Today I found an interview with Maxim Nikitin and decided to be patriotic) Just couldn’t pass by some info about our only Ukrainian skaters who can be in top-10 at Europeans. So, here’s a translation of an interview with Alexandra Nazarova and Maxim Nikitin made after Ukrainian Nationals.
Last season turned out not successful, due to Alexandra’s injury pair had to miss European Championships, due to the same reason their performance at World Championships also wasn’t solid.
– After a three-month break, we had skated only two weeks and went to the World Championships in Boston. We was in the bad shape, so I wouldn’t take into account result that showed there. We just had to perform there to keep the judging seat for Ukraine.
As for this season, the knee no longer bothers Sasha. Preparation turned out full, except the last couple of weeks before the Ukrainian championships. In early December, we competed at the tournament in Zagreb. There Sasha got ill. And after we came to Ukraine, I have spent three or four days with a temperature of 39.6. Haven’t skated for one and a half weeks. For the first time we went on the ice before going to Kiev.
This is your fifth start of the season, the highest scores you received in November at the Ice Star in Minsk (64.58 and 98.82). How do you think there were your best skates, or they can’t be compared with the performances at Grand-prix in Paris in front of sophisticated audience in “Bercy”?
– I think in Paris we skated the short dance much better than in Minsk. I’m not talking about the technical aspects, but about our state: we danced more, felt the audience better. Speaking about the free dance, I think, at the Minsk ice it really was our best skate of this season.
Did you immediately understand why you got a deduction in the short dance in Paris?
– At the end of the program Sasha did a salto and judges took it as a lift. Since there’s only one lift in the short dance and we already had it, this salto was counted like an extra element. In principle, there is a controversial issue, some said that yes it takes a lot of time, so you need to consider it as a lift, others did not think so. We do not want to lose this salto, it looked quite original and acrobatic and many people liked it. Just decided to execute it as quickly as possible. Honestly, it has become quite a big surprise for us that it was counted as an extra element in Paris. Because during practices, and we had a lot of them out there, no comments were received. Earlier there also were no problems.
Have you made many changes in your dances during the season?
– Yes. As you probably know, in the summer we moved to a new coach, Igor Shpilband. We are still have to adapt to each other, so after every competition we try to improve something, to change something, we listen to opinions of technical panel, judges, ordinary viewers.
According to the official ISU website this season at Golden Spin you beat your personal bests in the free dance (92.46) and by the sum of two programs (148.66). But in the short your Personal best is still 58.20 received in Zagreb in 2014. Did Paso Doble and Flamenco turn out much better than Waltz – March and Blues – Swing or the reason is not in the rhythms?
– Short Dance is not our strong point. It has a given theme and often it does not quite suit our temperament. But we liked Paso Doble and Flamenco, it was one of those programs that we loved to skate. We felt it.
How did you react when found out rhythms for the this season’s short dance?
– We knew that hip-hop it’s not for us, we haven’t even tried it. But the blues and swing seemed quite interesting. And I think this season with the short dance we hit the mark. we like it a lot. As for the music, we had a lot of options, but in the end we settled on songs Only You and Tutti Frutti, which were suggested by Igor Shpilband.
The preparation for this season you have started in the United States. Tell me, what was before: the decision to leave Alexander Zhulin’s group or the desire to work with Igor Shpilband?
– There were a lot of factors that influenced our decision to change the coach, one of them is political. It became harder for us to stay in Russia. Due to the tense situation it was also hard with the funding of our training process there. In addition, athletes still have to move forward. We considered various options. But first on the list of our priorities was Igor Shpilband. The federation has done everything so we could joined his team in America.
What will you remember from that three seasons, you’ve spent with Alexander Zhulin?
– We are very grateful to Zhulin. We parted with him well. He gave us a lot, in particular – name. Training with him, we were third at the Junior World Championships in Tallinn. He showed us how to present yourself to the big audience, with him we debuted on the World and European championships. This is a great experience, which we do not regret.
Several strong duets trains in Igor Shpilband’s group. With whom you more often cross in trainings, with whom you spend your free time outside of the rink?
– Igor has very friendly team, we communicate with almost everyone. We were very warmly welcomed. Speaking about trainings, there is no such thing as an elder or the younger group, today we can skate with very little skaters and tomorrow with Chock and Bates. The training process changes every day, we have floating schedule. Each pair has its own plan, which includes individual classes. Today, for example, with Shpilband. Tomorrow with Fabian Bourzat. The day after tomorrow with some other specialist. In Russia and Ukraine there is no such, there one coaching team prepares all together and all at once. We like the American model more.
Last season you had classics in the free dance. The experiment didn’t quite turn out? That’s why you came back to a more familiar style and decided that it would be better to create a cheerful mood on the ice, rather than playing drama?
– Yes, the experiment didn’t quite turn out. This season we took what we really feel, where we feel more naturally and confidently. This year is very important, we need to qualify for the Olympic Games 2018. So we decided not to risk.
Have you watched “Mic Macs à Tire-Larigot” before or after taking the music from this movie for your free program? By the way, whose idea it was?
– It was the idea of Igor Shpilband. We watched the movie already in the process of working on the program. It was a very interesting experience. The movie is unusual. Didn’t turn out to take characters from the movie, we realized that they will not be readable on the ice. Therefore, we didn’t tie with the story. Sasha created costumes together with specialists. Turned out very extraordinary.
What the audience should feel and think about, watching your dance, so you could say with confidence that you have achieved the desired effect?
– A smile should appear on viewer’s face, some happiness and joy. Don’t try to find a deep meaning in our dance, its goal to bring joy to people.
Have you received the compliments that Tatiana Tarasova generously awarded your free dance during the broadcast from Grand Prix in France?
– Of course, we have heard what she said, commenting on the events in Paris. Even more complements has been said not during the broadcast. Tatiana Anatolievna was coming to America. She saw the way we work. Even then, she liked us, she said a lot of warm words about our pair. We talked a long time with her, listened to all the praise, comments and suggestions. She also suggested what and how we can improve. We have even tried it. Perhaps we’ll try to realize her idea at the European Championships.
Whose idea it was to do an illusion camel spin which Tarasova liked so much? How long have you worked on it before it turned out?
– This spin we tried back in the junior age. The idea was ours. Once we were skating and got an idea: why single skaters use this element but ice dancers don’t. And we decided to try to make it in a duet.
Whose dances have left the strongest impression this season?
– Of course, Canadians’ Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. They have always been our idols. And I’ll tell you, we are incredibly happy that they’ve returned. Because even just to perform with them on the same ice it’s something unthinkable. This is pair that went down in history of world figure skating.
I believe that they are the best thing that happened in the ice dance. We have many who have tried to return, but often it looked quite funny, but not in the case of Virtue and Moir. Their programs are more than just sport, they make art on ice.
Interview by Anna Savchick
photos from Alexandra Nazarova’s Instagram aleksandralfs