Meet Robert Burgerman – Dancing on Ice’s coolest coach
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Meet Robert Burgerman – Dancing on Ice’s coolest coach

Francine Wolfisz is the Features Editor for Jewish News.

Seeing ice-skating idols Torvill and Dean is all in a day’s work for Dancing On Ice coach, Robert Burgerman, writes Francine Wolfisz.

As a young child, Robert Burgerman was simply mesmerised as he watched Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean ice skate their way into the history books with their perfect Bolero routine at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo.

Little could he predict that 30 years later, Robert would be looking back at his own success as a competitive ice skater – or that he would be working alongside the legendary pair as an assistant coach for ITV’s Dancing On Ice.

“Just thinking about it gives me chills,” admits the 34-year-old from Essex. “That for me is where it all began – seeing Torvill and Dean on the television – so it’s a very bizarre feeling. To have idols that you meet once or twice in your lifetime is a great experience that you cherish forever, but I have been working with them for nearly a year and you can’t really describe what that is like.”

Dancing on Ice coach Robert Burgerman
Dancing on Ice coach Robert Burgerman

Robert, a former British junior ice dance champion, first starting working with Dancing On Ice four years ago and describes it as an “honour” to be involved with the ninth and final series.

“I feel extremely honoured, privileged and proud for being invited into that very small circle. It’s only Jane, Chris, Karen [Barber], myself and one other who is involved in coaching with the programme.”

His own foray into ice skating began when he was just a 6 years-old pupil at Ilford Jewish Primary School.

“There was a girl I liked who used to ice skate, so I went along with her,” the married father-of-one muses.

While his friend decided to stop ice skating, for Robert it soon became apparent that not only was it something he loved, but that he had a natural flair for the sport.

But to reap the rewards, he knew there would be early starts, hours of practice and little time for socialising.

The South West Essex Reform Synagogue member explains: “That was the hardest thing. When you dedicate yourself to anything you have to make sacrifices and I sacrificed quite a bit growing up. I missed out on anything my friends were doing. I was up at 4 o’clock in the morning before school for practice and then after school I would come home, do my homework and had lights out by 8 o’clock. That was until the age of 17 and was six days a week.

“I guess I just loved what I doing and I enjoyed it. When I was 12, I made a conscious decision that as soon as it stopped being fun, I would bail out.”

Robert also reveals that his family, including his grandparents, parents and sister were “hugely supportive” of his passion. “Everyone had their role to play in helping me to succeed.”

Robert at the Junior world championships, 2001
Robert at the Junior world championships, 2001

During his competitive career, which stretched from 1986 to 2003, Robert regularly finished in the top three, earning him gold, silver and bronze medals.

Aged 11, he was chosen for the British International Squad and in 1998, alongside his partner Phillipa Towler-Green, he was included in the British Olympic Team.

The pair went on to be crowned British junior ice dance champions in 2000.

Aged 23, Robert decided to hang up his skates and instead dedicate himself to coaching youngsters at Lee Valley Ice Centre, where he still teaches today.

He has also since performed at Elton John’s White Tie and Tiara Ball and appeared as a contestant on BBC’s Strictly Ice Dancing, for which he partnered with Liberty X singer Jessica Taylor.

Speaking about his current role with Dancing On Ice, Robert tells me he has enjoyed working with the 14 celebrities and describes comedian Joe Pasquale, who exited in the first week, as “without a shadow of a doubt, one of the nicest guys you could possibly wish to meet.”

Robert with his wife Danielle and daughter Ava
Robert with his wife Danielle and daughter Ava

Meanwhile, he says bookies’ favourite Ray Quinn is “very talented – and a nice boy as well.”

With the grand finale scheduled on March 9, Robert admits he will miss the series but is equally looking forward to spending time at home with his wife, Danielle and their two-year-old daughter, Ava.

“My wife has been absolutely amazing and extremely supportive, so it’ll be nice to have some family time.”

The ninth and final series of Dancing on Ice continues on Sunday, 6.15pm on ITV.

To contact Robert for lessons, visit www.ice-burg.co.uk, email robert@ice-burg.co.uk or call 07950 255562. You can also follow him on Twitter @ice_burg

 

 

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments