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Discover Elliot and Gwen with 11 days until the British Championships

As we continue our countdown to the British Championships, 1 – 6 December at iceSheffield, our focus today is on Junior Ice Dance couple Elliot and Gwen. The pair did exceptionally well at IJS Sheffield this August and hope to excel at their second British Championships next month. 

Name:
Elliot Verburg and Gwenneth Sletten
DOB: 22.12.1999 / 17.12.2001
Twitter: @elliotverburg
Instagram: @elliot.verburg / @gwen.sletten

Short Dance (SD) music choice for British Championships: We will be skating to A Diabolic Waltz by Kuroshitsuji from the Japanese Cartoon series called The Black Butler. It gives us an opportunity to showcase our darker side and portray creatures from the underworld. We are also showcasing our speed and power and intricate footwork. We hope this works really well with our steampunk inspired costumes which are really fun to wear.

Free Dance (FD) music choice for British Championships: We will be skating to selections from the OST of the movie Funny Girl by Barbara Streisand. It gives an opportunity to highlight our fun and flirtatious sides as well as a softer romantic interlude in the middle. The last selection, Don’t Rain on My Parade, is great fun as it builds to a wonderful crescendo where I (Elliot) really get to throw Gwen around.

On the ice:
Who/what inspired you to step onto the ice and what age?
Elliot:
I was inspired by my sister and her friends at the age of eight, they were taking lessons and I had to go along to the ice rink with them one time. I decided that I wanted to take some lessons too and really enjoyed myself.

Gwen:I started skating at the age of six – my friends and I thought skating would be fun thing to do together.

How did you get into ice dance?
Elliot:
One of my present day coaches was teaching the group class I was taking and she asked my mum if I wanted to try ice dance.

Gwen: I was doing group lessons at Wheaton Ice Arena when my now coach, Elena Novak, approached me and my mother about going to the academy for more serious training. At the time we didn’t really know what that meant but I’m glad I agreed. 

How long have you been skating with your partner? We’ve been skating together for about seven years.

How many hours do you train a week? We train (on and off ice) approximately 24 hours a week when school is in session, and more if we are on a school break.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in ice skating?
Elliot:
My greatest achievement has been representing my country and taking part in two Junior Grand Prix competitions this season. It is the first season we are age eligible to compete internationally.

Gwen: While I am proud of my accomplishments so far, such as getting level 3 on footwork and winning IJS Sheffield in August, I hope that my biggest accomplishment is yet to come.

How many times have you competed in the Nationals?  This will be our second year competing at the British Championships.

Do you have a skating hero you look up to?  
Elliot:
I have always marveled in how gracefully Jean-Luc Baker flows across the ice.

Gwen: Not specifically, there are so many great skaters I admire, but the older skaters at my rink are skaters I go to for advice and look up to.

Off the ice:
Other than skating what do you like to do in your spare time?
Elliot:
I really enjoy running and hanging out with friends.

Gwen: Watching Netflix because with skating and school it’s nice to relax. Also I love DIY crafts.

One thing you can’t live without and why?
Elliot:
Snapchat; because it is my main platform of communication with friends that live abroad!

Gwen: A good night’s sleep, without it I really don’t function.

Favourite band/music?
Elliot:
Vance Joy, Lana Del Ray and Taylor Swift

Gwen: The 1975

Favourite film/TV programme?
Elliot:
Empire

Gwen: The Lion King, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Community

Fun fact:
Elliot:
I have a dog and 2 cats

Gwen: I am fluent in French.

Gwen’s Mum said:
“Gwen hopes to become a great skater.  I truly believe she can and will do so because she is smart, hard working, instinctively fair, a perfectionist, very expressive and musical, and loves to interact with an audience. Those traits, coupled with a good supportive (and just fun) relationship with her long-term partner Elliot and truly outstanding coaches, give her all the attributes she will need to achieve her goal.”

Published 20th November 2015