Found this gem on FanForum. Translated by Lizy (found on Tumblr at believeitsadream!)
TESSA VIRTUE AND SCOTT MOIR: “WE’RE GOING TO BE OLYMPIC CHAMPIONS!”They’re beautiful. They’re talented. Their programs are thought out to the most miniscule detail. Ideal style, unique choice and combination of music, costumes, and movements. This is true art and the highest mastery of the sport. They’re ideal in everything. They’re Olympic champions.—–At the Olympics in Vancouver, Canadian pair Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were undoubtedly much higher than any of the other dance pairs, that thoughts did not even arise in people that their victory was not deserved. Behind this victory is the training team of Marina Zueva and Igor Shpilband. They were the ones in Vancouver who gave a new direction for the sport of ice dance. Guest for the day – Marina Zueva – talks about her “golden” students.Marina, what were you feeling at the moment when your figure skaters won in Vancouver? You know, it wasn’t unexpected. They won the original dance, and then it was clear that Tessa and Scott are very close to victory. And then, it was pretty natural and we were ready for it. First of all, Tessa and Scott were one hundred percent ready. I believe that we planned their season correctly, because it was long, difficult and we had to calculate everything correctly. The free dance to Mahler’s 5th Symphony was planned by me two years ago. In the pre-Olympic season, Tessa and Scott performed to Pink Floyd, and that was a special program, put together by me so that in the next season they would shine with their performance to Mahler. So then you started relaying the message even then to the pair, the judges, and the audience? The Olympics can’t be won easily. Especially as concretely as Scott and Tessa did. How did you prepare them for the Olympics? Told them something, somehow preped them?… I was telling them: “You’ll win the Olympics and, maybe, not one, if the main idea of all of your creation will be to make people happy.” Before the start I told them: “You have to gift your performances to your compatriots.” Tessa and Scott are big patriots of their country. Canadians generally act differently with this than Americans, they’re deep patriots of their nation. That’s why winning the Olympics wasn’t the goal in the end. The most important thing was to allow the audience to have fun, to force a million people to feel happiness in their souls. But there was readiness for victory: in one interview Tessa said: “I was dreaming (as in sleep dreaming, not like goal dreaming) for a long time that I won the Olympics.” Were you worried that they were overconfident? No, I wasn’t worried. We tried to establish a normal atmosphere for them. We weren’t constantly training on the Olympic arena. And at training, we didn’t allow them to do more than needed. Were there generally any boundaries with journalists? No, but for a long time prior we were discussing this with Skate Canada: how many interviews are there supposed to be, how much time are they supposed to devote to this. In the end, everything was very well planned. Why did you choose Mahler for the Olympic free dance?This is one of my favorite pieces. Apparently, most of Mahler’s pieces relate to death, but this piece sounds very bright to me. I read a lot about this composer. When Mahler wrote “Adagietto” and showed it to his bride, Alma, she felt that it was a proposal for marriage. When I found out this story, I thought: how can a proposal to marriage be thought of by someone as having to do with death? This can’t be. Reversely, it is a hope for a bright future. I chose the performance by a German orchestra, which plays the composition in a more high/happy key, because all other orchestras of the world play it with a shade of darkness. I wanted for many people to come to know Mahler. In America, there are very few who know of him. Everyone knows Tchaikovsky, Rahmanin, Stravinsky. Beethoven….thanks to the performance of my skaters, many more people now love him, and I’m glad, that I could change the acceptance of this composer just a little bit. Marina, in what moment did you see them as future champions? No, I didn’t see them as future champions. I just saw that this was a diamond in dance. That this was a boundless chance to show harmony of movements, feelings, harmony of the merging with music. And I was always telling them this. And always added that “there will be a result, if you’ll be able to do this and if you’ll be able to convey this to the audience.” Ok, when did you realize that they can fight for Olympic gold? You know when? At their first senior world championships, which took place in Tokyo, Japan. The day before worlds, I spoke to the president of Skate Canada, and he asked, “What place can they get?” I said, “Sixth.” Nothing like this every happened in ice dance – that yesterday’s juniors at their first senior world championships take sixth place. But I felt that they can do it. That’s what happened. On the other hand, when I, myself, skated in 1977 and went to my first world championship (that was also held in Japan), my partner and I took fifth place. Though, that wasn’t the first year that we were skating on the senior level. But we were the third pair from our nation. I told this to Tessa and Scott: “Compete with me.” As a joke, I distracted them from the seriousness of the moment.I saw that technically, they were the best, because they’ve been skating together since they were children. And you can’t argue with that. They have the same body rhythm. But there was a problem with lifts. And I said, “Guys, if you don’t learn lifts, then you won’t be able to fight for the highest titles.” They were bright from the beginning, but in order to portray the true image, everything needs to be irresistible. And I started to lead them in that direction. I looked over a ton of material on lifts, I turned to Skate Canada with a favor for them to find me good coaches. They helped, they found specialists. Tessa and Scott began working with gymnasts, then with acrobats, then we turned to Cirque du Soleil. And here’s the result. Can you remember the first time you saw them? It was in 2002. Tessa and Scott came to us to work on Russian dance. We gave them one lesson. Igor worked on technique and I worked on choreography. At the time, they were little kids, but you know what shocked me most, how quickly they absorb the material! And I think that it was in that moment that they felt that we were their coaches. You know, each person has their own coach, but the talent is always there and it knows what it needs. And in 2004 they came to us for good and we started to work. Who turned to you and asked to put them in your group?
