The 2007 Swiss national junior ice dance champions are Ramona Elsener, 15, and Florian Roost, 17. The couple had won the gold medal in the novice division the previous year. This past season, they made their international debut at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Oberstdorf, Germany, placing 21st.
“They made progress in huge steps last season,” said coach Cornelia Diener. “In the first junior year, it’s difficult to see where it will end. But they didn’t have any Junior Grand Prixs so they had the time to practice and get ahead of other couples.
This season, the dancers have been slated to compete at the Junior Grand Prixs in Vienna and Chemnitz. “We want to win the Nationals and go to Junior Worlds again,” Elsener added.
Roost began skating at four when his mother, a recreational skater, took him along to the rink. He competed in singles until 2006, winning the bronze medal in novice men that season. “I started dancing three years ago,” he said. “Our club is the ice dancing club of Switzerland so we see ice dancers all the time. It’s normal to start dance there. I like it because it’s more than just jumps.”
Elsener also started when she was four. “My older sister was already skating,” she said. “I came to the rink with her.” Her sister is now on Switzerland’s world synchro team.
“Single skating was hard for me,” Elsener continued. “I had up to a double lutz but a knee injury made jumping difficult for me. People said I had an ear for music and good artistry, so my coach contacted Cornelia Diener and I started solo dance three years ago.” Diener soon matched her with Roost.
Diener and Alexei Pospelov coach the dancers, who train in Bulach and Frauenfeld, Switzerland. They train for two hours a day, five days a week and do another three hours off ice each week. The pair also recently spent two weeks in Moscow working with Alexei Gorshkov.
Diener and Richard Leroy choreographed their 2006-07 programs. Roost said that they both like to skate to fast music. “I like calm music, but also fast music,” he said. “We don’t do very classical music.” For the Latin original dance, the skaters used Tango de Roxanne from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack.
Their free dance music was from the musical Romeo and Juliet by Gerard Presgurvic. “I heard the free dance music a year and a half before and saw them skating to it,” Diener said. “I brought it for them last year and then put it away. But every month, I would listen to it and I was convinced there was nothing better for them. They skate the first part to German and the second part to the French version.”
For the 2007-08 season, they have selected a selection of Swiss Folk music for their Original Dance and Phantom of the Opera for their Free Dance.
For relaxation, both of the skaters enjoy listening to music. “We listen to very loud rock music,” Roost said. “I like Swiss and French hip hop.” They also enjoy chatting on the computer, hanging out with friends and swimming. Roost said he was “always on the computer” and has designed their own home page. Elsener also enjoys shopping and painting, while Roost collects gemstones. For pets, Roost has a cat while Elsener has a fish and two dogs, one of which comes to the rink with her in her purse.
Elsener is in her final year of high school and will attend the United School of Sports in Zurich next year. She wants to learn to work in an office. Roost is in a special college to learn to be a schoolteacher.