and Jean-Luc Baker: “At the senior level everything is more
Q: Tell us about your
dances this season.
The SD is a Spanish style. It’s called Malaguena.
: It’s not by a well-known composer. It’s more about a different
interpretation of Malaguena compared to the much orchestrated strong
style of Malaguena. It uses the accents of the Spanish music with
acoustic guitar and we want to take a different approach to the
the FD is our modern take of the classic Romeo and Juliet. We’re
telling a modern story because if you do Romeo and Juliet, it’s a
one track mind, but this way we don’t die in the end, we’re
happy. We still have similar struggles but it ends up working out.
from the soundtrack to the “Romeo and Juliet” film in 2013. We
both have agreed that instead of saying we’re really skating to
Romeo and Juliet story, it’s more about forbidden love.
Q: Short dance -
very difficult theme – Paso Doble. Whether it was heavy to work on
The dance itself isn’t that difficult but the key points this year
are very hard for a lot of the teams. They are [judges] very
particular about want they to see and a lot of times from event to
event they’re different. It depends what the color and technical
specialist are looking for in their personal preference.
At least currently, there is not a universal idea of what the
technical panel would like to see and that can get difficult, because
you are trying to understand what exactly they want you to do, but it
differs from competition to competition. But we are very glad to have
received feedback this week on what we need to work on. Hopefully in
the upcoming weeks when we go to NHK Trophy in Osaka we will be able
to improve upon that.
this season you moved up to the senior level, was it difficult for
Oh, I don’t that it was very
difficult. It definitely has its positives and negatives. We’ve
really embraced the senior level. We stepped up our training from
last year, we already train really hard, but I’ve noticed a
difference in our training effort and level for longevity and it
wasn’t too difficult as it was an adventure and a lot of fun.
A lot of excitement too. We’re both
excited to be part of a newer level because it’s the big leagues
now and the real deal. Every accomplishment we’ve made as a juniors
we look back fondly and are proud of what we’ve accomplished, but
now at the senior level, the real work starts. Everything becomes
more serious so we’re both fueled by it and excited to see what the
Q: What are your
plans, goals in this season?
two Grand Prixs is a huge goal and accomplishment just because we
knew we get one from winning the junior world tittle but getting two
is great. As for goals, we want to put out strong performances each
time. We have our own personal goals but it’s difficult to say what
they are because it changes from competition to competition. We’re
just trying to focus on one thing at a time and trying to push
ourselves against the other competitors.
Goal wise, we are looking to improve on
the quality of our programs and the way we put them out each time. We
are trying to put more passion and more aggression in the way we
attack our programs every time we compete. Of course, we want to
improve our technical score and increase our levels.
Q: Tell about your
team in Detroit Skating Club
We’re extremely fortunate to have the training center that we do in
Detroit. There’s three training camps in Michigan but we’re
training at DSC like you said and are happy where we are. We have an
incredible team of coaches, Anjelika Krylova, Pasquale Camerlengo,
and Natalia Deller who support us and have our backs. They’re all
incredibly qualified and they know exactly what we need at this point
in our career to push us and help us climb in the ranks. In addition,
we also have a great training environment with lots of elite skaters
who push us to be better every day. It helps motivate you every day
to go to the rink and have them training by your side.
there is some music, ideas, images which you would like to embody on
We don’t necessarily have anything at
this point in our careers that we are dying to skate to. We take it
one season at a time. We try to see how our skating progress
throughout the season to push ourselves in different styles.
think it’s dependent on what we need at the beginning of the season
that will make us have the best opportunity to excel. Jean-Luc and I
try to look for interesting takes on programs and different modern
approaches so I’d definitely say for both of us that we tend not to
look for traditional well known music other than Malaguena this year,
of course, but we looked for a different unique version. We also like
to push the boundaries and stand out and be original with our
Q: You are together
3 seasons, but feeling, that you skate together since childhood how a
couple, what is your secret?
Our secret is not necessarily a secret
per say, a lot of reporters ask that. We truly believe it’s a
multitude of things including the way we train is very different from
a lot of other teams. Not in the way of our intensity is different,
but it’s just our approach of having fun and recognizing why we
started skating in the first place. Always trying to go to the rink
to have a good day. Even if it’s a bad day, I know I can go to the
rink not having a good day and Kaitlin will cheer me up and we’ll
get on the ice and have fun training. We’re always doing something
that we love, and can laugh with one another, and being able to push
ourselves that way.
Even though this is our career and this
is what we’ve chosen to do, it’s most definitely work, day in and
day out, pushing ourselves, our bodies, and our minds. It’s a lot
of work and a lot of effort but ultimately it’s a passion of ours
and we love to skate so we try to bring that out on the ice every day
and just enjoy the journey and that has worked for us so far.
Q: What are the
strong sides of your partner?
would have way to many things to say about Jean-Luc that I could list
off the top of my head but if I had to choose a few, it would be that
he’s extremely level headed in the everyday, he’s able to put
whatever training we’ve had in the past – good or bad, behind him
and go with a fresh start. Not much can get to him, he’s an even
keel person. He’s extremely easy to work with and he’s have such
a great personality that he always makes me laugh and smile when we
train. And skating wise, he’s agility, I always call him a cat
because he’s always light on his feet.
