Loena Hendrickx: “When you enjoy what you do, anything is possible, and there is always motivation to keep going.”
Interview with Loena Hendrickx. About the past season, medal at Worlds, golden dress, preparation and programs for this season and goals for the future.
source: olympics.com dd. 29 th November by Tatjana Flade
Loena, has your life changed since you won a medal at the World Championships?
Loena Hendrickx: Not too much. Right after the World Championships, I had a lot of interviews. But then everything calmed down. My attitude is the same as it was before; I am focused on working hard and doing what I love. However, a week before the Nebelhorn Trophy, I felt pressure; I wanted to prove myself that I was worthy of the world championship medal. But I calmed down after the competitions. I enjoy what I do. This, in my opinion, is the most important.
What motivates you this season, which follows such a successful previous one?
Loena Hendrickx: When you enjoy what you do, anything is possible, and there is always motivation to keep going.
What was the most important thing in preparing for the season?
Loena Hendrickx: I focused on the programs and all the elements. Also, I focused on my health, doing a lot of work off the ice so that my body was ready to train during the season.
In the short program, you skate to INNA’s “Si, mama” and Beyoncé’s “Mi Gente”.
Loena Hendrickx: I feel amazing in this program. It has joy and also the opportunity to put on a show, it suits me. This program is completely different from the first version of my free program to the composition of Roby Facchinetti “Poeta”. I must say that I felt more comfortable in the short program than in the free program. But I needed to try something new, something more classical and slower-paced, because I’d never skated like that before. So it’s good to show myself in such a style.
How did you choose music?
Loena Hendrickx: I received a lot of compliments for my last season’s free program. I was told that it was special and beautiful. Therefore, the selection of the programs for this season was truly difficult. But together with the people I work with, we found two great songs. The short program is a complete step out of my comfort zone. But I really wanted to show it in competitions! I knew that the choice of music was risky; either it would be really liked or the judges wouldn’t like it because of its unusualness. I think this style of music is more suitable for ice dance, and this kind of music is not often used. But in my career, I want to skate in different styles, so I wanted to make a program to this music. I like to challenge myself.
How did you work on skating in this style?
Loena Hendrickx: I just tried to listen to Adam (Adam Solya – choreographer – Olympics), because he is very good at getting into the details of what I need to stretch. I need to work a lot on the stretching of lines and legs.
Initially, you performed a free program to the composition of Roby Facchinetti “Poeta”. But after the Nebelhorn Trophy, you made changes to the music.
Loena Hendrickx: There wasn’t enough power in the music. And before the first stage of the Grand Prix, we urgently needed to make changes to the musical. So we changed the second part of the program to “Fallen Angel” by the Canadian composer Karl Hugo. And then we completely removed “Poeta” and added another composition by Karl, “Heaven”. We wanted to expand the artistry and emphasis in the music. The first part of “Heaven” is about an angel in heaven fighting with the saints, the second part is “The Fallen Angel”. This part is more active, powerful, and emotional. This music was composed specifically for me, and it’s unique to compose music after the program has been made. It’s brand new music, and I’m happy that Karl Hugo composed it for me.
What role does choreography play for you? Has your approach to it changed over the years of your career?
Loena Hendrickx: Choreography means a lot to me. Without weekly workouts, my programs wouldn’t be the way they are now. I am so grateful that the choreographer, who is the best for me, is based close to my home, and we can work a lot together.
How do you and Adam Solya work on the choreography? How do you choose music and styles, participate in the work on programs?
Loena Hendrickx: First of all, we think about style. If the style is chosen, then we pay attention to the songs on the radio, and we listen to them a lot on the Spotify service. Then we start working on the choreography. Adam comes up with ideas, I do what he says, and he watches how I embody the idea in my movements. If this is not what he intended, then we will try something else. And this process continues until the whole program is completed. That’s how it builds up.
In the short program, you perform a combination at the end. It’s risky enough.
Loena Hendrickx: Last year, I had a safer option. If I didn’t get a 3-3 combination, then I had the opportunity to do it after the planned solo triple jump. But I need to improve every year. Thus, I wanted to complicate the program in order to grow. The combination in the second half of the program is also an opportunity to get more points.
How do you choose costumes? How important are costumes to you?
Loena Hendrickx: We find ideas by browsing social media. Having found several interesting models, we combine them into one dress, and the drawing of the sketch begins. When it is ready, the dress is sewn, and then it is sent to me.
Last season, you amazed everyone with your golden dress. How did you come up with the idea to do something like this?
Loena Hendrickx: The idea was to do something special, something challenging. We began to look for a company that could make such a costume and found it in Finland. At the beginning, it was scary because I got used to those models of dresses in which I had skated all my life. And we hoped that this time the new costume would be very different from the previous ones. We are happy that we made this decision. I think that the golden dress is the most beautiful figure skating costume that I have ever seen. Initially, it was a model of a wedding dress, which was transformed with the help of our imagination.
To what extent did your successes influence the development of figure skating in Belgium?
Loena Hendrickx: Most of the time I skate in the Netherlands. But I also train in Belgium – two days a week. The coaches said that there are more people in our club this year than last year. And that’s great. But unfortunately the prices are high. In addition, many ice rinks are closed because they are expensive to maintain.
What are your goals for this season?
Loena Hendrickx: Of course I want to win more medals. At the Grand Prix Final. At the next competitions, I want to be in the top three. At the World Championships, the competition will be intense, so it’s necessary to try to do your best and be focused. I think after the last season, I need to trust myself that I am able to win more medals. Last year, I could not even imagine that I would win a medal at the World Championships. And it happened. Last season was crazy. I won a medal at the Grand Prix stage, a small medal at the European Championships, and then became a medalist of the World Championships. I am proud of myself for surviving difficult times and injuries and never giving up. It’s because I really love to skate. This love is so strong that it has kept me going.
Why did you think it was impossible for you to win a medal at Worlds?
Loena Hendrickx: I don’t see myself among the best skaters in the world, I don’t know why. I think I’m being hard on myself. I want everything to be perfect, but since not everything is perfect in skating, maybe this is the reason. I never thought that I would achieve such a result, but I am very proud of myself, and I know that I worked very hard for this and that I really love figure skating. I think I deserve this award.
How would you describe your character?
Loena Hendrickx: I’m the type who doesn’t like to be in the front. On the ice, I am a completely different person because off the ice, I am shy. I can talk a lot with a person face-to-face, but it’s hard for me to communicate in a group. But, in my opinion, what I have achieved has helped me learn to stand up for myself. I am shy in life, but on the ice I feel free and do not seem shy to myself.