Simonenko&Vorobieva interview with Lambiel `I can do a quad now' for rsport.ru
The two times World champion Stephane Lambiel is probably the most popular skater in the world. Even now, 4 years after he retired from the competitive skating he tours the world. His skating became a state of art. Maria Vorobieva and Andrey Simonenko met with Stephane before one of his shows in St. Petersburg.
Art on Ice и Opera on Ice… Lambiel is a constant participant of those shows. He is indeed an Artist. Not just on the ice, but even when interviewed. A conversation with Lambiel captures - it's not your usual `question/answer' type of an interview. It's a conversation you don't want to be over. 20 minutes we were given by the organizers felt like a moment.
Q: Stephane, your fans would like to know: are you getting tired of the shows which you participate with no breaks?
SL: Shows is my life. I love skating in different parts of the world. Not long ago I was in South Korea, I also participate the Art On Ice tour in Europe and, of course, I love coming to Russia. I will soon go to Kazakhstan for Dennis Ten show and will fly to Japan after. The list is endless! My life consists of those moves from one place to the other.
Q: I.e. you have even less time than you did while you were still competing? Do you have any time for your own?
SL: When I have some free time I spend it on myself, yet I am very interested working on choreography for the other skaters. During the last 2 months I was working with no days off - either I was busy with my programmes and shape or was helping the other skaters. I get so much energy from the audience and my friends who I work with in the show that I have enough for everything! For example after the show in Korea I had time to work with the skaters, choreograph their programmes. It's a challenge. When you work in an unusual direction it's not tiring - you set a goal and you want to get there. I can't say there was a moment when I felt drained. I just live with the goals I set and try to get there. Then a new goal is set and I just move from one to the next.
Q: How much do you have to train now? Does the show require as much preparations as the competitions?
SL: I train every day. Since I like working on the choreography I feel I need to be able to show all the moves myself. Of course everyone has a different approach, but I reckon if am able to keep in a good shape and show things on the ice I will.
Q: What is the biggest jump you can perform now?
SL: As far as the technique goes am as ready as I would be if I were still competing.
Q: Including the quad.
SL: Yes. I can do a quad now.
Q: Since you are in such a great shape we can't avoid asking: have you considered a come back?
SL: I enjoy my life as it is now. I'd say am in a transition. Of course I would love to keep skating in the shows for many years and will do my best to be in a good shape, but there is another side. I tried coaching before and I want to keep going in that direction. My last competition was in 2010 and I love recalling my competing time. I was lucky to have such a journey, but my life goes on and it's a page I flipped.
Q: Unlike you Evgeni Pluschenko still can't let go and still wants to compete. What do you think about it?
SL: A decision to keep competing or retire is very personal. The athlete has to feel what is good for him and what should be his next step. In 2008 I suffered an injury and my career was under a question mark. Yet I decided to continue - I understood it was my last chance and I had to give it all in my last attempt. After the 2010 Olympics the decision to retire was made. I never felt the need to compete or compare myself to the other skaters. I just used my opportunities completely.
Q: Who are you working with on your programmes after the retirement?
SL: I work with the same choreographer throughout my career - Salome Brunner. Now we are working on a new number which I might show in Japan in June. At least I hope to. It's a sophisticated routine with lots of complicated steps, the rhythm is very unusual and interesting. I think the programme will be different from what the audience is used to see from me.
Q: Who are the skaters you worked with towards the next season?
SL: Not long ago we finished with two exhibition numbers for Dennis Ten. He is always willing to work with me, we have a great relationship. 5 years ago Dennis became my first pupil. He always comes to Switzerland and we spend time working on his steps, sharing ideas, listening to the music so we can choose the right ones for the gala programmes. I hope he uses all we do together for his competitive programmes. I believe he absorbs everything we work on and there is a bit of Switzerland in his skating. During the tour in Korea I choreographed the short programmes for Kim Haejin, whoc became 23rd in the Worlds and Kim Jin-Seo, who also participated the worlds. It was very interesting working with the guys. Kim Jin-Seo have been skating for just 6 years, but he is so talented and so willing to work - he was watching with so much interest my every move and was trying to understand every step I was making. Kim Haejin also proved to be a smart girl: I would just begin showing her the steps, and she would understand where and how she should move. I even said: `wow, you know even the steps I don't know yet!'
