Natalia Bestemianova: Charisma that pair shows isn’t valued today

Posted on 2020-01-11 • No comments yet


Natalia Bestemianova about modern ice dance.

by Vladislav Zhukov for dd. 6th January, 2019


Since you skated, ice dancing has changed beyond recognition. What do you think about these changes?

– You are right, dances have changed a lot. You can talk about it in different ways. On the one hand, some criterias have appeared. But it seems to me, the bias has become even greater than before. Someone likes, someone doesn’t like and our discipline depends a lot on it…

Very subjective …

– Terrible subjectivism, yes. And then, when you depend on one technical specialist who gives levels… It’s good that now at least judges can give pluses properly, at least this has changed. In any case, the rules are adjusted and become better and better. Because initially, when they just have changed, it was a very difficult situation. People put puzzles together, that’s all, no creativity. Now they give way for some creative things.

How do you think, what should be done to make ice dance more objective, understandable to the ordinary audience?

– Firstly, it would be necessary to have judges who skated themselves.

Is it that important?

– Of course. Well, there are people there whom I have never seen on ice. A third of them skated, perhaps. And it’s not enough just to skate, there should be some level of judges, they should have the qualifications. There were many judges who did not have any qualifications, even very high-ranking people.

What about the audience? Perhaps it would be better to have more specific technical elements, to make it clearer what to look at during a performance?

– You know, I would talk not about technical elements. Dances, as I have already noted, are flying sparks. We are talking about a duet, which means that we should see the dance of a man and a woman.

Not two men or two women. Very often a boy and a girl skate and you don’t understand who is skating a man and who is a woman. There is some kind of unmanly or unfeminine story. There are different stories. Therefore, it is important for me that the partner carries his male line, and the girl is feminine and passionate, not a “heavy truck”, which is very often happens now.

And of course, this charisma that pair shows, it is not valued today. There are charismatic pairs, and there are those who leave no impression. They just have skated, and you have already forgot what they were doing. And you wait for their performance to the end … There are pairs who have finished the performance, and you think: “Oh, is that all?” And there are those when in the middle of the program you think: “When will it end?” It should be reflected in scores, but now it’s not. And how without it? After all, this is top level – to do all the technical elements and at the same time captivate the audience. This is the main goal, and not just do these mohawks, twizzles, withstand the right amount of seconds in a lift.

How do you assess the current level of ice dance in Russia?

– Firstly, a huge number of pairs competed at the Russian Championships in Krasnoyarsk, which is great. This reminds me of our times when Andrei and I just teamed up. At the Spartakiad of the peoples of the USSR there were more than 20 pairs. We started to compete at five o’clock and finished only after 12. And 14 pairs in Krasnoyarsk – you know, they just don’t allow more. There are probably more of them, but such rules. And I think that this is a lot, because there were times when we didn’t have even seven pairs. Ice dance is a very long process, it takes several years for the pair to reach the level of a participant of the Russian Nationals. It doesn’t happen here as in pair skating, where they took two singles, and if they are talented guys, next year they can compete at the Junior Nationals. In ice dance, this is unreal.


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