Janse Van Rensburg & Steffan embrace new alternatives

by Matteo Morelli | Photographs by Yoriko Suzuki

Germany’s Jennifer Janse Van Rensburg and Benjamin Steffan are having fun with a season that’s giving them numerous new alternatives to indicate their potential. We sat down with the 2 time German Nationwide Champions after they competed at their first European Championships in Espoo, Finland, the place they shared what this season means to them and what they’re specializing in in direction of their future.

Jennifer and Benjamin, thanks for spending a while with us. You competed at your first European Championships, ending in ninth place. What do you’re taking away with you from this competitors?

Benjamin Steffan (BS): We really feel excellent about this, it has been fairly a journey to get right here for us. That is our first large championship collectively and reaching that high ten placement means loads to us. We’re very thrilled.

What does this consequence imply for you in relation to your aims? 

Jennifer Janse Van Rensburg (JJ): We’re fairly blissful that with the highest ten we obtained two spots for Germany at subsequent yr’s European Championships. This yr we nonetheless have the upcoming World Championships in Japan, a contest that I feel is most skaters’ dream and that’s additionally coming true for us. We’re fairly excited.

this season, you might have taken half in a number of challenger competitions, you went to the Skate America Grand Prix, and secured a second consecutive title on the German Nationwide Championships.

BS: This season has been a giant step up for us. Now we have been in a position to safe a second nationwide title which meant loads to us and now we have had two medals at challenger competitions (silver at each Denis Ten Memorial and Warsaw Cup), which is a giant deal. It offers us the sensation that what we’re doing is the suitable factor and we’re not at our restrict but however we are able to push our talents to get higher and higher.

Your free programme is on “Prelude (Age of Heroes)” by Balázs Havasi, a music that features a choir firstly, adopted by a piano and solo voice within the center, to finish with a crescendo. How did you provide you with it?

JJ: Our coach (Natalia Karamysheva) heard the music and instantly considered us. She performed it and we immediately cherished it! 

BS: That’s how we selected the music, we may actually see us performing to that and as group we determined to make use of it.

Though that is the post-Olympic yr, the subsequent Milano-Cortina Olympic Video games are usually not that far. Have you ever obtained any ambitions in relation to that?

BS: Sure, now we have sat collectively and talked concerning the future, and now we have determined that we wish to go for the Olympic Video games in 2026. That is our large purpose: we’re taking each step that’s essential and that we are able to take in direction of it. 

We regarded at the moment and the long run, let’s now return to the previous. You will have been skating collectively since 2016, however earlier than getting there you each had completely different experiences. Beginning with you, Jennifer: you had been a single skater for some years till 2014, if you determined to alter.

JJ: I modified very late to ice dance. Fairly lots of people mentioned it was too late, however I took that as a problem. Within the final couple of years we got here to some extent the place we lastly reached what we had been aiming for. It took us some time, I needed to commit loads.

And Benjamin, what’s your background?

BS: I’ve been an ice dancer for fairly a very long time. I by no means did solo skating, nevertheless I did play ice hockey earlier than that! However that was a very long time in the past. I began ice dancing once I was ten years previous, I’ve had a number of companions up till I partnered up with Jenny. I actually admire each facet of each partnership that I’ve had to date. The whole lot that I’ve carried out has taken me nearer to the place I’m, and the place we’re, proper now.

How did you discover one another and determined to skate collectively?

JJ: Truly, now we have recognized one another for fairly a very long time! Now we have been mates outdoors the ice rink too. Now we have discovered one another in our primary military course and sport schooling: our educator knew we had been each searching for companions and instructed we tried out. 

Whilst you focus in your aggressive profession, you might be additionally doing a training qualification course. 

BS: Our federation has given us the power to take a little bit shortcut, so to say, to that whole schooling course of. Since we’re professional athletes, now we have to do the identical exams, however so far as the academic half goes we don’t should attend each seminar, which supplies us the power to do the course whereas we’re skating. It’s a actually good alternative to do one thing that we are able to use later and get a training licence whereas we’re skating.

Is that this a future aspiration of yours and one thing you undoubtedly wish to do after your aggressive profession, or is it one thing you wish to have in case you wish to take that path?

BS: I feel I communicate for the each of us by saying that it’s an possibility, however there was nothing determined but. It’s undoubtedly factor to have as a result of we each share such a giant ardour for this sport and ice dancing specifically. I may undoubtedly see myself teaching sooner or later, however it is going to rely upon circumstances.

JJ: It might be good in fact, we’re having this expertise and we’d like to share this with the youthful generations.

What are your finest reminiscences as a group?

BS: There may be not one reminiscence specifically, however one factor I actually admire about our partnership is that it’s not only a work relationship, but in addition friendship. Now we have managed to undergo so many ups and downs collectively and meaning loads to me.

JJ: I agree with that! That is probably the most beneficial factor to have, if you’re outdoors of the rink you can too do stuff collectively and never avoiding or combating one another. I actually admire our relationship!