Little to nothing was known about their coaching team, their training base, their programs for the pre-Olympic season — some rumors, hearsay and a couple of videos from High Performance Camp in Mississauga only made their presence at Rostelecom Cup one of the most awaited moments of the competition. So here they are, Kaitlyn and Andrew, during a genuinely open conversation in Moscow, at the end of the free dance and ensuing press conference, throwing some light on last season — and mostly on the decisions that followed their 5th place at Worlds in Boston.
First of all, congratulations on your medals! How do you feel about your overall performance here? We feel really good. And we feel that we started that journey. And speaking of last season, you had a bit of a roller coaster there. Did you analyze what happened during that season, and what are your thoughts about it now? It actually happened two years in a row: And we analyzed it so much, and I think there are many reasons why that happened. But what we found now is our joy again.
We enjoy our skating every day. And I think success comes from being happy, and not the opposite way. And so this being our first competition, we have so much more to go. And feel challenged every day, but we also feel excited to go and meet those challenges. So you felt like you needed a change, is that why you made these changes as regards your coaching team?
Yeah, we felt like we needed a change with our life. Because they could see it in us, that we needed some other life. And within the first week of working with Nikolai, we were like: Oh, my gosh, we have so many things we can do better! A smiling Nikolai Morozov waiting for Kaitlyn and Andrew at the boards, at the end of their free dance in Moscow Can you tell me a little bit more about working with him? The one thing that we really liked, when we showed up to have a bit of a try-out with him, it was a different approach.
He looked at us doing our programs and he was like: Well, you need work on this thing, this thing and this.
On the first day we had to do a run-through of our free dance. And we were taken aback at first, but then we realized how refreshing that was to hear, because these things were in our control, and these were the things we could work on.
And we really invited that, and we got down to work right away. We worked so much individually, and that was relatively new for us. We spent hours, sometimes even days, without touching each other.
And I think the best teams are the ones that have two great skaters. We were learning where our weaknesses are individually, and that makes us a stronger team. So we really went down to basics, and that took a bit more time. Because we had to take that time to develop these skills, and it was a really short summer for us because of shows.
And we welcome that, because we knew that our goal was not winning every Grand Prix again, our goal is to… Kaitlyn: I mean, winning is nice. Yeah, obviously we really love doing that. But our goal is to be the best we can possibly be, and to take that journey however long it takes. Our sights are really set on the long-term goal.
So what goals are you setting for yourselves this season? Well, obviously we wanna win everything [they both laugh]. We wanna end this season in a different mindset than we did previous season. We wanna be happy with not just placements, we wanna be happy with our performances, and end the year knowing that we loved every moment that we were out there, and really skated as a team, as a couple, and were not just hoping to achieve levels, and scores, and things like that.
And when we do that — we tend to get the results. We wanna push the things that are in our control and let cards fall where they will. We really just want to push ourselves as artists, as athletes, and see what we are capable of. Since this season is a pre-Olympic one, does it have any influence on the way you train now, the way you think? Yeah, Nikolai is working very hard to get to know us very well, to find the right people that we work best with, to use this season as a great prep-season for the Olympics.
We love it here! And this Grand Prix loves you! So, starting with the short dance. Amazing one, I loved it. Tell me about it, how did the idea came to life, and everything? It was actually our second short dance. We were doing a swing dance before.
And we performed it at our High Performance Camp in September. And immediately after that, we both thought: Literally, just for fun. People liked our swing dance, and we liked doing it, it was fun, it was a little bit different from a typical swing, but after leaving High Performance Camp, Nikolai felt like we can go a different direction. We are capable of better. Which we were open to, again — trusting his vision.
And we were watching all the videos, every video, every song, every album. We were immersed in this concept of MJ.
And we were really excited, even though it was so late to start building this program. And we had a blast. We worked with incredible dancers here, in Moscow, to help building this program. And right away, when Nikolai saw us moving to this music, he said: For sure, this is it, this is the right thing. So, it might have taken a bit longer, but in the end we definitely found a program for us. It was a group effort.
I think Kaitlyn was actually the one who found the versions that we really liked. In different order and everything. And we love it, it was so tailor-made for us, this program. And Nikolai also choreographed it, right? With the several dancers, to get the vibe, to get the groove, but in the end he made all the executive choreographic decisions.
And what about the costumes, who designed them? We had those made here, in Russia, as well, and it was kind of a collaborative effort between us, Nikolai and the costume designer.
Yulia Piskunova, and her team of people. Again, she made designs, I sent inspiration pictures, it was a group effort. We like how they left and hopefully they can stay. This might be version one. And Yulia did an amazing job creating costumes that are fitting to the program, have the edge to them and are comfortable to wear.
And what about the free dance? The free dance right away connected to us. We had some connection, like voodoo connection with Spain, we love it there. Yeah, we love Spain. We love Spanish music, we love Spanish cities, just love Spain. And sometimes relationships do that, you know. And portraying a real couple and real life is something that we love to do the most. And the music gave us kind of the storyline, the basis for that. We worked with dancers, we worked with actors to help us really portray them.
And really come up with our story. But the overall theme is very strong within us. To have that love, that loss, those real-life emotions that are up and down, and having that connection to the music has really made it a strong program for us in training so far.
We know that it will only get better, because we feel like no matter what, when we step out there, we can really connect with each other and with that story. You seemed to have been in Russia for some time prior to Rostelecom Cup. For how long have you actually been here? Just a week and a half. We were basically training or doing designs or things like that.
But being able to spend those extra days during training allowed us to really explore different areas, and fall even more and more in love with Russia and Russian people.