Oh stop, stop…
but keep going right?
just… I think, that he has got a great ability and a great body of
work that he’s able to get himself in situations that he can
quickly climb out of.
Thank you. And for Kaitlin, she’s
literally one of the most hard workers I’ve ever met. You can put
anything in front of her and if it doesn’t work at that moment, in
that hour, or in that day, it will happen within that week no matter
what. And I can tell her to do something and she’ll figure out a
way to do it and she’s there at 6am and doesn’t leave until 10pm.
She’ll do whatever it takes for us as a team to maneuver around any
obstacles that are in front of us to go over them or around them. She
always has a way to approach to push through any obstacle that is in
front of us and to keep a calming matter in our training because
sometimes it can obviously get difficult with repetition and she just
great with having will power to push through all of that. Sorry, I
have a bad cough after the FD.
I remind you to breathe right.
And she always always reminds me to breathe because I forget to
breath. So she’s like “breathe breathe” and I’m like okay
I’ll do it now.
Q: Do you have
favorite couples in ice dancing?
course, we love more recent teams, like Meryl and Charlie, Tessa and
Scott. I think it was incredible to watch them to push the sport so
much. They really just were taken to another level the ice-dance. It
became more popular sport and push the level of the athleticism.
Meryl and Charlie are always just so strong, that never can systems
with mine gloving and Tessa and Scott very just the passion and the
connection as the always broad to the ice with incredible. I always
loved watching my coach Anjelika. I think she is great skater and she
just so furious on the ice, I would love to embody the confidence she
and also I love Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean from England. They
are huge and such geniuses and pure class. I really thought their
style is really ice-dance-like and it’s throughout the system
now-a-days. It’s really hard to show that level of effortlessness
and lightness while you skate and such ease without being “go go
go.” You can show speed with little to no work. That’s what
Kaitlin and I are working on and want to be able to show that.
We try to take qualities we like
from each team and make it our own.
Q: How you came to
this kind of sport- figure skating?
My entire family has been on the ice
for a long time. My mother was a skater and she wanted my two
brothers and me to learn how to skate and she never expected us to
become so invested. My two brothers play hockey and it’s become a
part of all of our lives. My mom always tells me, I just wanted you
guys to learn how to skate, and she’s definitely inspired us to
become a part of the ice world.
parents were both competitors. My mom was in the ’88 Olympics for
Ice Dance representing England and my dad was a pair skater for
England as well. He made it to junior worlds and maybe worlds, I
don’t know for sure. My mom was significantly more successful with
her skating. So they put me on the ice at a young age and I enjoyed
it. I was on and off for a couple of years and then I hit about 10
years old and loved to perform in shows and all that. Yeah, I love it
when people are watching me, so I started doing shows and from then
on, I loved it.
Q: What do you like
to do, in time, free from sport?
I’m extremely interested in the
brain and I love the psychology of the brain and I love neuroscience
and so one day, Jean-Luc doesn’t believe me, I would love to be a
neurosurgeon…a brain surgeon which is definitely an adventurous
goal of mine. Of course I would have to re-evaluate it once skating
is not as prevalent in my life but I can definitely see myself going
in to that field whether its neuroscience or psychology or something
related to the brain.
Real quick before I say mine, back to
her will power, even though I say I don’t think she’ll do it, she
will do it. I know that for a fact. I’m really just interested in
skating and I aspire to be a coach and choreographer when I’m
older. That’s my passion and I’ve known that since I was 10, the
creative process in the shows and forming new programs and figuring
our different transitions I love. I have so much knowledge already at
my young age with what we do, I really feel I can be a good coach
later on. As for hobbies, you’re going to laugh but I love to
No joke. He’s the best at it. He would win the world championships
We were so lucky that when we got off the plane here in Moscow,
Anjelika told us to stay awake because of the jet lag, so we saw the
red square and other than that, it’s the only time we’ve seen the
red square. I’ve been either here in my bed, in the dining hall, or
at the rink. And Kaitlin likes to go out and walk around with her mom
and explore a little bit and I love to do that but I’m like
competition so I sleep. But it’s the same when I’m at home. I get
exhausted and I have it down to the minute to get up in the morning
and ready and out the door.
Q: Have you ever
been in Russia earlier? Do you like it? And how for you this Grand Prix?
We have never been in Russia, neither
Moscow or any part of Russia. It’s been an incredible experience to
see this part of the world. Moscow is beautiful, we got to see like
Jean-Luc said before, the Red Square, and it’s stunning. It took my
breath away. When you see it in pictures and in magazines you want to
go there one day but when you see it in person, it was even more
In generally, I think the competition was great, it was
extremely well organized and we had all the resources. The rink was
great and the Russian audience too.
Fans amazing, so supportive and it doesn’t matter what country
where are you from.
was really great to see, because sometimes at the junior level you
don’t get to have a big crowd. In last year, in country like Japan
, where grand prix final was, we’ve got experience sort of like a
senior level experience, but in generally we was really exiting to
Q: Thank you!!
Interview by Veronika Potaturko