By Matteo Morelli | Images by Yoriko Suzuki

Mariia Ignateva & Danijil Szemko have been skating collectively for 2 years representing Hungary, working laborious 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 this point and what they wish 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 gorgeous occasion and essential for us as a result of it was a giant competitors. The establishing was actually good, every little thing from the bus schedules to the resort was properly organised and the establishing was good.

Danijil Szemko (DS): We loved it. We had a giant 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 deliver two {couples} now. Largely we wished to get pleasure from it and I feel it occurred, there was a very 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 have been doing the quick programme, actually concentrating on approach and the way 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 following morning, we went to see Mariia and informed her we had an important thought and music to deliver 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’d 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 keep in mind. 

You’re 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 accomplice 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 kind of tall too, it could possibly be laborious to search out somebody who would match. We discovered one another via 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 accomplice search request: I used to be the primary woman to write 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 after we determined to skate collectively. 

We’re completely satisfied that you just discovered one another through Ice Accomplice Search, the now twenty years outdated portal managed by our editor Daphne Backman that has helped quite a lot 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 outdated. My coaches have been making an attempt to show me the jumps, however I used to be extra into the music and was transferring so much and doing choreographies for myself and one other child, so my coaches informed 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 very good skater however I used to be already tall, so if I have 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 affix forces?

DS: We’re engaged on our partnership, continually! We come to the ice day-after-day to apply. Mariia and I are very completely different, however I feel 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 modifications you must perceive the physique language and the mindset of the individual subsequent to you.

DS: We will 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 quite a lot of completely 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 purpose to realize 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 day-after-day and do what we be taught and what we work laborious for. We’re studying to not stress ourselves an excessive amount of with the massive competitions. I maintain Mariia’s arms, get on the ice, focus and do what we’ve got to do. Our purpose is to slowly get to the highest!

MI: Everyone needs to be on the high! We’ll attempt, 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 way in which they take care of stress is outstanding. At Europeans, they’d a lot strain on them, however they did it for one another and their coach. There are quite a lot 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’ll be fascinating on the World Championships. Everyone is looking for their very own type and strategy 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 type.

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

What do you get pleasure from 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 find it irresistible, 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’s not simple however I attempt!

And also you Danijil, what do you want doing? 

DS: I’m doing music and dealing on teaching youngsters.  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 want to say that’s essential to you.

DS: I wished 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 individuals and he or she goes via such a tough scenario. We wish to share our assist to them: Solène is just a little hero and we hope they are going to be again quickly.