By Matteo Morelli | Pictures by Yoriko Suzuki

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

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

Mariia Ignateva (MI): It was a gorgeous occasion and necessary for us as a result of it was an enormous competitors. The organising was actually good, every little thing from the bus schedules to the resort was properly 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 are able to carry two {couples} now. Principally we wished to take pleasure in it and I feel 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 give you 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 approach and learn how to do it clear. We had one thought 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 thought, occupied with the choreography and chopping the music. The subsequent morning, we went to see Mariia and advised her we had an amazing thought and music to carry to the ice! General, there’s a massive distinction between our rhythm dance and free dance. We wished to do one thing for the viewers to recollect.

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

You might be nonetheless a comparatively new workforce, with this being your second yr collectively. How did you discover one another and resolve to skate collectively?

MI: I used to be in search of a companion for greater than half a yr. 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 could possibly be arduous to search out somebody who would match. We discovered one another by means of 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 wished 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 pleased that you just discovered one another by way of Ice Associate Search, the now twenty years previous portal managed by our editor Daphne Backman that has helped a variety 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 after 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 lots and doing choreographies for myself and one other child, so my coaches advised 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 it is going to be sixteen years of skating for me! Once I was in single skating, I used to be afraid to leap: I might do all triple jumps besides the triple axel, I might additionally do triple-triple and triple-double mixtures 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 might battle as it’s tough to leap with my peak. 

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

DS: We’re engaged on our partnership, continuously! We come to the ice each day to observe. Mariia and I are very completely different, however I feel we work properly collectively.

MI: On daily basis, we’re studying to know one another and our physique language. It’s in stress scenario like competitions that when one thing modifications it’s a must to perceive the physique language and the mindset of the particular person subsequent to you.

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

With this being your second aggressive yr, you have got already earned two nationwide titles and took part in a variety 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 purpose to attain for the longer term?

MI: After each competitors, we study an increasing number of to be collectively, how we skate and the way we really feel. 

DS: We go to the ice each day and do what we study and what we work arduous for. We’re studying to not stress ourselves an excessive amount of with the large competitions. I maintain Mariia’s fingers, get on the ice, focus and do what we’ve to do. Our purpose is to slowly get to the highest!

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

Are there any groups that you just take inspiration from?

DS: For me, the Italians, Charlene (Guignard) and Marco (Fabbri). They’re nice, the best way they do what they do. The best way they cope with stress is exceptional. At Europeans, that they had a lot stress on them, however they did it for one another and their coach. There are a variety of actually good {couples} this yr, 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 degree, however at world degree there are such a lot of nice groups, it’ll be attention-grabbing on the World Championships. Everyone is looking for their very own model 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 model.

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

What do you take pleasure in essentially the most when not coaching? Mariia, we are able to see out of your social media that you just like to color? 

MI: Sure! I adore it, I can present you [she shows a work in progress], this can be a portray of my canine. I paint at residence and in studio. It’s not simple 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 necessary to you.

DS: I wished to say a few phrases of help for Solène (Mazingue) and Marko (Gaidajenko), the couple from Estonia. She had a horrible damage this season: they’re very nice younger individuals and she or he goes by means of such a tough scenario. We need to share our help to them: Solène is just a little hero and we hope they are going to be again quickly.