Q: How was working with the German ice dancers Zhiganshina/Gaszi?
SL: First of all I already had an experience working with the Italian team - the European bronze medalists Berton/Hotarek. In 2012 we worked on their Flamenco. The programme was more or less ready and we were working on polishing it, transitions and emotions. I also helped Volosozhar/Trankov in `Art on Ice'. They usually come to Switzerland after the competition and they need to add some life into their exhibition programmes, make them more memorable. So all and all I knew how the pairs work, but working with Nelly and Alexander was quite a new experience for me since we started the choreography from the scratch. What I loved the most about working with a pair was the contact that happens between the partners, how they communicate with each other all the time. Someone gives and someone receives. When you skate alone you just give the audience all you have.
Q: Aren't the viewers share their emotions and energy?
SL: It's something that happens at the end of the programme when they start clapping. During the skate itself you only give yourself. Now I felt how is it working in the pair. By the way, speaking of showing on the ice what I mean and how do I want things to look let me give you an example from working with Nelly and Alex. I'm quite gracious on the ice, move quite lightly and not nearly as strong as the male partners in the ice dance. I wouldn't be able to perform Alex' part on the ice but it was easy to show Nelly's part.
Q: But the ice dance require some special skills, since their moves quite differ from what the single skaters do.
SL: You're right. For instance they have 5 compulsory elements in their SD. The guys know themsleves how those elements are done. Twizzles for example. It's the same as when you coach a single skater - you aren't teaching him the 3A, right? As a choreographer it's not my job to explain the skater how to perform an element, I do not work on their edges, the lifts and don't think about the levels - it's the main coach's job. Mine is creating the concept, the atmosphere and the mood of the programme. I show some positions,correct the posture, put some accents - i.e. work on the details. It was easy for me working with the music Nelly and Alex chose.
Q: What is the idea of their programme?
SL: This year SD music is a paso doble. At the beginning of the programme we put an interesting transition -both dramatic and theatrical. I saw Nelly as a desperate housewife who is hanging the laundry. Her life is a routine, her husband is lazy and boring. But then Alex shows up as a macho and immediately wins her over. Nelly can't resist him.
Q: Do you plan working with the ice dancers in the future?
SL: I hope to!
Q: What about the Russian dancers?
SL: I'd love to. Working with Nelly and Alex was easy - it took us about 3 days to choreograph the routine and my head was exploding with ideas. It's a great experience for me and I will be thrilled if such opportunities should present themselves.
Q: You already mentioned working with Volosozhar/Trankov. You are also friends off ice. How did it begin?
SL: We are all more or less the same age and 've known each other for a while -we went to the same competitions and participated the same shows. Once I offered my manager Olivier to invite Maria Mukhortova with Maxim to the Art on Ice. Tatiana and Stas Morozov were already participating it. It was about 6 years ago. This is how Tanya, Stas, Aljona Savchenko, Robin Szelkowy, Maria and Maksim ended up i nthe same show. We became closer, and, as many know, Maksim is a good friend of mine. I was thrilled when he and Tatiana paired! I knew he was thinking of Tatiana for many years. I remember him explaining: `Tanya is the best female partner in the pairs skating!'. When he said they are skating together I was happy his dream came true.
Q: When we were getting ready for the interview we asked the fans to send their questions. Please answer some of them. First question: how many Russian words do you know?
SL: I know about 10. Should I tell? `My name is Stephan' `I was born in Martigny', `Thank you, goodbye, please, sorry, fast, a bit, ok'. Anything else? Think it was about 10.
Q: During one of the movies festivals a documentary about you was presented. Where can it be seen?
SL: Perhaps the CDs with the movie are on sale, but, unfortunately, I have no idea where can they be purchased.
Q: Which routines will you show in Kazakhstan?
SL: "The water"… Am not sure, but perhaps there will be a live orchestra.
Q: And the final question: why golden blades?
SL: It's a surprise! The answer to that question will be in about 2 months
Q: Is it related in a way to your new programme which you'll show in Japan?
SL: Let's just say it is related to something new both for me and all the viewers.