Catching up with Nathalie Péchalat and Fabian Bourzat


May 8, 2013
By Irina Teterina, Reut Golinsky
Photo © Irina Teterina (Attenais), Reut Golinsky

The season of 2012-2013 was not very lucky for Nathalie Péchalat and Fabian Bourzat. They had to withdraw from Euros and then placed only 6th at Worlds because of Fabian's injury. We met Nathalie and Fabian in Geneva, during "Music on Ice", and talked about the last Worlds, costumes, shows and new programs. Also, good news, when asked about his health, Fabian assured us that he feels much better now and he and Nathalie have already started their preparation for the coming season.

How would you sum up your season? It wasn't easy for you.
Nathalie: We have to accept it; it is part of an athlete's life. We've started to prepare for the Olympics already. So I just want to remember the times when we were in shape, were good and in the top 3 in the world. It's what I want to keep [in mind] and to come back next season with good programs and in good shape.
This is life, we can't change it, and we just have to think about what is next. What was great, when Fabian got injured, was that we had more time to talk about next season. We had an idea but we had to find the music, to decide what we would work with. So we've got some benefit from it I think.

You were sixth at Worlds. Was it an expected result for you?
Nathalie: No, we were not ready to go [to Worlds] to be sixth. But the thing is we went to get an Olympic quota [for French ice dance teams], so it was important to compete there. We knew that we were not in shape and we'd have to compete hard, but the good thing is that we did it. Even if you're not in shape you still can fight. And we learned a lot about us and about how to perform. It was not a nice experience but it's an experience and it will make us stronger. Now we are very angry and we want to compete and fight!

You competed less this season, so maybe you had more time to watch figure skating?
Nathalie: I went to the European Championships as a captain of the French team. I watched the French team's work, the ice-dance competition. It was nice but it was also a big frustration for me because I couldn't put my skates on and go on to the ice. My job is not to be a captain and a [federation] worker, my job is to be on the ice. After the first day I cried, it was disappointing, it upset me. But I was there to support my team mates.

Let's talk about something different, your costumes; they are always so beautiful and original. Who helps you to create them and who has the ideas?
Nathalie: We always work with the same costumier, Marlene Weber. She works in Lyon; she creates theatrical costumes and casual clothes as well. She uses some different materials for ice-dancing costumes, and she brings her ideas which should work with the choreography [of the dance]. She knows which is better, which material, which fabric we use and we trust her. Sometimes we propose our ideas too, but most of the time she already knows what we would like. Another important thing for us is to make the costume comfortable, as it is sport after all. So the costumes need to be beautiful but also comfortable.

Laurent Tobel is your manager but it's your first show with him. Why is that?
Fabian: Because usually he does his shows with professional skaters. Also we live in the US and we can't come for one show in Italy or Switzerland when he holds them. To have a long trip just to do one show is something we can't afford. We can't miss practices. And now we are too close to the Olympics to do so.

Pity that in the end you couldn't take part in "Art on Ice" this winter...
Nathalie: Yeah... For many years it was like a dream for us: "Art on Ice". We just needed to finalize the contract and to come but we couldn't [because of Fabian's injury]. But it's OK because we are going to be with them in Japan at the beginning of June. And maybe next year we...
Fabian: ...can be the part of their invited skaters...
Nathalie: The competitions are the most important for us but the shows are also useful because we can skate in front of the public and try some new ideas. We can perform our favourite programs like tonight when we'll show "Chaplin" and "Circus". We love these programs so much! It's like a game. We like to play, we are like kids.

And you all are like a family here.
Nathalie: Oh yeah!
Fabian: We've known all the cast for a long time like Samuel Contesti, Sarah Meier; we used to compete with them. And we trained with Anna Ovcharova when we were in Russia, so... yeah, we know almost everybody here and quite well.

The short dance next season will include the Finnstep pattern. Did you skate it before?
Nathalie: Yes, we skated it in 2009. We had it at European Championships and we know the dance pretty well. We love it because it's very funny, very entertaining, it's like a game, kind of. It's nice.

You said you will announce your programs at the end of June, but maybe you can give us some hints now?
Fabian: No, you will have to wait like everybody else, till June. But June is soon enough already! It will be something we are good at - theatrical, with a lot of emotions...
Nathalie: ...colourful...
Fabian: It will be colourful, but also with nice lines and a lot of speed. It will be a good program.
Nathalie: We only can say that it will be a great story. You'll see. I think it will be the most beautiful story in the world.


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