Reut's In-Depth Interview with Maia and Alex Shibutani


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I would not usually make a whole new thread for an interview that could be posted in a fan thread, but I thought FSU's own @reut did such a fine job conducting an in-depth interview with Maia and Alex Shibutani for Absolute Skating that I thought it deserved its own thread in GSD.

My interview with Maia and Alex we did in Helsinki (that one ;) )

Maia and Alex Shibutani: building bridges between worlds
There are so many great things here about how they want to build bridges to people outside the figure skating community, what the process of creating programs for them involves, their roles as ambassadors, what creating programs mean to them, etc.

I do want to bring some attention to how Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov and Stephane Lambiel have really helped them:

I really love your exhibition program you performed just now before our talk. I wonder why you chose to work with Stéphane Lambiel as he doesn't have much experience with ice dancers.

Maia: Stéphane is a skater that we've always respected so much, his skating is so beautiful and inspiring...

Alex: In isolation, not knowing him...

Maia: ... just watching. And then we met him more officially when we did Denis Ten's show.
Alex: Well, we met him for the first time I think at Worlds 2011. He was talking to Marina and she introduced us to him. Then we met him again very briefly while we were on tour in Japan for Mao's show, "The Ice", he came to visit.

And then in Kazakhstan...

Alex: Yes, all of our perceptions of him as a skater but also more him as an artist really shone through in our time spent together. And it wasn't just hanging out. We aren't afraid to ask people questions and he was very generous with his time, talking to us about how we can grow and what he would like to see from us. We had some very deep personal conversations with him and Tatiana and Max (Volosozhar/Trankov). Never thought when I was a kid that I am going to get to Kazakhstan, and it's through this crazy thing called "figure skating" that we end up there with Tatiana and Max, Olympic champions, and Stéphane Lambiel, someone who we watched in 2003 at the World Championships! It was one of the turning points before last season where we had a lot of success...

Maia: It was one of the moments that was really important.

Alex: We were able to have these really insightful thoughtful conversations with people who've accomplished so much and had very interesting things to say about us personally and what their impressions of us [are], what they hoped we could accomplish. So we took that to heart and it inspired us...

Maia: It was one of those moments where the fact that they took the time to speak to us really meant a lot.

Alex: It went beyond being nice, it went beyond them just saying like "oh, keep going" or "keep working hard" or "we like your skating". They were really invested.

Maia: And it was at the right moment because prior to that we'd already taken the steps to develop the programs for that season, we already worked with Peter Tchernyshev, so we were moving things in the right direction. But it just felt like another...

Alex: of confidence.

Maia: And then we worked with Stéphane last early summer.

Alex: Maia knew that she wanted to work with Stéphane, she felt really strongly about it and so she told me and got in touch with him. After the conversations that we had had it made a lot of sense that we would work together. Actually tomorrow we're leaving in the afternoon to go directly to Switzerland to work with Stéphane. (You can check Maia and Alex's recent vlog about the time they spent in Switzerland)


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They are always so passionate in everything they do. And I love that they are competitors and fans of the sport, in spite of how high they have come they do not stop admiring their idols, and they worry just like all of us here, about the popularity of figure skating.

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