.

"The energy was phenomenal," Sinead said. "Not one complaint. Everyone working hard. We're all so excited to be part of Kurt's vision."

They also appreciated Kulik's subtle insight, noting he has a great eye for detail and makes valuable suggestions. Ina and Zimmerman both offered advice about lifts.

In addition to the group numbers, Sinead and John do two individual routines in the show. The first is an exhibition version of their final free dance, "Exogenesis: Symphony Part 3" by Muse. Their second number is set to the song "A Pencil Full of Lead" by Paolo Nutini, which they choreographed together with former world swing dance champion Robert Royston.

"We put a bit of a twist on it at the start to give it a bit of comedy value," John, 31, said. "We trust Robert's opinion a lot. He made some really great additions to the routine."

The Kerrs were joined in Lake Placid by their parents, who were visiting from Scotland. They said Eldredge's parents and fiancée, Sabrina Corbaci, were also there. Gordeeva and Kulik brought their daughter, Liza. All of it added to the family atmosphere.

The cast now heads to Japan for shows in Osaka and Tokyo. The 10-city U.S. tour kicks off in Salt Lake City on Feb. 18. In late January, the Kerrs will serve as ambassadors at the 2012 European Championships in Sheffield, England.

There was nearly a full house at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, and they're hopeful to see people come out and enjoy this year's Stars on Ice.

"It's such an integrated show," John said. "I'll do a lift with Kyoko. I'll do a step with Sasha [Cohen]. It's great fun. It gives you an opportunity to interact during the performance, which is kind of cool.

"You know it has such a good reputation, you want to do it justice," he added. "You want to live up to the honor of having the opportunity to be in Stars on Ice. It makes you nervous, but it also gives you adrenaline to perform at your best."