New Team Series: Emma Kivioja & Erik Pellnor

Emma Kivioja (22) & Erik Pellnor (19) are a new senior ice dance team who will represent Sweden this season. 

Tell us about your individual skating journeys, including any early special memories.
Emma Kivioja (EK): I started skating in Mörrums Figure skating Club when I was 4 years old. My parents put me in skating school and then I continued. 

Erik Pellnor (EP): My journey started when I was 8 years old when my parents wanted me to learn how to skate. I later found out I love to perform and, on the ice, there is close to no limits! Thanks to my singles career, I have had the opportunities of seeing the world and competing on several championships. In addition, I have made many good friends as well!

What drew you to ice dance?
EK: Erik and I were at a summer camp as single skaters and our coach suggested that we should skate together just for fun and that’s where my thoughts about ice dance began. I’ve always admired the ice dancers when I’ve seen them on competitions, it’s such a beautiful sport. 

EP: As I was improving in singles, I noticed my biggest strength is performing and I really enjoy doing choreography on the ice. I have always had a passion for music and expressing my emotions through dance. One summer, me and Emma tried a little ice dance for the fun of it. After that week both of us saw how beautiful this sport really is.

Tell us how your partnership started.
EK: Our partnership came natural since we’ve been skating together as single skaters and trying ice dance exercises together for fun besides singles. Late this spring we decided to switch to ice dance. 

EP: Me and Emma met each other the first time in Linköping during a training camp 10 years ago. From that point on, we saw each other a few times every year during training. We have been friends for a long time now and a while back our coach wanted us to try and skate together. This spring we decided to commit to our passions and start our ice dance journey for real.

What is it that you already like most about dancing with your new partner?
EK: So far, I like the feeling of skating together, being able to communicate and express myself on the ice. I think we communicate really well on and off the ice which makes it very fun. 

EP: I like that we get to motivate each other during practice and it really makes you work 100% all the time. We also get to improve our interpretation of music and work on getting full control of our entire body. There are a lot of challenges, but we are always there to support each other. 

What experiences do each of you bring to the partnership? 
EK: None of us have any experience in ice dance but both of us have been on international competitions and nationals as single skaters. We are both hard workers when it comes to training and we cheer on each other when things are tough.

EP: Both of us have skated at a high level in singles, however none of us are experienced in ice dance yet. We will for sure be able to use our fighting spirit since we are used to taking on challenges and overcoming failure!

What has been the biggest adjustment for each of you so far in the partnership?
EK: Learning how to skate together, lifts and all the other elements in the programs. 

EP: The biggest adjustment for me is that we have to think alike. I have never preferred to work in a team since I like to have the control myself. However, because me and Emma are really close friends we are comfortable with sharing our feelings and our honest opinions.

Tell us about your training site.
We train in Mörrum, Sweden with our coach from single skating, Susanne Olsson. To receive guidance and help, we go to Neil Brown and Maurizio Margaglio in Helsinki, Finland. 

Who are your coaches?  Who is choreographing your programs?
For ice practice our coaches are Susanne Olsson, Neil Brown and Maurizio Margaglio. For off-ice we get help from STAC and Anna Dettner. Neil Brown has choreographed both of our programs. 

If you could have a lesson with any ice dancer past/present, who would it be? Why?
EK: There are too many good teams that I like, I couldn’t pick one! 

EP: It would be really cool to have one session with Tessa Virtue and or Scott Moir. They were such an accomplished team and complimented each other very well. It would be great to learn how to perform just like them. 

What is each of you looking forward to most this skating season? What will be your biggest challenge(s)?
EK: I look forward to our first competition and training together in general. I think the biggest challenge for us is that everything is new to both of us, but it’s so fun and inspiring to do this journey with Erik. 

EP: I think I mostly look forward to skating in full costume in competition. It will be such a fun experience to compete with another person and to be so engrossed in our programs. I think the biggest challenge will be to go from regular singles skates to ice dance skates.

What is your debut competition this season?
We don’t know yet what competition is going to be our first, but it will be this autumn. 

Please share anything you would like our readers to know about you as a team?
EK: We’ve been working really hard this summer and we have gotten good support from all our coaches and families. I’m very excited to start competing and show our programs! 

EP: We are currently experimenting with what themes and emotions we want to express in our programs and we really hope it will be entertaining for the audience (and the judges).