Papadakis and Cizeron: “Music masterpieces are very difficult to cut – you immediately have a feeling that you are killing music”
Interview with Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron for Russian media. About new programs, costumes, missing Wolds, friendships in the group and losing to Sinitsina and Katsalapov.
source: sports.ru dd. 11th October 2021, by Maiia Bagryantseva
Costumes for your new programs, is it the final version?
Gabriella Papadakis: Maybe there will be small changes, but the basic idea will remain the same – at least in the rhythm dance. Let’s see, everything is possible.
Guillaume Cizeron: These costumes are a good starting point. Will think further. Usually we sit down with our whole team, share ideas, think about which colors and styles will suit this or that program. Designer Mathieu Caron did our costumes this season. But of course it’s a joint process.
Gabriella Papadakis: Guillaume, by the way, does a lot of sketches himself, he draws well. Of course, it is important for us what to wear – so here the decision is up to us. Well, it is also important that both we and the judges doesn’t get tired with the the costumes during the season.
Did you start working on your free program last year? There was a talk about tango.
Gabriella Papadakis: We really prepared a tango for the last season, but different, a classical one. And the music was also classical tango, and the choreography. At first we thought that it would remain in this classical version for the Olympic season.
But then a little time has passed and we realized that, probably, this is not what we want to skate in such an important year. We changed the music, took some of the old choreography, started from it and made a modern dance out of traditional tango, on the verge of lyric ballet. It was important for us to add complexity, multi-layeredness to this dance.
Which version of tango is closer to you classical or contemporary?
Guillaume Cizeron: These are two different looks, which, I think, suit us and our skating in the same way. The idea was to make a mix of styles, because fusion was always interesting for us. We are interested in taking a classical music and making it in a contemporary style. Or vice versa, take the modern music and make something smooth and soft to it. We love contrasts, something that catches the viewer’s eye.
We want to reach a new level, to combine all the best that we have done before, to preserve our style so that we remain recognizable, but at the same time add new challenges.
Therefore, a mix of styles with an emphasis on tango, modern music – and at the same time some classical and even lyrical moments – is a serious task. In such a program, you get tired much faster, because you have to switch constantly from one style and mood to another. It is difficult to keep so many different shades in one program, and we thought that this very composition allows us to combine many different elements. In fact, the entire composition is one powerful crescendo.
We also liked the idea of taking one music piece as a whole, avoiding cutting music, not combining different pieces of music from different works – even if it’s the same composer and the same album. Musical masterpieces are very difficult to cut – you immediately have a feeling that you are killing music. It’s like taking a Picasso painting and cutting it into pieces. Ok, specifically, Picasso might not have suffered much in this case, ha ha ha. Let it be Leonardo da Vinci.
So we are very happy that we have kept the same musical line – from start to end. And this 100% met our expectations from the music: we wanted a tango flavor, but at the same time we wanted to show modern contemporary choreography.
How difficult was the decision to miss the 2021 World Championships in Stockholm?
Gabriella Papadakis: It was really hard at first. We were preparing for the World Championships, even more so, we were preparing to spend a normal season. And then, one by one, they started canceling the competitions. We could not train in our usual regime. Then the unknown – will the championship be canceled or not? So at first – yes, we really wanted to go to Stockholm, of course, we didn’t want to lose the title, and we just really missed the competitions.
But then we began to think more globally: a trip to Worlds without the proper amount of training, without competitive experience in the season would hardly help us to enter the Olympic season well after that. Moreover, restrictions due to the pandemic. The problem is that if I left Canada for Europe, I simply would not be able to fly back to the country. These restrictions were canceled only a few weeks ago – imagine I would have returned to my ice rink only on September 7th! We could not afford such a risk in the Olympic season.
We thought: what is our main goal? To go to another Worlds or prepare in the best way for the Olympics? When you look at this situation from this side, you understand that we did everything right. In addition, thanks to this decision, we began preparations much earlier. We didn’t have to take a vacation after the World Championships to recover.
But watching the competitions on TV was very difficult, of course. It’s a very strange feeling not to be on the ice with everyone else.
How unexpected was losing to Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov at the European Championships 2020? What happened then?
Guillaume Cizeron: First, we always try to take advantage of all the negative aspects. At the very least, this is another reason to improve and learn something. We knew that we were going to Graz not in the best shape. Before that competitions, we had almost no normal training – in three weeks, from Christmas to the start of the European Championships, we hardly did a couple of entire run-throughs of the programs.
We had various reasons for this – and of a personal nature as well. Any career has its ups and downs, it was a down. You cannot stand at the top for 8 years and not stumble. This is simply impossible. When the Montreal World Championships was canceled that season, we were already in a very burnt-out state. Therefore, for us it happened very in time, we needed rest. It was necessary to take a breath, because we were endlessly in this wheel – training-competition-training-competition.
Gabriella Papadakis: Skating at a high level season after season is very difficult. You live in a crazy rhythm, you hardly rest, so yes – you can say that we had a classic work burnout.
Guillaume Cizeron: But at that moment we still decided to go to the European Championships – because we are athletes, we want to compete and show what we are capable of. The performance turned out to be not the best, but it was also a good thing – we needed this sign. We should have listened to ourselves better.
Gabriella Papadakis: By the way, it helped us a lot after a year – when it was necessary to decide whether we were going to the Worlds or not. We win because we work hard, train, go to competitions, keep in good shape – so when something from this list is missing, it is much more difficult to win. It’s true for everyone. Therefore, we decided to concentrate on work – and train, train and train again.
Your group has amazingly friendly relations between duets: you support each other so touchingly, worry, cheer. Which Olympic podium would be ideal for you?
Guillaume Cizeron: Well, ideally the gold goes to us, of course. And undoubtedly, it would be nice for us to stand on the podium with our friends, but at this level of skating, any duet from the top five deserves an Olympic podium. We have incredible guys skating in our group – and not only in our.
Gabriella Papadakis: Of course, we know the duets from our group much better – we see each other at the rink every day, and not only at the rink. But there are two more strong Russian duos – it is clear that we are less familiar with them, because we meet only at competitions, but they are wonderful – both from a sports and from a human point of view. We are very lucky in ice dance: we have a cool atmosphere. Friendly, respectful, very healthy.
Guillaume Cizeron: In our group we are all really good friends. We managed to separate rivalry on the ice and personal relationships. We spend a lot of time together outside the ice. But our friendship does not prevent us from competing at full strength.
Gabriella Papadakis: It’s not boxing after all. You are not fighting with someone, you are competing with yourself. When you’re all sitting in the locker room after the performance, tired, stressed, you all feel the same. And you understand each other perfectly. No one will understand us better than our rival.
You have a new coach at your academy – Scott Moir. Are your considering the option to coach right after your career?
Guillaume CIzeron: For now, I’ll be careful to say that I would rather not become a coach.
Gabriella Papadakis: I would like to stay in the world of figure skating – maybe conduct seminars, help with choreography.
Guillaume Cizeron: She dreams of becoming a technical controller!
Gabriella Papadakis: The main thing is not to sit in the kiss-and-cry!
Guillaume Cizeron: Well, maybe someday … Never say never. I know people who have promised to themselves not to become a coach – and now I see them at the boards.
Gabriella Papadakis: My mom is a coach, she coaches me. Therefore, I definitely do not want to become a coach. Well, at least for your own children.
Related topics: Gabriella Papadakis Guillaume Cizeron
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