Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii: “It seems that arm choreography was the hardest thing for absolutely all athletes who have ever skated Swan Lake.”
Interview with European Champions Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii on the eve of their fist compatitions in the Olympic season. The guys told which pairs performances they follow, told about reasons for not competing after the test skates and changes in the programs.
source: russian.rt.com dd. 21st October by Elena Vaitsekhovskaya
Twice in your career you have competed at the Grand Prix in Canada, but you have never opened the series in the United States. Do you have any anticipation in this regard?
Aleksandra Boikova: We are really looking forward to the start of competitions. We missed them. Thanks to those Canadian Grand-Prix that you mentioned, we are already accustomed to some extent that at the beginning of the season we have to fly far and long to the competitions. Accordingly, we know the well-being problems that we have to deal with in such cases. But the most important thing is that these competitions will take place. Therefore, we want to get to Las Vegas, go on the ice as soon as possible.
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: The North American audience is generally very friendly to us. In any case, amazing emotions remained from the trips to Canada. We would love to go there again as tourists. If we talk about the current trip to Nevada, then we watched American movies, we know a lot about this state – in this regard, American culture has not passed us by. It is clear that competitions are in the foreground for us, but for the audience this is primarily a show, I think the American public will appreciate it. In Las Vegas, it seems to me, they understand a lot about the show and should give a warm welcome to the skaters.
All previous competitions in Las Vegas were held without an audience.
Aleksandra Boikova: They sent us an information release, in which it was mentioned that tickets for the event are on sale, which means there will be an audience.
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: Judge for yourself: all the NBA games are now being held with the audience, at the September US Open Tennis Championships, 100% of the stands were full, so figure skating in the United States will unlikely miss their attention.
This is not the first time when I notice that Dmitrii follows what is happening in world sports very closely. Do you watch the skating competition where you don’t compete?
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: I watch all these events exclusively within the framework of what interests me. I simply don’t have the opportunity to sit in front of the TV or computer for days and watch everything. I treat figure skating purely professionally: I note some ideas- in a word, everything that we can use in our training.
Can you give any specific examples?
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: Yes, of course. First of all, these are pairs and ice dance. I watched with great interest the performance of Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron at the competitions in Finland. They always have interesting transitions between elements, interesting lifts, choreography, interaction in their pair. Before that, Sasha and I also followed the performances of Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres, when they skated together for France. In my understanding, this pair showed very progressive skating, rich not only with elements, but with a lot of small things – original entrances to elements, exits from them.
Aleksandra Boikova: I would say that all the programs of Vanessa and Morgan were very “tasty”. Filled but not overloaded. After all, there are many programs that are perceived not as skating, but as acrobatics.
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: Sasha is right: there should always be a balance in any program. James and Cipres kept this balance. They even put acrobatic transitions into their performances in such a way that the general outline of the program was not interrupted and the presentation did not suffer.
And what can you say about pair Vanessa James – Eric Radford?
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: It’s difficult to talk about this now. Eric is an Olympic champion, Olympic bronze medalist in an individual competitions. He and Meagan Duhamel won the world championships twice, that is, he has much more titles than Vanessa. Their experience in competing on the international level is huge. But it’s interesting to see how the athletes develop during the season, and Vanessa and Eric have had only two competitions together: one in Canada and one in Finland.
This season you have two programs choreographed by ice dancers – Nikolai Morozov and Alexander Zhulin. Which of these programs is more difficult from a dancing point of view?
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: The short program is more complete with elements. There are seven of them, but that’s not even the main thing. The short program should always shine as much as possible, to be polished. After all, it is not for nothing we have a saying that you can’t win with a short program, but you can lose because of it. It is like a business card, an indicator of the athlete’s skill, skating skills. The same step sequence (which, by the way, is not present in the free program) in figure skating is a demonstration of professionalism. Actually, the entire short program is primarily about this: in two and a half minutes, you must not only do everything you have to do as well as possible and show high-quality skating, but also convey the artistic image. Therefore, the short program is always more difficult.
Sasha, do you like being a swan in this program?
Aleksandra Boikova: I like it very much. But it was difficult. This primarily concerned arm choreography, which each of the specialists explained to me in different ways. I looked at different ballerinas, listened to everything they told me, but this only added to my inner panic: what to do with all this? Now, it seems to me, we have found a middle ground, but it’s still difficult: ballet moves put a lot of load on shoulder blades, but I felt the effect as soon as I started to move correctly. It seems to me that arm choreography was the hardest thing for absolutely all athletes who have ever skated Swan Lake.
You were announced for the Panin-Kolomenkin cup in St. Petersburg, but at the last moment you withdrew. Why?
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: We have been announced for this event long ago, but in the course of preparation, certain adjustments are always made. This time, the exact dates of the competitions and their schedule were not known for a long time, but when this information appeared, we realized that this start, for a number of reasons, did not fit into the preparation schedule.
Has anything changed from a technical point of view in your programs since the test skates?
Aleksandra Boikova: You will see this in Las Vegas. We really changed some moments, some of them may seem insignificant to someone, but they actually affect the quality of skating, the quality of the elements.
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: Programs tend to be polished during the season. I can recall our own experience two years ago when we were skating our James Bond. The first reviews were just awful: a strange program, about nothing, images are not shown at all, and the skating is so-so … But a month later, when we showed the program on Skate Canada, the reviews were extremely enthusiastic. Why? I think that happens because we skate the program more and athletes begin to feel it completely differently. Sometimes it takes more time, sometimes less, but the fact that the perception of the same program changes during the season is a fact.
From all that has been said, I conclude that only the little things are being finalized, and the main technical elements remain the same.
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: We have two working versions of the free program: a more standard one and a more complex one. The development of the program in terms of complexity is about jumps, so the standard version is a side by side triple salchow and a combination of three toe loops. And the second option, on which we have been working intensively with jumping specialists from the very beginning of the season, is a combination salchow – euler – salchow, and a solo jump – toe loop. We really hope that as the season progresses, the new jumping combination will be ready.
Are your costumes for the Olympic season ready?
Aleksandra Boikova: Just before the flight, there was the last fitting, so we fly to Las Vegas fully equipped.