Vaitsehovskaya's interview with Druchinina about Kawaguti/Smirnov
Kawaguti/Smiwnov have a very dance like programme
The first day of the competition was opened with the men qualification round but that (excuse me) was not the highlight. Everyone were much more interested in the pairs practice that went at the same time. It was interesgint to see people who couldn't care less about the pairs skating popping in.
I met the two time ice dance world champion Maksim Staviski in the mixed zoned, apparently he was watching the pairs practice as well, even though he came to the Megasport in the first place in order to support the Bulgarian single skater Georgy Genchadze and his coach Andrey Lutai.
MS: My favourites are Volosozhar/Trankov. I used to cheer for Savchenko/Schelwkowy, but now I'd like a Russian pair to win. Why not Kawaguti/Smirnov? It's not that I like some skaters more than the other, it's just taht the sport is a cruel thing. One has to be an extremely healthy man to fight for the medals. I wish Yuko was all fine, but every time when I see her on the ice I recall that horrible shoulder injury she suffered for more than a year and I feel more pity than interest. Volosozhar/Trankov are a different matter - they are young, healthy, look great on practices and I'd love to see whether they can deliver.
It's kind of a shame the practices are not opened for the public - there is always plenty to see. We recalled the `winning a practice' term again yesterday - this is what the strongest skaters aim for once they set their foot on the ice.
Even a glance was enough to see: all 4 pairs (besides the two above it's Pang/Tong) are in a great shape and have no advantages one over the other.
It seems the level of the skating will not matter too much, - shared Tatiana Druchinina, a world champion in rhythmic gymnastic in the past and a choreographer in Moskvina team now her thoughts. It seems the one with the best nerves will win.
Once the practice was over Druchinina and I moved to the mixed zone.
EV: Knowing Moskvina I have no doubts that your students Kawaguti/Smirnov were in a great shape a month ago. What about now though?
TD: We took some pressure off the training before building it again, we wasted some time on some minor annoyances...
EV: What kind of annoyanceS?
TD: For example Sasha's boot was torn apart. We had to figure how to glue it back since there was no time to break a new pair of skates. Whether the skaters are ready we'll see later -their practice was quite good.
EV: Many consider Kawaguti/Smirnov's "Moonlight" programme a masterpiece. I tend to agree your students have never skated a better programme. What do you think?
TD: This programme is indeed very different from everything else they've done. It contains some very difficult steps, transitions. It's a very dance-like programme, which is not common in the pairs, but nevertheless all the elements, throws and jumps are included. Another feature is the lack of stops. They skate all the time and do it so softly that it gives a feeling as if they were skating on one breath. You want to watch some more but then it's over...
EV: You have a huge experience in choreographing and polishing the programmes. When does it become obvious the programme is a success?
TD: Usually I hesitate quite alot. If the programme doesn't work it becomes obvious immediately - one competition is sometimes enough.
EV: Can you give an example?
TD: One of the first programmes Kazakova/Dmitriev skated.
EV: In those costimes in stripes with the bows on various body parts?
TD: See, you knew immediately what I meant. Though it's different. I didn't work with Yuko and Sasha when it was choreographed as I was in the USA. They worked with Moskvina and Petr Tchernyshev. When I came back and went to my first pracice I felt in love with the programme immediately. It was still not the finla version yet it was immediately obvious how much the skaters have changed, how well do they feel the music and how well do they blend in it. It's very important. I remember once working for hours with a skater on just one gesture. It just didn't "sound" right for us. One can learn anything but it's more important how do you feel performing the moves on the ice. The crowd usually feel the fake so it shouldn't be on the ice.
EV: Do you follow your collegues work?
TD: Of course.
EV: Are you able to see and appreciate something that you can't do yourself?
TD: Yes. It's not always easy to admit, but sometimes it happens that you see a move and you are amazed by it.
EV: Whose work impresses you the most?
TD: There are many. Marina Zueva, for instance. Her canadian ice dance team amazed me. Especially their FD. I think such programmes should be saved and played from time to time to remind what the programmes should be like. It is as if everythign was so simple, but the impact on the crowd is huge. It is part of the coach's talent - to know what will go and what will not. Nikolai Morozov has a good feeling for it. I think it's a hunch - to choreograph exactly the programme that will show the best qualities of the skater.
EV: Back to Kawaguti/Smirnov - they've been Russia n.1 for seveal years and proved they are indeed the number 1. With Volosozhar/Trankov showing up it seems their status was removed, even though the new pair did not yet participate any major international competiition. Does it bother your pupils?
TD: Quite the opposite. I think both the skaters and us like working much more when there is a competition. It's hard to be a leader on your own. The second a good rival shows the situationg changes, you want to prove being the best. It's true for the practices as well - they work harder.
EV: In other words - that was the reason for the competition in Moskvina's group?
TD: Of course.
EV: It seemed to me loosing in the Russian nationals was quite a blow for Kawaguti/Smirnov.
TD: Well, what do you expect if one wanted to win, won and then all of the suddent lost? The fact that it was quite expected is another matter - Yuko had not yet fully recovered from her surgery and we didn't want to push her too hard. So we came to Saransk in a good shape, but not perfect. Kudos for Yuko. I was watching with admiration how she overcomes all the hardships with coming back on the ice.
EV: Did you ever doubt Yuko will come back?
TD: Yes, before the surgery. We didn't voice them out but think that is what everyone were most worried about. At first no one could predict how will the surgery go, but after it turned out to be a success I had no doubts everything should be fine. There is an old lady belief as well - am certain once the person starts telling about his hardships and sufferings or generally whines the problems will be attracted to him. So why pay an extra attention to it? You just have to believe everything will be allright
Thanks so much for your translations
- Rep Power
Thank you so much for the translation. This is my favorite program for pair this season.
Thanks for translating, that's too bad about his skate, I hope it holds up though Worlds.