Dóra Turóczi & Balázs Major: stubborn Sagittarius on the ice

March 18, 2012
By Titanilla Bőd
Photo © Absolute Skating, Johanna Welnicki - JOLUSKATING, Titanilla Bőd


They say they are like brother and sister. Both are born under the sign of Sagittarius, which means they are stubborn and persistent. A broken nose or an evil practice schedule can’t stop them. Ice dancers Dóra Turóczi & Balázs Major of Hungary are dreaming about the Olympic Games in Sochi. Euros in Sheffield were a small step on this long road. We talked to them after the preliminary round where they finished 11th, only three points short from qualifying for the short dance.

In Sheffield you participated in your first Euros. How did you feel on the ice?

Dóri: We had already skated at Worlds but this was our debut at Euros. We were happy to skate here and I think we skated well. We did everything we had planned. This time it wasn’t enough to qualify for the short dance, but I hope next year we will be there.

How did you like the rink?

Balázs: It is nice and spacey, the warm-up rooms are also good. We have very good conditions. People are also very welcoming.
Dóri: It’s a pity that there wasn’t a bigger crowd, it would be even better to skate in front of a bigger audience.

How did you choose the music for your free skate? Why James Bond?

Dóri: We wanted to skate to it in the past but somehow it didn’t happen. So this year we said we will definitely skate to James Bond. We both agreed on it and then we just had to decide which movie soundtrack to use.

Do you like James Bond movies?

Balázs: Sure!
Dóri: Yes. Pierce Brosnan is my favourite.

How did you start skating?

Dóri: I started when I was six. I saw a kind of a revue at an ice rink in a shopping center in Budapest and I liked it so much. I started with singles but I quit quite soon, because I didn’t like the jumps. I’ve been doing ice dance since I was ten. I went to my current coach six years ago and he immediately paired me with Balázs in my first practice.
Balázs: I have a sister who is five years older than me and she influenced me to start skating. I was five. I also started with singles but then I switched to ice dancing with my current coach. Then there was a period when I wanted to try other sports, football and fencing, but in the end I returned to ice dancing. Since then I have been skating with Dóri.

Why did you go back to ice dancing?

Balázs: This sport probably made the biggest impression on me because I was very young when I started. I adore skating itself.
Dóri: And he had success at ice dancing, whereas at fencing he wasn’t so successful.
Balázs: I started with it a bit too late to succeed.

How would you describe each other?

Balázs: I can’t wish for a more persistent and more determined partner than Dóri. She always wants to do her best, not only in sports but also in school and private life.
Dóri: All three of us, we and our coach, are Sagittarius, so we all are very stubborn and strong-minded. We are also very persistent; if needed, we are willing to be on the ice till 11 p.m. We want to do our best and we do everything for it. Let’s hope it will bring us success.

How much time do you spend together?

Dóri: We are like sister and brother. We know each other perfectly.
Balázs: Of the 365 days of the year, we are together for 360 of them.

Where do you train?

Dóri: During the season we train in Budapest but in the summer we usually go to a training camp. Last time we were in Toronto, two years ago in New York and Detroit, three years ago in Berlin. We try to spend some time abroad every year.
Balázs: We want to experience the ice dancing culture there.

American and Canadian ice dancers seem to be unbeatable these years. What do they do differently?

Dóri: Their personal approach is totally different than in Europe. They are smiling all day long, they are happy, positive. There is such love between the skaters. When we went to our first training, we received a warm welcome and big hugs from everybody. The practices are held in a family-like atmosphere.

Did you meet some world-class skaters at the training camps?

Dóri: Last time we trained with Paul Poirier, but two years ago we trained with Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir, Meryl Davis and Charlie White! That was absolute ecstasy.
Balázs: One can learn very much this way, even if only by looking at them.
Dóri: They are very positive towards the Eastern block. Last year when we arrived to the Worlds, I was shocked at how many stars there were and all at once Charlie White came to me to say hello. They are fantastic people.

What are your motivations and goals?

Balázs: We want to get better with each competition.
Dóri: Our biggest goal is to get to the Olympics but of course there are smaller steps on the way – to skate clean in a competition or to get high levels for an element… For us it is also a big honour that at home we can work with Tibor Kovács, a famous former dancer who is now a choreographer. It is great that we have already made it to the level where he is willing to work with us.

What do you have to improve to make you dream about Sochi come true?

Balázs: I think we have to improve everything.
Dóri: We have to work on the presentation. As for the technical part, every couple is very good at that, so there is not that much room for improvement there. But we can be much better at presentation. Of course, it comes with age but it can be learned as well.

You often skate to movie soundtracks. Why?

Balázs: We like to portray a character on the ice. Up until now our free dances have been to movie soundtracks, except for one.
Dóri: We skated to the Pirates of the Caribbean, Mask, 1492 – Conquest of Paradise, musical Nine… In our short dance this year we use a mambo from Dirty Dancing.

Who are the skaters you admire?

Balázs: We love Meryl and Charlie but our favourites are Tessa and Scott.
Dóri: We like the two Shpilband’s teams so much.

Are there any difficulties with your training?

Dóri: Unfortunately it is quite expensive. This year we have to pay more for the ice as well. We have very few practices compared to others. We have one practice per day, but before the Euros we could train twice a day on ice. What we really miss are the complementary practices, like ballet. But there is money and time for it only in the summer.

Do you receive some financial support from the Federation?

Dóri: Once a year we receive a certain amount from the Federation and our club pays our coach. We have to pay for the ice, which is quite expensive. There are two kinds of practices: we don’t have to pay for the practices of the national team but in case of club practices the price for ice is very high.

How much training would be ideal?

Dóri: Two on-ice and one off-ice practice every day. The off-ice training could be ballet one day and condition training the other day. Another problem is that our practices are scheduled late at night; we are on the ice till 11 p.m.

What about the injuries? Do you manage to avoid them?

Dóri: As the rules get stricter every year, we need to perform more acrobatic elements and it is also more dangerous. There are some minor injuries because of this. Right now my nose is broken. We had a fall and his leg hit my nose. But I was lucky because the bone wasn’t dislocated, so it can heal itself.

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