Their parents. Do you remember that first conversation? Honestly, no. I just know that a Canadian coach, Mary Jane Stong (spelling?); she was the coach of the Wilson/Makkoll pairing. She knows me from when my partner and I were competing against her skaters in the world championships. Then I was working under contract in Canada. That’s where Katia Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov were preparing for the Lillehammer Olympics. Tell us about Scott and Tessa’s families. Who are their parents? There are many Moirs in London, they’re all relatives and they all have a relation to figure skating. Scott’s mom and aunt are twins and they both work as coaches for figure skating. Scott’s brother also competed in ice dance with his cousin – there was a pairing Moir/Moir.Tessa’s mother and father are lawyers. No one has any relation to figure skating, but the family is into sports. Her dad regularly goes to the gym while her mother does ballet. Her mom generally played a great role in Tessa’s fate. She saw Tessa’s talent and had her start figure skating and ballet, which Tessa trained in for fourteen years. Her mom always helps with the design of the costumes. And I want to tell her a huge thank you for this because her help is just priceless. Of course everyone makes mistakes, and there are arguments, but the outfits always seem to accentuate Tessa’s features. Scott’s costumes are sewed in Toronto, at a special place for men’s clothing. What were they like when they first came to you? Tessa – a small and skinny girl with thin braids. Everyday for practice she’d wear a different sports outfit. She had overalls from ballet, and everyday she’d come in new ones. This is the way in which she was different from the other girls. And it’d seem that this was a tiny detail that wouldn’t really be paid any attention by me, but I was always interested in what she’d wear the next time. And I was waiting for every lesson. That’s Tessa. Generally she’s an introvert, she keeps everything inside. This is a person who doesn’t go with openness, she protects herself. She has many feelings, emotions, wishes, but they’re not for show.Scott’s the complete opposite of Tessa – he’s an open guy, the soul of company. He has a mass amount of friends, he’s always happy, and he’s always energized. Is it hard working with two people who are so different?What does that have to do with anything? Every person is absolutely different…and I think that I work more with talent than with a particular person. That’s why my relationship with the skaters isn’t really affected by their characters off the ice. I think that this helps me immensely. I see talent and I work with it. I have a feeling that it is my duty before God to develop this talent, show everyone and inspire them with the good.After the Olympics, many people were talking about Tessa and Scott’s programs; we were receiving many letters. But the strongest one for me was one letter. A Canadian couple sent this to Tessa and Scott’s email. They were watching the Olympic Games. And when Tessa and Scott were performing their free dance, the woman said to the main, “Look at how a man should treat a woman!” And while they were skating, she would periodically focus his attention on this. And at the moment when Tessa and Scott were receiving their gold medals, the man proposed to the woman. Of course this touched me. For me this was the strongest, in the area of feelings, because feelings – that’s what I raised Tessa and Scott on. I forbid them to skate without feelings. I said, “Anybody, only not you. You even have to skate in practice with feelings.” What kind of relationship do they have off the ice?They’re friends. In some interview they said, “We’re like brother and sister.” When I heard this, I thought, this is new. (NOTE: THERE’S A RUSSIAN SAYING AT THAT PART, AND THERE’S NO LITERAL TRANSLATION, SHE WAS JUST KIND OF LIKE YEAH, SURE) I’m working here with feelings, and they’re apparently like brother and sister. They already have a certain image, an image on the ice. I created it and I’m not shy saying it, because it was systematically planned. Because I saw that this was the better part of them. You told them that they were wrong? Of course! Figure skating – it’s fifty percent sport, fifty percent art. And what’s art? It’s image. So that’s why you have to think before saying anything. What do they do for fun? Tessa like music, ballet, design. Scott reads books. For Americans this is rare. Generally, they’re like kids cause they are kids. Twenty and twenty-two years – for America that’s very young. They play video games. Tessa goes to university. For what? To become a lawyer and she’s taking art history. Charlie White is also studying to be a lawyer. We’ll see …two such great artists, we’ll see what kinds of lawyers we’ll get out of them?! And Meryl Davis is studying anthropology. And how she got to this by studying figure skating her entire life I’ll never know! What do they do in their free time? They are all very good friends. