5 September 2013, 21:05

Sochi-2014: Russian figure skaters stake on 'classics'

Гран-при, фигурное катание, Елена Ильиных, Никита Кацалапов

“Swan Lake” and “Carmen”: during the Olympic season, Russian figure skaters stake on classical music. An open training session of Nikolai Morozov’s group has taken place in Novogorsk, near Moscow. Medalists of the European championship in ice dancing Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov, and vice-champion of the world in 2012 Alena Leonova have presented their programs.

Nikolai Morozov is one of the most in-demand specialists in the world of figure skating. In different years, he created programs for Olympic champion Alexei Yagudin, and world champion from Japan Miki Ando. With his programs, Frenchman Florent Amodio became the champion of Europe, and the Russian pair Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov won the World Cup. Stagings by Nikolai Morozov are always distinguished by their original presentation and musical accompaniment.

But the Olympic season is not the time for experiments, including with music. Therefore, it was decided to turn to the classics. For their free dance, silver medalists of the championship of Europe Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov have chosen Pyotr Tchaikovsky's great composition “Swan Lake”. According to Nikolai Morozov, he selected this music for the Olympic program a long time ago. The prediction is simple: the Olympics take place in Russia, and the main thing in Russia is ballet. Once we turn to ballet, then it is “Swan Lake”.

“This music is one of the most powerful in the world. Plus, it so happened that no one has used this work in ice dancing. Most importantly, this music just suits them, because it agrees with their image, their wide way of skating. I think the program is a success".

The best specialists took part in the preparation of the Olympic programs. Igor Shpilband, who led Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir to victory at the Olimpic Games in Vancouver in 2010, helped the Russian figure skaters in their work on sliding and step sequences. Original supports were devised together with acrobats of Cirque du Soleil. “I’d like to match this great music,” Elena Ilinykh says.

“I am happy that we chose the music of the great Russian composer Tchaikovsky. I think it urges athletes forward, so that they skate widely and perform everything at the highest level. We did not transfer the ballet on ice. But, of course, some ballet images are reflected in our program - the Black Swan and the Evil Genius. But I would like to say that this is still the “Swan Lake” program on ice. We have very interesting new supports. And this dance is a reflection of two strongest characters, of love, beauty, power, and emotions. All this stays within four minutes. This will be a very strong program".

Vice-champion of the world in 2012 Alena Leonova has chosen “Carmen” by Rodion Shchedrin for her free skating. It seems no Olympic season can do without this image. “It was Alena’s idea, and I supported it,” Nikolay Morozov said.

“When she told me about it, I was glad. Because I love this music, it is very powerful, it obliges. An average athlete cannot skate to it. That is, if an athlete wants to skate to “Carmen”, it means that he has grown up and he is ready for it. It must not be forbidden to him. So I was very happy with that choice of music”.

It was not once that “Carmen” was performed in women's figure skating. But Alena Leonova is not afraid of a repeat. “This image resembles my nature and emotion,” the figure skater says: “I’ve watched Katarina Witt’s skating to this music, I’ve revised all performances of “Carmen”. But I can't say that I was looking for some inspiration - I was just curious what other athletes showed before me. But inspiration descends on me, when I hear this music. We tried to stick to the plot. But in the end, I do not kill myself”.

By the way, many figure skaters decided to turn to the classics this season. Vice-champion of Europe Adelina Sotnikova will show her “Carmen”, too. The main candidates for the Olympic gold in pair skating Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov will perform the waltz from the ballet “Masquerade” by Aram Khachaturian. Their competitors from Germany - Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy - will present their interpretation of Pyotr Tchaikovsky's ballet “The Nutcracker” at the ice arena in Sochi.

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