Vaytsekhovskaya's interview with Sinitsina/Katsalapov

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Elena Vaytsekhovskaya's interview with Viktoria Sinitsina / Nikita Katsalapov for rt.com `I got Kostomarov's boots - two sizes bigger'

EV: Nikita, 8 years ago you participated the `Art on Ice' with Elena Ilinykh, while you, Viktoria participated it a year later with Ruslan Zhiganshin. Can you recall your first impressions?
NK: We were impressed with everything: the hotels we were put in, the cities where we skated. The Geneva lake, for instance, we would wake up and feel you are a rock star, rather than a skater. It's so cool. Art on Ice always have the best cast, yet they are so friendly. The most famous musicians come here. Skating to the live music is really special. Of course, I don't remember all the details of that tour, but Elena and I were always recognized, even though by that time we were close to nobody - the Junior world champions. We knew pretty much everyone who participated the Art on Ice except, for, perhaps, the off ice dancers.

EV: Can you recall who skated with you?
NK: The head star was Stephane Lambiel. There were Miki Ando, Aljona Savchenko with Robin Szelkowy, Volosozhar/Trankov, the acrobats Besedin/Polischuk... Oh, and Florent Amodio - he had just won his European title.


EV: Does your second time here remind you in any way your first time?
NK: I don't want to compare. I want to take our skating here together for the first time as a first time, the start. As for the participants - we are from the same world. We do meet quite often, not only in Switzerland.

EV: How demanding are such shows emotions wise? Do they charge you with energy or drain you?

VS: First of all it's a big advantage that skating this way you are staying in a good shape. No matter what music we skate to - we still perform the steps, some elements, the lifts. I.e. we don't just sit back and relax. Besides you are charged with the energy from the other athletes, the dancers, the whole atmosphere, the audience. It's a really special experience.

EV: Art on Ice is known in a way that there are usually no solo numbers as such - it's all about the same theme of the show. Is more hard for a skater than just an exhibition number?
NK: Vika will keep me in line: I always warm up and work before the exhibition as if it was a serious competition.

EV: Coming to such a show you are out of your box and have to project the show producer's idea on the ice.
NK: We choreographed ourselves the numbers we'll do in Art on Ice.

EV: When and where did you do that?
NK: Two days before our flight to Zurich we found an ice in Moscow and spent there altogether about 8 hours, choreographed two numbers and another one, because we messed up with the music. So we even have an additional programme. Once we landed in Switzerland we were taken straight to the ice, because one of our numbers is a team one and we were working with the rest of the cast on that part.

EV: Did you have some instructions on what your solo numbers should be?
VS: We just had the music: country. And the general theme,
NK: The first one is just a country song about love - `Tattoo on my brain'. The other is called `My Way' performed by Aloe Blacc. It's about no matter what am saying am doing things my way.

EV: Do you have a chance to watch the other skaters while not skating yourself?
NK: No.
VS: Yesterday our artists were not present, so we were skating alone. When we are all on the ice we can see from the corner of the eye someone.

EV: Does it ever happen that instead of skating you feel like just sitting down and watching the whole show as a viewer?
NK: Art on Ice is exactly that case.
VS: Indeed I would love to see the show. The lights are beautiful, the stage is beautiful, there is a part that moves to the centre of the rink and the dancers are so cool. I saw a part of their practice yesterday and my jaw dropped.
NK: Speaking of which - I attend every year Tatiana Navka's show in Moscow. It's quite near where I live, so quite convenient.

EV: Did you have time to recover after the Europeans?

VS: We didn't even have a day off. We came back to Moscow and started working on the choreography immediately.
NK: The competition itself was ideal: the practices went as we wanted, I had a clear head, felt great, had a great mood. After the FD when we were sitting in the K&C and waiting for the marks I was overwhelmed. Only now I start recovering from that. I still have things to recover from. The lifts we only start performing them again. You asked how are we going to recharge our batteries - this is the way - by looking at the others. Kind of a visual practice. It doesn't reboot you completely, but it partly helps.

EV: Is there a difference between the competition ice and the show ice?

NK: The ice in Zurich is high quality. So it was in Graz.

EV: The Europeans organizers took pride in the ice being higher quality than for the hockey players. I didn't know that the figure skating ice should be 2cm thicker than the hockey ice...
NK: I didn't know that either, but it makes sense - if the ice is too thin you'll end up scratching the concrete in the toe jumps. It happened quite a lot during the competitions, especially in Japan. They like setting the rinks in the university fields, where they might have a disassembled swimming pool nearby. The ice is broken to the concrete sometimes, especially when it's the first ice resurface.

EV: So guess the resurfaced natural ice is the best?
NK: Last year after the Worlds we were skating on Baikal lake, but I got Roman Kostomarov's skates, which are two sizes too big, so I can't tell there was a special feelings, except for my legs swimming in the boot. But if I were skating in my own skates I guess the ice on Baikal lake would be too hard for me. -25C is a bit too much for the ice. Especially for the ice dance.

EV: Kostomarov once said he spent his all skating career without wearing the socks...
NK: So did Maks Trankov. I put two silicons and a sock. That's what I'm used to. Though there is a belief you feel the boot better when skating barefoot.
VS: I skate in the 15DEN tights, it's almost like barefoot.

EV: So your boots did not fall apart this season?
NK: I changed 3 pairs but the shoe laces hooks tear out. It's the first time such thing happens to me. Perhaps it's a bad pair. But I have a spare one.

EV: I.e. breaking the boot does not take long...
NK: If the programme is ready I change the boots and I can have a run through the next day. Though of course it's nicer not changing the boots in the middle of the season.
VS: Am spending the second season on my last year's boots. I tried the new ones when we were choreographing the programmes and realized it doesn't suit me. I didn't have time to break them so I just switched back to the old ones. And still use them

EV: What is your agreement with the coach working towards the Worlds?
NK: Alexandr Zhulin sent us to the tour in Switzerland with the words `I hope you come back in a good shape'. We'll be back to Moscow on 17/2, perhaps we'll have to undergo the medical tests - we are running out of the approvals. So we'll start practicing once we're back.

EV: To renew the medical approval - is it something routine of there are cases when you don't get it?
NK: Well, taking Alexandr Enbert still can't get his approval the doctors take it more than seriously. They can turn the skater down because of an injury. I heard Sergey Voronov was almost denied the approval once because he haven't visited the dentist on time.
VS: It's more of a routing thing for us, which we do twice a year for our own calmness. But I also had a dental scare once - they found a small hole in my tooth and said if I don't treat it till the next time I will not get my approval. I ran to the dentist at once and solved it.

EV: Back to what your coach said: what did he mean by `being in a good shape'?
NK: The shape is mainly physical. Being able to breath, keeping the muscles in shape. We perform several lifts in the shows, which we do in our competitive programmes as well, so in a way we practice them here. We work off the ice, work on the lifts. There is also a gym in the hotel.

EV: Do you have time for anything except for the practices during the tour?
NK: Depends on the practices schedule. One day it happened that we even had time to go to the city centre and do some sight seeing till it started raining and the stores closed down.

EV: I.e. Vika had a chance to do some shopping in Zurich?
VS: Well, how should I put it. The only thing I bought was the outfits for one of our exhibitions.
 

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