Translation of an interview with Natalia Zabijako and Alexander Enbert
What helped you to overcome the difficulties of last season?
Natalia: I think a great desire to skate. The very next day after the injury, I knew that as soon as doctors allow, I’ll go on ice. However, recovery took a long time. Sasha and I have started prepare fully for this season one and a half months before the test skates, at training camp in Italy.
Alexander: Natasha received official approval from the doctors only six weeks ago, and since then we started to work in full force. Of course, some simple things we tried before. I saw and felt that Natasha is keen to continue skating, and my task was to support her.
It may sound paradoxical, but now injuries become “usual thing” in pair skating. Quad throws, twists, ultra-c elements lead to minor or more serious problems. After Natasha’s injury we have done all the recommendations of doctors, gradually began to work, and received the permission, started to skate new programs.
Did you do programs a bit earlier?
Alexander: Yes, the program were done because this work doesn’t require coordinate and strength training. All took place in a calm atmosphere, without heavy loads. Of course, when we started to do programs, we previously consulted with doctors. Each training session was held under the supervision of our doctors and was agreed with them. By the time we were allowed to train fully, we knew the order of elements in the programs, the general contours, so we only had to skate what we already have.
Who did the programs?
Alexander: Igor Chinyaev, with whom we have worked last year, did short program and Alexander Gazsi did the free program. We have seen how Alex worked with Evgenia and Vova (Tarasova – Morozov), We liked it, we talked with Nina Mikhailovna (Moser), said that we would to try, because Alex has an interesting point of view on a lot of things in figure skating.
Natalia: Since Alex is a young choreographer, the programs have something more modern, new moves, new choreography for us.
Alexander: For the short program we chose “Snowstorm” by Sviridov and for the free program – «Cry Me A River» by Michael Buble. It was a new style of music for us – rhythmic, modern, jazz. It seemed to us that it’s very suitable for figure skating. And in general, we fell in love with the music as soon as Alex turned it on.
Natalia: Whole day we were chosing music for the free program. We sat together and listened to different music. It was so, that one melody seems to be good, but a little bit not what we wanted, that the other is also good, but ours hearts aren’t in it. And when Alex put it, we knew – our! We were ready immediately go on the ice and start doing something.
Alexander: First, we liked music, then listened the lyrics, then listened again to think how to do it all in the program.
Since this music has jazz moments, you had to look for something extra to add?
Alexander: Of course, we are constantly in search, working non-stop. New specialist in our team Olga Orlova helps us. We work with her on the ice and in the gym. This free program is actually something new for us. We really don’t want that after performance people say that we changed music but remained the same. Short program is in our traditional style, which suits us, but you always want to find something new, to surprise the audience.
It’s clear that after injury you shouldn’t rush and at the first competition we won’t see everything you plan to show in the future. Am I right?
Alexander: I agree. Six months that we missed, of course, affect. Maybe it’s not so visible, but it’s in details. Still, we had a pretty big break in active work, which we used to do with Nina Mikhailovna. Therefore, we won’t have time before the first competition to show our maximum, but 85% we will show. It’ll be difficult to do a triple axel throw at the first competition. We train this element on the safety belt. Good double moves to a triple. Everything else we’ll show.
Natalia: We’ll try to go step by step – triple axel throw, then something else new. We think that in the future we will be able to add other ultra-c elements.
What advice would give yourself to make upcoming season scoring for you?
Alexander: To begin with, we would like to do what we did last year and add a triple axel. At the Russian Nationals we showed all the elements – triple twist, two triple jumps, a combination of three jumps, lifts of forth level. If this season we add a triple axel throw, I think, we’ll be satisfied.
Natalia: The most important thing is that our pair is almost formed. Even after a long break it was much easier to start than when we first teamed up and didn’t feel each other. And now, from the first training everything got back.
Alexander: Now we need to show it at competitions.