Natalia Zabijako and Alexander Enbert: Our short program is the story of Snow Queen
Interview with Natalia Zabijako and Alexander Enbert. About programs, elements for the new season, pair skating in general and nutrition.
by Emma Gazhieva for sport24.ru
Will you have new short program?
Alexander: Yes, there will be such a program, with a story, something like the Snow Queen, a fantastic confrontation. Last season we started the theme of confrontation, it’s interesting for us.
What about music?
Alexander: The Fire Within performed by Jennifer Thomas & The Rouge pianist. It has nothing to do with the idea of the program, we just listened to it, Natalia traditionally wrote a beautiful poem, told us a great idea and we combined it all.
The music is very cool. Is it hard to skate tu such an emotional music?
Natalia: At first it can be difficult when you just start looking for yourself in this artistic image. But it is much more interesting, because you know what you’re skating about. This is not just some kind of romantic image, but a story, a plot. We like it a lot.
Alexander: It’s very interesting when you and choreographer suggest something to each other. This year, we worked with Sergei Komolov for the first time, when we got an idea to do a program with a plot, we immediately decided that we would ask him, because he does it very well. It turned out very cool.
Will you keep the your last season free program?
Alexander: Yes, we will probably keep it. Will do some rebranding, a little updates. This free program is the first time in my entire career, when at Worlds I was asked so many times, in almost every interview whether I’d feel sad to say goodbye to this program. Probably, at these moments I had the thought that we should keep it.
This program is really very cool, the best that we had. Considering that this year we missed the European Championships, we are sure that we still have where else to show this program.
Natasha, should we expect some dramatic changes for the upcoming season? Will there be a new haircut?
Natalia: There will be something interesting, exactly for the short program. But you will see this at competitions.
Alexander: Our new short program should suit Natasha. We tried to pick up something that would be comfortable for her to bring her image into the program. So it will stay and will be even a little stronger
Last season was not easy, but it ended well, you won two bronzes, you took silver at the Russian Nationals. But what is lacking to win gold?
Alexander: Good question. We always think about it, from year to year we try something new. And from year to year it gets better, every year we ranking higher by several positions. It feels like if we continue to work at the same pace, then next season we will have a very good result.
New experience for our Russian pairs: Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov went overseas to work with Marina Zueva …
Alexander: Honestly, it is difficult to draw up any conclusions, we don’t know the whole situation. Although the conclusions are simple: it will be either better or worse. Quite a big change, it’s unlikely that everything will remain as it is. Will see, it’s difficult to predict.
Tarasova / Morozov have been with you for a long time, your direct competitors. Is it more convenient when rivals are right next to you, motivates you?
Alexander: Of course, it’s more comfortable and more fun. Not only in sport, it was also great in life. Additional motivation, support. Indeed, they were strong sparring partners, it is convenient, good and right.
How do you think why in pair skating there’s no such battles between fans like in ladies single skating now? In fact, you and Tarasova / Morozov train with one coach, in the same school, direct competitors like Medvedeva and Zagitova were. But there is a war among fans, and in pair skating everything is quiet and peaceful.
Natalia: It seems to me that it has always been like that, single skaters are discussed and compared more intensely.
Alexander: Probably, ladies’ single skating is currently more popular, and among the larger number of people there are apparently those who send negative. Statistically there are more chances that you will have such.
Do they write you something negative?
Natalia: Actually, they write some good things. Well, or I don’t notice.
Alexander: Of course, someone writes something like “I don’t like the program.” Well, it’s ok that someone will not like it. We are doing everything we can. They send some parts, say about mistakes. So we see them too, we know that we can skate better. Thank you for your attention.
Natalia: And it’s a nightmare to look at yourself on video.
Alexander: Yes, I don’t know how to look at myself on video, poor fans, how do they watch it. Maybe I’ll watch one performance from the season.
Figure skating progresses very much, both single and pair. Are you planning to add something new to the programs for the next season?
Natalia: No, probably we won’t include the ultra-c elements next season, perhaps we will complicate the entries and will keep the elements.
Alexander: Yes, the we have already tried throws, we have experience, we won’t touch them for sure, we have two of the most difficult throws that are generally possible. This season no one did quad, especially since there were so many injuries. Almost everyone who tried quadruple or three and a half, got injured somehow and missed some important competitions. So we won’t do new throws.
We’ll think about the rest. But this season will be a bit quieter for us, because I didn’t have medical permission to perform at the European Championships. To avoid such problems in the future the doctors gave a recommendation to rest more this season, to recover. Therefore, this season will be calmer for us in terms of learning new elements, competitions, we will probably skip the Challenger Series.
Sasha once said in an interview that even the extra 500 grams brought from vacation play a role in training. How much did you gain this year?
Alexander: Minus two. I’m not weighing every day now, but two weeks ago I had a minus two from my competitive weight. I don’t know how it happened.
500 grams is the minimum weight you can feel in your partner. And this doesn’t mean that it will be hard, you just notice that something has changed.
Natasha how can you gain 500 grams?
Natalia: If I rest and do nothing.
Alexander: But it seems to me that last time Natasha rested and did nothing when she was 6 years old. I look at her Instagram stories from vacation and see push-ups, running.
I go to Natasha’s Instagram and see cakes, another cake, pancakes …
Natalia: It’s just between runs. I can say about nutrition for me. When I cook various goodies, I try to make them right. I don’t use sugar, eggs, milk, replace them with more vegetarian ingredients. It makes what I cook less calorie, but no less tasty.
Alexander: What you see on Instagram and what she actually eats is different things. Natasha eats right.
Natalia: Of course, I eat salads, cereals, seafood, drink fresh juices.
What is your height and weight?
Alexander: My height is 189 cm and my competitive weight is 87 kg.
What if less?
Alexander: Then it is harder to do lifts and twists. And if more it’s harder to jump. Now I will gain weight. Hope that muscles (laughs).
Natalia: My height is 164 cm, competitive weight is 46 kg.
Can you afford a bigger weight in the offseason?
Natalia: Well, yes 47kg (both laugh)
Questions from the subscribers:
Have you ever had any feelings as between a man and a woman?
Alexander: No. Only a very good friendship, which is still there.
Question to Natasha. How to overcome fear and start trusting your partner after a single skating?
Natalia: What if there was no fear at all?
Alexander: Natasha is super-fearless.
Natalia: I became a pair skater because I liked it and I wanted it. I have always been fascinated by lifts, throws. I wanted to do it. And when you want something, you are not afraid – you just go and do it. Moreover, when you have a partner whom you can fully trust, the fear doesn’t even appear.