The Golden Waltz of Warsaw


By Helga Dobor and Titanilla Bod

The European Championships in Warsaw, Poland kicked off on Tuesday afternoon with the Compulsory Dance. No less than 27 dance teams compete for the podium and they began by giving it their all in the Golden Waltz. AS reporter Helga Dobor met with some of the skaters after their performance to get their comments.

Zsuzsanna Nagy and György Elek, Hungary

What do you think of your performance in the compulsory dance?
Zsuzsi:
I think we skated very well! It's a bit troublesome that the ice-surface is small, however we got used to it at the practices. In my mind we skated well, better than at the Hungarian Nationals where we last skated the Golden Waltz.

What are your expectations from this competition?
Gyuri:
We would be happy to finish around 20th place. Looking at the other teams, we absolutely have a chance to reach that.
Zsuzsi: And maybe even better.

What do you think of the field?
Zsuzsi:
The skaters in the top are very good, the field there is strong. But further down the list...
Gyuri: Some young skaters came out after the Olympics season.

How do you like the competition atmosphere?
Zsuzsi:
It's very good! We are in a friendly group here, having a really good time.

What's the difference between your debut last year and this year’s Europeans?
Gyuri:
Perhaps that we have more routine and experience now. The atmosphere here is not unexpected and we’re more comfortable in the senior circuit.
Zsuzsi: This competition is something very different; it’s bigger than other competitions. You have to really concentrate, and it is easier now for us than last year.


© Caroline Par√©

Nóra Hoffmann and Attila Elek, Hungary

How would you rate your compulsory dance?
Attila
: I think we skated the Golden Waltz very well; the only problematic thing is the smaller size of the rink. We kind of have to wedge everything in - but I think we were good!

What do you expect from this competition?
Nóri:
Well, it seemed only one more pair could place before us, which meant we’d be seventh after the compulsory dance. That was very good and we were happy. During practice we almost ran into the board and it shook us up a bit. It’s difficult for us to fit everything on this small surface. I don't know how it went for the other skaters, but for us it was more difficult. But the quality of the ice is very good, and it's nice to skate here.

And what do you think of the competition so far?
Nóri:
We like it! The hotel is very good, everything is perfect, perhaps the food could be a bit better - laughs - yes, it's not the Hungarian cuisine. But everything is fine and really well organized.

Your costume, Nóri, is beautiful, have you designed it yourself?
Nóri:
The design is mine, but of course I needed a great seamstress to make it.

You work with Nikolai Morozov now, what is that like?
Nóri:
Last year he helped us with the choreography, but at the time we could only do one program. We were very satisfied with his work and decided to work together with him during the summer. Now he is with us as coach at every competition, and as often as we can we practice with him abroad. In the 15 years I’ve skated together with Attila we’ve worked with a lot of different coaches…
Attila: …but Nikolai is one who really works well with us.
Nóri: We like to work with him because his mentality is very similar to ours.

So now what do you like to hear from him, praises or..?
Nóri:
We are very happy that we placed seventh and his reaction was: "Not bad, not bad". And it’s too early to say it's good, as the competition hasn't finished yet...

Since many of the top teams retired after the Olympics, who do you think will win this competition?
Attila:
It's a very hard question. A lot has changed, but looking at the results of the Grand Prix competitions we’ll just have to see what will be in the end.
Nóri: For example there is the Bulgarians; they came to here without having any rivals, didn't they?
Attila: And they are in third now.
Nóri: Everything can happen, it will be very exciting since no team is guaranteed a spot on the podium, everybody fights for the gold. And I wouldn't say that so many pairs retired after the Olympics, only some. Others came back just for the Olympics - and so in this competition nobody has a sure place. I think anybody who skated the compulsory dance thought: Gawd, where will we finish? We skated with the thought that we can be anywhere from seventh to twelfth place after the CD. Luckily we’re in seventh now, but I think we also did everything we could to get there.

So you goal is to keep this result now?
Attila:
Yes, of course!
Nóri: We came to here thinking we could be eighth, so we’re already ahead of our goal.


© Caroline Par√©

Massimo Scali, Italy

You’re in fourth place after the CD, are you satisfied with that?
We are satisfied with the performance we did today. We are here because we really want to medal at this Europeans. Today was good, we felt good on the ice, we skated great, we felt the music and we did almost everything right. So we just have to keep this concentration and the power in the last parts of the competition and we will see. But for today it's ok, it was a great start!

Phillipa Towler-Green, Great Britain

Are you satisfied with your Golden Waltz performance?
Yes, we are! I think we could have been a bit more relaxed, but it's okay.

What do you expect from the competition?
We just feel very lucky to be here.

During the Zamboni break there was a short fluff piece shown, it was figure skating history and your mother was shown there. Did you se it?
Yes, we did! And many people told us about it.

And how did it feel?
It was weird for me but also for my grandmother. We are two generations involved in ice dancing and I think she feels a bit fed up with figure skating.


© Caroline Par√©

Kamila Hajkova and David Vincour, Czeck


Are you happy with your performance?
Kamila:
I think we did a very good compulsory dance, we feel good about it and we are satisfied.

Do you like Warsaw and the venue?
David:
Yes, the atmosphere is pleasant, the rink is nice, people are kind and the hotel is wonderful. We are here to do our best, to show the audience what we are capable of.

What is your opinion of the compulsory dances? Some people think that they aren't necessary and want to get rid of them just like the compulsory figures for single skating.
Kamila:
I think it’s very necessary because at the compulsories you can see the real quality of the skating. It is also attractive for the spectators since they are able to watch the same dance performed by twenty or more teams, so they can compare them.

What are your goals for the Europeans?
David:
Last year we were 19th, so we would love to place better, maybe around the 15th. We came here to perform well and catch the public's attention. We'll see how it works out.

We’ll all have to wait and see how things go for Kamila and David and all the other teams, may they all be able to perform their best!

The Original Dance is scheduled for Thursday afternoon and the Free Dance is on Friday night.






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