Simonenko's interview with Zueva `If I can't bring a Russian pair to Sochi I'll bring the Russian music' for Rsport.ru
According to many specialists the Olympic Champions of 2010 the Canadians Virtue/Moir and the World champions the Americans Davis/White are the main contenders for the Gold in Sochi. Their coach Marina Zueva tells the RSport journalist Andrey Simonenko how the preparations to the Olympic season are going.
AS: Tessa and Scott are Olympic champions. Everyone expect them to win in Sochi. But there you go, on their first international competition of the season in Finland they were not perfect. Do they bend under the pressure?
MZ: They've been under the pressure for 4 years now and they took it fine. Tessa and Scott are 2 times World champions. I wouldn't say this season is very different. Yes, they made a mistake in the SD here in Finland. It's the first international competition of the season, there might be some mistakes. They paid with the levels, but not the components. All and all they are ready for the season, just that Tessa wanted to show so much how beautiful their programmes are and how well they suit her. Guess that want betrayed her. Nevermind, we'll continue competing and everything will fall into the places.
AS: As it was expected many skaters chose Russian folk music or music written by the Russian compositors. Your pairs are no exception.
MZ: I've always known should the Olympics take place in Russia we'll pick a Russian music. It had been on my mind for a while. I came up with Meryl and Charlie's FD several years ago. I had the music for Tessa and Scott ready for several years as well. But when the time to choreograph the programme came and I brought the music to the ring I was disappointed. I had a vision, but when Tessa and Scott started skating to that piece it just didn't fit. We had to come up with something different. They matured, changed, their relationship changed. It's a different kind of contact. They have a different energy, a different power.
AS: What was the music, is it a secret?
MZ: It is. I'll keep the idea. I just need to find someone to execute it. That is what I usually do: if there is an idea and the music, but the moment is just wrong - then music will be changed. So we spent a while pondering. I was thinking and thinking... for two months I couldn't understand which compositor would suit the skater's state of mind. And I came up with one! I think their current music suits them perfectly. And this season particularly - because the Olympics are in Russia. I don't have a Russian pair, but at least we can bring the Russian music.
AS: Tessa and Scott are just dancing to the music, or is there an idea behind it?
MZ: Of course there is an idea. It's the `4 seasons' by Glazunov and the finito of the piano concerto by Skriabin. Seasons - summer, autumn, winter, spring... it's a programme about Tessa and Scott's career, their life, their relationship. It's generally about a life of a man and a woman. A long life together - there are seasons as well. Love is spring, a soft warm autumn and even a cold summer. I wanted to show in this programme the different levels of emotions, communication between a man and a woman. It suits Tessa and Scott's career. He is her only ever partner, she is his only ever partner, they've been skating together for 17 years now. I've been working with them for 10 years. With Meril and Charlie, by the way, for 13 years, as long as I worked with Gordeeva/Grinkov.... Right, so when I figured what kind of programme Tessa and Scott need it was easy and fun creating it. I put so much love in the choreography.. All the programmes, which created their image were done by me. This work was indeed very easy, light and triumphant.
AS: Did Tessa and Scott accept the idea with no hesitations?
MZ: Immediately. Though we were changing the music cuts several times. There were 22 different options. Alexandr Goldstein did that part during the practices - he would switch the autumn and the winter...
AS: What they skate now - is it the final version?
MZ: Yes. We might change the elements, of course. This is what we came to the competition for - to receive the levels for the elements: the lifts, the steps... But the general idea will remain: as a choreographer I think it suits them perfectly.
AS: Meryl and Charlie are also skating their FD to a Russian compositor this season.
MZ: `Scheherezada' by Rimski-Korsakov. We've been cooking that programme for a while now. The guys were getting ready - they knew in advance. They were patient - they wanted to skate to this music so badly. Of course they watched the video of the Russian ballets and the others. You know what made me fall in love with figure skating? On the floor you can't choreograph something so light. You must have the ability of the ice and the skates to create a flight. As a coach I'm inspired by working with them so they can skate such a programme - all light, fast, easy...
AS: Both pairs deserve the gold in Sochi, but there is only one medal..
MZ: I'm not thinking about it at all. I just want my pupils to show the best they can. If I can create that best and they can perform it - I'll be happy. Both things are far from easy. I also have to keep in mind: what can I show this year, so the next will be even more powerful? After all the modern `Carmen' for Tessa and Scott was not created for nothing. They were showing the drama, the moves were very uncharacteristic for figure skating. So that this year their programme to Glazunov and Skriabin would differ a lot. It'll shine and sparkle - the Olympic programme in Russia.
AS: Are you following the competitors? The competitions had just began, but perhaps you had a chance to see the videos...
MZ: No, there is too much work - I coach other pairs except for the 2 we spoke about.
AS: Let me put it this way: in the last Worlds have you felt any threat from the others? In Russia many speculate whether our pairs will be able to fight with the Canadians and the Americans, or will it be a fight for a bronze only.
MZ: There is always a competition and those are not just words. You have to show the best you can in a competition, then there is always a chance to win or to loose. Even the stars can change things.
AS: I.e. you can't sit back and relax even with such pairs as Tessa/Scott and Meryl/Charlie?
MZ: No way. You've seen how `such pair' skated here in Finland. The work is constant, not only on the physical state, but the mental state, the mood. The mood not just for the competition, but a general. The hardest thing is to train hard day after day. It has to come from inside, from the love of what you do. If that is the case everything will work out. To set the skaters into the right mind is my job.
AS: I recalled hearing the Russian coaches say : you have to overcome yourself on the practices. Are you using that expression?
MZ: No, it's a different approach. I think you have to be in an agreement with yourself. It's more confident. You have to love your job, to love the atmosphere, to cherish that love and inspiration for the best. Tessa and Scott and Meryl and Charlie train in that mood every day. And progress. OF course it's hard, training is painful. But they are not overcoming not themselves nor me. They love what they do and they move on. They live figure skating. That's hardly a secret.
AS: Would the victory of one of your pairs in Sochi be a victory of the Russian school?
MZ: I think so. I think I made them love the Russian art, Russian music, Russian classical music. All that through the Russian choreography
AS: Perhaps they are a bit Russians themselves by now?
MZ: Sure. Let me reveal : Scott sometimes is upset he started speaking English like Marina. That they have a slight Russian accent in their mothertonogue.