Robin Puts His Art into Theatre; Figure Skating Great and Dancing on Ice Judge on His New Show Extravaganza

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Byline: STEVE HENDRY

When Robin Cousins first started to ice skate, he was told he would never make it.

He was too tall, too impetuous and his feet were too big plus he didn't have his own skates.

It didn't bother him much. His golden career saw him crowned Winter Olympics champion, European champion, World Championships silver medallist (twice) plus a bronze and British champion four years in a row.

Now 56, and resolutely retired from skating due to knee injuries, he has learned the art of getting on with it. S

Now he is enjoying choreographing his latest production, Ice, bringing a skating show to UK theatres for the first time in 30 years, with a cast that includes world class solo and paired skaters.

He said: "The last stage show I did on ice – it was my production – was 30 years ago so what I have done now is taken everything I have learned from all the years I worked with Holiday on Ice, all the professional work from a creative point of view, the theatre work, and I am putting all that back in to getting skating back on a theatre stage, where it sits in a completely different vein than it does in an arena or on TV.

"It will have all the bells and whist1les people know and expect but in a way that allows the skating to speak for itself as required.

"In Dancing on Ice, everything happens in a minute and a half, that's it. In competition, all these boxes have to be ticked. I have no boxes to tick, no judges other than the audience who I have to entertain, so it allows me to let the skating speak for itself.

"In this show, I can say I have an eight–minute piece of music I will choreograph and we will do what is required by that music and the lyrics.

"All the jumps and the elements within it will come as needed in order for the show to have a nice flow. The challenge of being in a theatre is that you have to be economic with the choreography.

"You have to be clever, otherwise people are going round in circles.

"The proximity to the audience in that small amount of space makes it quite intimate.

"It's going to have that theatrical feel and look about it but the essence of skating is what it's about."

Since the curtain came down on his sporting career, which saw him win 16 major international titles, he has performed, choreographed and directed 10 productions for Holiday on Ice, skated on stage at the Radio City Music Hall in New York, starred as Billy Flynn in the London production of Chicago and is head judge on ITV's Dancing on Ice, which tonight begins its ninth and final series. …