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Tessa kind of stay apart sometimes, but everyone else goes out to eat and they talk. Two seasons in a row in the summer with some other friends they organized a baseball team. Can you imagine, after training on the ice they go to practice for baseball, then they have games and competitions. This is how much energy, strength, and enthusiasm is needed! How did you live through Tessa’s operation? We lived through it like anyone else. What, is she the first person to become injured? Of course we try to do everything to keep the body stable, but this is a human’s body. When the doctors said that surgery is needed, we decided that the faster they do it, the better. And the more we listen during recovery, the more we’ll be listening to the suggestions of the doctors, the faster she’ll recover. Every week we met with a leading doctor, with physiotherapist. I was talking to them about what kinds of practices Tessa can have. Who’s the leader in their pair? On the ice, probably Scott, he’s more intense in work. But in regards to some questions off the ice, probably Tessa. Who gives in more often? When they’re working, I don’t really notice any conflicts. They have a common goal, they both like to skate, and everything else doesn’t bother them when they’re working. The only time there are arguments is when we need to pick music. This especially happened at the beginning when we first started working together. In that season they had to skate the waltz. We had about seven or eight choices, but we couldn’t come to a unanimous decision. What did I do? On two pieces of paper, I wrote all the names of the programs and gave one to Tessa and one to Scott, and I asked them to write them in order of preference. And then when I put it all together, it showed what pieces were closer to them. Generally, in reference to picking music, with them it’s difficult. They both need to love the music, and they need to feel it. After the choice of “Umbrellas of Cherbourg” there were no more issues. Same with Pink Floyd and of course with Mahler’s 5th Symphony. In the pre-Olympic season, I was long awaiting their suggestions for a free dance program, and Igor’s suggestions. In our group, it’s never happened that I brought the music and said, “This is what you’ll be skating to.” It just doesn’t happen. Oppositely, we always compete to see who’ll suggest the better music, maybe one of them has something better, maybe I wasn’t entirely correct. But, happily, I was correct with this. I understood that this would be genius. And when Tessa and Scott heard this music, they immediately agreed to dance to it. Additionally, they said, “Marina, we’re going to be Olympic champions.” Really? Yes. It went like this. We were at the rink, but, so that we wouldn’t listen to the music in the rink itself, we went out to my car – so that the atmosphere was more intimate, so that nothing would bother us. And the three of us went outside in our skates, sat in my car, and I put on Mahler. And after the music ended, the first thing they both said, “Marina. We’re going to be Olympic champions.” Funny, I only thought of that now. Tell us, have they changed after becoming Olympic champions? Several weeks after the Olympics we went to the World Championships, and after that I haven’t seen them yet. So I just don’t know whether they changed or not. They’re still on tour. They had a tour in Japan, then the Canadian tour of Stars on Ice. I don’t think that right after the Olympic Games they understood their position. Hopefully they still don’t completely understand their position. We’re starting practice again at the end of June, so we’ll see then. Did you give them some kind of assignment before the tour – to think about the music or just about the new season? No. I believe that they just need to relax, get away from the stressful situations. These two years were very pressured in terms of preparations. And then the operation. I told you that the surgery was ordinary. Of course it was ordinary. But ordinary from the coach’s position. But for them it’s life, it’s a whole tragedy. Tessa was constantly worrying, hoping her legs wouldn’t betray her. Her legs didn’t betray her. I just tried to make it so that the situation would go calmly and smoothly. Marina, what’s most extraordinary for you about this pair? Harmony. Harmony in everything. If you look at them separately or individually, then yes, Scott is an interesting young boy, Tessa is a charming girl. But when they’re together – it’s completely unique harmony between a man and a woman. At least for me. I saw that in them, and for me they’re Katia and Sergei in ice dance. What separated Gordeeva and Grinkov from everyone else? Harmony. They revolutionized pairs skating, and Tessa and Scott revolutionized ice dance. By: Elena Semikova