By Matteo Morelli | Images 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 thus far and what they need to deliver to the ice.

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

Mariia Ignateva (MI): It was a phenomenal occasion and necessary for us as a result of it was a giant competitors. The organising was actually good, every part from the bus schedules to the lodge was properly organised and the organising was good.

Danijil Szemko (DS): We loved it. We had a giant accountability on our again as a result of the following European Championships goes to be in Budapest (Hungary) and with our tenth place we will deliver two {couples} now. Largely we wished to get pleasure from 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 individual 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 do it clear. We had one thought to do one other music for the free, however then I later met with Maxim in his lodge for a drink and we randomly got here up with the Cirque du Soleil thought, excited about the choreography and chopping the music. The following morning, we went to see Mariia and advised her we had an excellent thought and music to deliver to the ice! Total, there’s a huge 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’d have skated one thing like this! Maxim wished to do one thing totally different, one thing that individuals would discover, a dance that they may bear in mind. 

You might be nonetheless a comparatively new staff, 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 crucial 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 exhausting 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 jot down 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 once we determined to skate collectively. 

We’re pleased that you simply discovered one another by way of Ice Accomplice 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 attempting to show me the jumps, however I used to be extra into the music and was transferring rather a lot 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 will probably be sixteen years of skating for me! Once 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 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’d wrestle as it’s troublesome to leap with my peak. 

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

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

MI: Daily, we’re studying to know one another and our physique language. It’s in stress scenario like competitions that when one thing adjustments you need 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 could have already earned two nationwide titles and took part in a variety of totally different competitions together with the 4 Nationals Championships, two European Championships and one World Championships. What did you be taught from these competitions and what do you goal to attain for the longer term?

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

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

MI: All people needs to be on the high! We are going to attempt, 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 take care of stress is outstanding. At Europeans, that they had a lot strain 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 stage, however at world stage there are such a lot of nice groups, it will be attention-grabbing on the World Championships. All people is looking for their very own fashion and strategy to impress the viewers. After 2014, everybody was attempting to repeat Papadakis and Cizeron, however now everyone seems to be looking for their very own fashion.

MI: It’s a actually optimistic improvement in ice dance, as a result of everyone tries to be totally different, it’s good.

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

MI: Sure! I like it, I can present you [she shows a work in progress], this can be a portray of my canine. I paint at dwelling and in studio. It isn’t simple however I attempt!

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 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 harm this season: they’re very nice younger folks and she or he goes by means of such a tough scenario. We need to share our help to them: Solène is a bit hero and we hope they are going to be again quickly.