By Matteo Morelli | Pictures by Yoriko Suzuki

Mariia Ignateva & Danijil Szemko have been skating collectively for 2 years representing Hungary, working exhausting to develop as a staff and create their very own id. We met them after the European Championships to search out out extra about their journey collectively to date and what they need to carry to the ice.

Mariia and Danijil, did you take pleasure in taking part at your second European Championships, the place you secured a tenth place end?

Mariia Ignateva (MI): It was a gorgeous occasion and essential for us as a result of it was an enormous competitors. The organising was actually good, the whole lot from the bus schedules to the resort was effectively organised and the organising was excellent.

Danijil Szemko (DS): We loved it. We had an enormous accountability on our again as a result of the subsequent European Championships goes to be in Budapest (Hungary) and with our tenth place we will carry two {couples} now. Largely we needed to take pleasure in it and I believe it occurred, there was a extremely heat and good viewers there.

Your free programme this season relies on music from Cirque du Soleil, which you carry out on the ice bringing in your personal interpretation, alongside very distinctive make-up and purple costumes. How did you provide you with it?

DS: It was me and our choreographer, Maxim Staviyski. He got here to Budapest and we had been doing the brief programme, actually concentrating on method and easy methods to do it clear. We had one concept to do one other music for the free, however then I later met with Maxim in his resort for a drink and we randomly got here up with the Cirque du Soleil concept, fascinated with the choreography and chopping the music. The following morning, we went to see Mariia and instructed her we had an incredible concept and music to carry to the ice! Total, there’s a massive distinction between our rhythm dance and free dance. We needed to do one thing for the viewers to recollect.

MI: I couldn’t even think about I’d have skated one thing like this! Maxim needed to do one thing completely different, one thing that folks would discover, a dance that they might bear in mind. 

You’re nonetheless a comparatively new staff, with this being your second 12 months collectively. How did you discover one another and resolve to skate collectively?

MI: I used to be searching for a companion for greater than half a 12 months. I hoped to search out somebody tall: it was essential for me however I knew it’s uncommon to search out tall ice dancers!

DS: Mariia is sort of tall too, it might be exhausting to search out somebody who would match. We discovered one another by the Ice Companions Search and earlier than then we discovered one another on Instagram. Mariia was the one which wrote to me.

MI: I used to be updating my profile twice a day at the moment! I actually needed to search out somebody and I instantly noticed when Danijil created a companion search request: I used to be the primary woman to put in writing to him. 

DS: It was nonetheless the pandemic time, there have been no flights, however we managed to get Mariia to Budapest for a check out.

MI: We based our couple on Christmas Eve! It was December twenty fourth after we determined to skate collectively. 

We’re glad that you simply discovered one another through Ice Associate Search, the now twenty years previous portal managed by our editor Daphne Backman that has helped a number of skaters to search out one another.

DS: Wow, that’s cool! We have to thank her then!

Have you ever all the time been ice dancers? 

DS: I’ve all the time been an ice dancer! I used to be fairly tall and got here late into determine skating, I began skating once I was seven years previous. My coaches had been making an attempt to show me the jumps, however I used to be extra into the music and was shifting rather a lot and doing choreographies for myself and one other child, so my coaches instructed me to go to ice dance.

MI: I used to be a single skater from the age of three to 12. I’m nineteen now and this September will probably be sixteen years of skating for me! After I was in single skating, I used to be afraid to leap: I may do all triple jumps besides the triple axel, I may additionally do triple-triple and triple-double combos and a double axel. I used to be a extremely good skater however I used to be already tall, so if I had been a single skater now I’d battle as it’s troublesome to leap with my peak. 

How would you say your partnership has been creating because you determined to affix forces?

DS: We’re engaged on our partnership, consistently! We come to the ice daily to apply. Mariia and I are very completely different, however I believe we work effectively collectively.

MI: Daily, we’re studying to grasp one another and our physique language. It’s in stress state of affairs like competitions that when one thing adjustments it’s important to perceive the physique language and the mindset of the particular person subsequent to you.

DS: We are able to see that we’re positively beginning to perceive one another. 

With this being your second aggressive 12 months, you might have already earned two nationwide titles and took part in a number of completely different competitions together with the 4 Nationals Championships, two European Championships and one World Championships. What did you study from these competitions and what do you intention to realize for the long run?

MI: After each competitors, we study increasingly to be collectively, how we skate and the way we really feel. 

DS: We go to the ice daily and do what we study and what we work exhausting for. We’re studying to not stress ourselves an excessive amount of with the massive competitions. I maintain Mariia’s palms, get on the ice, focus and do what we now have to do. Our intention is to slowly get to the highest!

MI: Everyone needs to be on the prime! We’ll strive, step-by-step.

Are there any groups that you simply take inspiration from?

DS: For me, the Italians, Charlene (Guignard) and Marco (Fabbri). They’re nice, the way in which they do what they do. The best way they cope with stress is exceptional. At Europeans, that they had a lot strain on them, however they did it for one another and their coach. There are a number of actually good {couples} this 12 months, for instance the Finnish couple (Juulia Turkkila and Matthias Versluis).

MI: I additionally like Charlene and Marco, and Juulia and Matthias. 

DS: That is at European stage, however at world stage there are such a lot of nice groups, it’ll be attention-grabbing on the World Championships. Everyone is looking for their very own fashion and approach to impress the viewers. After 2014, everybody was making an attempt to repeat Papadakis and Cizeron, however now everyone seems to be looking for their very own fashion.

MI: It’s a actually constructive improvement in ice dance, as a result of all people tries to be completely different, it’s good.

What do you take pleasure in probably the most when not coaching? Mariia, we will see out of your social media that you simply like to color? 

MI: Sure! I find it irresistible, I can present you [she shows a work in progress], it is a portray of my canine. I paint at house and in studio. It’s not straightforward however I strive!

And also you Danijil, what do you want doing? 

DS: I’m doing music and dealing on teaching children.  I actually love Budapest, so I really like strolling and discovering new locations on the town. 

Thanks a lot for sharing all this with us, it was nice to search out out extra about you. There’s something else you wish to say that’s essential to you.

DS: I needed to say a few phrases of assist for Solène (Mazingue) and Marko (Gaidajenko), the couple from Estonia. She had a horrible harm this season: they’re very nice younger folks and she or he goes by such a tough state of affairs. We need to share our assist to them: Solène is slightly hero and we hope they are going to be again quickly.