By Matteo Morelli | Photographs by Yoriko Suzuki

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

Mariia and Danijil, did you get pleasure from taking part 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 establishing was actually good, all the pieces from the bus schedules to the resort was properly organised and the establishing was excellent.

Danijil Szemko (DS): We loved it. We had an enormous accountability on our again as a result of the following European Championships goes to be in Budapest (Hungary) and with our tenth place we are able to carry two {couples} now. Largely we needed to get pleasure from 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 provide you with it?

DS: It was me and our choreographer, Maxim Staviyski. He got here to Budapest and we had been doing the quick programme, actually concentrating on approach and how you can 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, serious about the choreography and chopping the music. The following morning, we went to see Mariia and instructed her we had a terrific thought and music to carry to the ice! Total, there’s a huge 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 totally different, one thing that individuals would discover, a dance that they might keep in mind. 

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

MI: I used to be on the lookout for a companion for greater than half a 12 months. I hoped to seek out somebody tall: it was crucial for me however I knew it’s uncommon to seek out tall ice dancers!

DS: Mariia is kind of tall too, it may very well be onerous to seek 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 needed to seek 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 after we determined to skate collectively. 

We’re joyful 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 seek 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 shifting lots 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 might do all triple jumps besides the triple axel, I might 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 wrestle as it’s tough to leap with my top. 

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

DS: We’re engaged on our partnership, consistently! We come to the ice every single day to follow. Mariia and I are very totally different, however I feel we work properly collectively.

MI: Day-after-day, 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 a must to perceive the physique language and the mindset of the individual 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 could have already earned two nationwide titles and took part in a number of totally 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 longer term?

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

DS: We go to the ice every single day and do what we study and what we work onerous for. We’re studying to not stress ourselves an excessive amount of with the large 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 best way they do what they do. The best way they take care of stress is outstanding. At Europeans, they’d a lot stress 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 degree, however at world degree there are such a lot of nice groups, it’ll be fascinating on the World Championships. Everyone 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 essentially the most when not coaching? Mariia, we are able to 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], it is a portray of my canine. I paint at dwelling 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 youngsters.  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 seek out out extra about you. There’s something else you want to say that’s necessary to you.

DS: I needed 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 folks and she or he goes by means of such a tough state of affairs. We wish to share our help to them: Solène is somewhat hero and we hope they are going to be again quickly.