To me, they were the greatest discovery of the Olympic season. Having already shown their talent and originality at the 2013 Junior Worlds in Milan, where they won the silver medal, Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron had an explosive Senior debut at Trophée Eric Bompard in Paris, last November, making quite an impression on the audience in Palais Omnisport de Bercy. They are young and daring, and free, and confident – and I for one can’t wait for their second year on the Senior international stage. Their goal? Guillaume says it loud and clear: “We would like a medal at 2018 Olympics”.
by Florentina Tone
Watching you in Milan, last year, when you won the silver medal at the Junior Worlds, made me realize the future of the French ice dancing would be in very good hands – and I had exactly the same feeling in Paris, last November, when you were fifth at Trophée Eric Bompard… You made your Senior debut in the Olympic season and placed 13th at the Worlds in Saitama. Looking back, which was the most important moment of your first season as Seniors?
Guillaume Cizeron: The best moment of this season was definitely the Trophée Eric Bompard. That was our first experience in Senior Grand Prix circuit and we had a really good performance. It was such a good feeling to skate in that rink, we had a lot of support thanks to the French fans. It was really amazing and very intense!
And, on the contrary, which were the biggest disappointments? What happened in Moscow, at Rostelecom Cup, for example?
Guillaume: Moscow is a really bad memory. That was the worst performance I’ve ever had… I don’t really know why I skated so badly, but I try to learn from my mistakes and use them as a lesson for the future.
For a couple who skated on the (Senior) international scene for only one season you seem to have already a lot of admirers… How would you explain that? What are people telling you when asking for autographs?
Guillaume: We always try to be the most sincere in our interpretation, to really give something true to the public. We also try to break new ground through choreography, costumes, and just to be ourselves. We’ve been dancing together for 10 years already and people often tell us they can feel this connection – I think that’s one of the things that people like.
Could you lead me into the story of your free dance for the season recently ended? Many figure skating fans actually discovered you through that intriguing, capturing routine…
Guillaume: This last season we wanted a music that could allow us to move in a certain way, to use a lot of body movements and our flexibility. We were seduced by this music, there was a kind of mystery in it. I always choose a musical piece only if I feel the potential for Gabriella and me to express ourselves. We know that a lot of judges thought this music was a bad choice, „too original”, but I know the public liked it and that’s the most important for me.
Have you made up your mind when it comes to the theme of the free dance for the next season, when it comes to the music? You said at a certain point that you only skate on music chosen by yourselves…
Guillaume: It’s true that in the end that’s always us choosing the music, but we also need our team’s agreement, because they’re going to work on it at least as much as we will… For the next season I think we are going to choose maybe something more „classical”, but we haven’t decided yet. Surprise…
What about the Paso Doble for the short dance? What do you think about it?
Guillaume: I am very excited by next season’s short dance; it’s quite a challenge because it’s a style of dance that needs a lot of character and where you really have to play your role. [n.a. – Gabriella and Guillaume were in Madrid last week, learning Spanish steps and technique from Antonio Najarro, director of the National Ballet of Spain]
Is there an ice dancing couple that you look up to in the history of the discipline? Or a program that you were inspired by…?
Guillaume: My favorite program is definitely Tessa and Scott’s program on Pink Floyd.
You must have watched the ice dancing event in Sochi on TV – was there a performance that you particularly liked? In other words, which were your favorites in Sochi?
Guillaume: My favorites in Sochi were Elena and Nikita. Even if I really love Nathalie and Fabian, the Russian couple was so powerful and they had such a huge performance.
Which are your long term plans and goals? You’re both so very young – you can very well reach both 2018 and 2022 Olympics…
Guillaume: We would like a medal at 2018 Olympics, so we will work very hard until then. Every season is important and we need to prepare this starting now!
PHOTO-GALLERY Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron: what a Senior debut