Daisuke Takahashi: “The ice dance skates were procured in secret so that no one would know that I had ordered them.”
Translation of Kana Muramoto’s and Daisuke Takahashi’s comments about the start of their path in ice dance together.
original source: esse-online.jp dd. 9th February 2024 by Akiko Tamura.
Translation of the comments made by Kana Muramoto and Daisuke Takahashi in an interview for Esse online before publishing their official book.
“Daisuke Takahashi: I returned to compete in singles in 2018, but Mie. Hamada had been telling me for a long time, “You should do ice dance.” I kept saying, “No, I just came back to singles. I’m not doing it.”
Kana Muramoto: I had no idea that coach Hamada had been suggesting ice dance to Daichan (Takahashi) all along. However, I had decided to wait until after the 2018 Japanese Nationals to approach Daichan. I approached him in January 2019. He asked for some time to think about it, and I got his answer in July.
Daisuke Takahashi: (When approached) at first, I was like, “Huh? What is she thinking?” She was an Olympian, but I was a complete beginner in ice dance, and considering my age… I was wondering what she was talking about. But even though I had made a comeback in singles, I could see what lay ahead, and if I were to take on a new challenge, age-wise, this would be my last chance.
Kana Muramoto: Around May 2019, I contacted Daichan again to hear his thoughts. Then, during a training camp for the ice show, it was decided that we would try out ice dance. We went early in the morning so no one would see us, and he had already prepared ice dance boots and blades. When I saw that, I realized he was quite serious, and I was quite surprised within myself.
It was a decisive moment, so I was extremely nervous. In the pressure of how to show the beauty of ice dance, knowing that he had prepared the boots relieved some of the pressure for me.
Daisuke Takahashi: The ice dance skates were procured in secret so that no one would know that I had ordered them. I thought, “If I’m going to do ice dance, I need dance boots.” I didn’t think it would be okay to do it wearing my skates for single skating, so I brought them along.
Q: How different are ice dance skates from the skates for single skating?
Kana Muramoto: They’re completely different. When I first put on ice dance skates, I really couldn’t skate. The blades are shorter, so the center of gravity is different from singles. The back is also shorter, and overall, they’re shorter than skates for single skating, so finding the balance and where to put the center of gravity was challenging. The length of the blades is different, and the toe picks are smaller and they looked like newborn fawns. Also, in spins, since there are two people in ice dance, the center of gravity is not within yourself but between the two people, so it was very difficult to find that.
Daisuke Takahashi: The difference in boots wasn’t something I felt much, but not having a toe pick was a bit of a struggle. Skating itself didn’t change much, but I was surprised at how difficult it was to do the twizzles.
The blades are short, so they spin quickly. I thought it would be easier because they’re short, that I could do it easily. I didn’t realize balance would be so difficult. When you put your weight down, everything speeds up. It curves much faster than you think it would. I struggled with dance spins for about a year and a half to get used to them. I got used to the boots quickly, but I still struggle with spins now (laughs).
Q: What were your impressions when you skated together for the first time?
Daisuke Takahashi: Initially, I disliked having my personal space invaded, so I was afraid of skating in close proximity with another person. I also didn’t know how much pressure to put into the hold. Even going straight ahead, in singles, I could go freely, but with two people, it’s not as free. In singles, it’s like swinging your upper body, but in ice dance, you keep the upper body still and twist from within. The way you use your core is completely different. Since you can’t just go straight ahead, I tensed up, making it difficult for my partner to move. Getting used to that was tough.
Kana Muramoto: When I skated with Daichan for the first time, I thought he had a unique rhythm. It’s hard to explain in words, but there’s a very subtle rhythm of up and down movements, and the way he uses his knees is unique. There were moments where I thought, “That’s where he extends!” and I was amazed. When I tried to match that rhythm and we clicked, I felt the edge firmly grip the ice. Because of his unique rhythm, I felt like it would take time. But in ice dance, there’s also the aspect of whether holding hands feels right or not. It depends on the person whether it feels comfortable or not, there’s a sense of fit. With Daichan, it was fine. It felt comfortable, and there was no discomfort.”
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