"The most important thing for me is that I like the programs".
Lisa Tuktamysheva presented her new programs at the test skates in St. Petersburg and reveals more about them in an interview for the German magazine Pirouette and the website www.figureskating-online.com.
*Why do we report on Russian skaters and publish interviews with them in spite of the terrible war (which is even not allowed to be called war in Russia) in Ukraine? We believe that these horrible events are not the fault of the Russian people and we feel that the civil society in Russia should be strengthened and not excluded.*
As you wrote yourself it was the beginning of your 16th season, congratulations! You showed your new programs at the St. Petersburg test skates. How exciting is it when you show new programs in front of an audience and judges for the first time?
LT: It's probably more exciting to show them at a bigger event. For example, at the test skates in Moscow. I think I'll be much more nervous there. Because here in St. Petersburg there was more or less a homely atmosphere at the Academy, I have performed there many times. There were not so many people in the audience, and I realized that this was only the first time I was showing the program, so I approached this event calmly. But the excitement, of course, is always there, because even if you like the program, and all your team likes it, you never know how the audience will receive it and how the judges will assess it. So there is, of course, some excitement in that, but in general for me the most important thing is that I like it, in principle.
Right. Did the judges give you any feedback on the program?
LT: The debriefs were very short, purely to the point. I mean, we had a lot of people, and there wasn't a chance to comment on everyone for any lengthy period of time. But the feedback was, in principle, positive. But we talked more about the technical points.
Lisa Tuktamysheva performs her Short Program at the test skates in St. Petersburg
In the short program, you have an unusual arrangement of the song "Feeling good". How did that idea come about, and who choreographed the program?
LT: The idea came up last year. I found this music a year ago and suggested it to Alexei Nikolaevich for the Olympic season because I liked it so much. But it's short and it would be good for the show. And we decided in France (during the training camp in Courchevel) not to waste time and do some program, show program, because it is very fast and quite fun. There was a Frenchman there, Adrien Tesson, who did show programs and one for me as well. And the show program was quite successful, and we decided to try to change it into a short program three weeks before the test skates. That is why it is still a bit raw and is not as well developed as we would like it to be, because we made this decision literally at the end of the summer. The free skating program already looks much better, I think, because we've been working on it since June-July.
I remember that at first you and the composer Bhima Yusunov chose the music for the free skating. And now you have completely different music, "Loneliness" by Igor Krutoi. How did that happen?
LT: We tried to do this program (with Yusunov's music), but the music turned out to be, for the free program at least, so a little heavy. It left such a gloomy impression on the ice that we decided to change it, to make a lighter program. But I still think that this music can be used for a show program, and it will look much better in a show. It's so intense, and you want to really do some cool stuff in it, instead of working out the technical part and concentrating on just what's needed for the judges. That's why we made that decision, we changed the music. I think it was a good decision because I like my free program now. It's such a sincere program, such a touching program.
Indeed, it's very different from my previous programs. For you, I think, it's a different character and something new. I don't think you've ever skated in that style.
LT: I definitely didn't have a free program with this kind of music. I've wanted something so lyrical for a long time, so there are no regrets at all. It's strange that we didn't take this kind of music before, because I think it suits me.
Lisa Tuktamysheva performs her Free Skating at the test skates in St. Petersburg
Yes, very much so. You can see how you feel this music. I liked the program very much, it's beautiful. Tell me more about the character, please.
LT: It's a story about blindness in all its senses. Physical blindness, emotional blindness, blindness of human relationships, communication, spirit. Any blindness, creates a sense of loneliness, which is the name of the music for this program. I'm skating a blind woman who in the middle of the program is able to see and she has hope that she can see forever, but at the end she realizes that it was a tiny moment of happiness. It is a spark of hope as beautiful as a dream. She withdraws into herself again, closes in her blindness, and is left in this world with nothing. She even renounces everything, because she has no more hope.
We were inspired by the film " Dancer in the Dark ", it's a very complex story of a woman with a sick child trying to work and survive somehow. She gradually loses her sight, but she has something to live for and sing for (in my case to skate) so it is not all that bleak! Blindness means, I can't see you physically, or I can't feel you emotionally, I am left by this world in the darkness of my own doubts, I have shut down, I have given up. That is, I am alone in this world, no one understands me! It's a scary moment when - you're alone! Probably everyone goes through this, I think. And everyone hopes that everything will be resolved safely, but everyone decides for himself how to get out of this situation. We decided that a happy ending is not always possible, after all, as long as this heroine is left to herself. In the darkness of her loneliness.
You could call it a philosophical program.
LT: Well, yes. We worked with choreographers Elizaveta Navislavskaya - she's a dancer, actress and acting teacher at the Eifman Academy. She's a great expert. That's the only way to work with her. Naturally, we also worked with other choreographers, Ilia Averbukh mounted the program, and Tatiana Nikolaevna (Prokofieva) was involved. And Alexei Nikolaevich of course - you can't do without him.
Have you already decided about the costumes?
LT: Yes, there is an idea, we will implement it. We'll try to show it all at the test skates.
Going back again to the fact that this is your 16th season. Some of your competitors weren't even born yet when you started performing. Is it scary to think about it, or on the contrary, is it inspiring?
LT: The older I get, the easier it is for me, emotionally, actually. I don't know why. When I was a kid, I was much more emotional than I am now, I think. The more conscious you become, the easier it is somehow for you to go through it all again. In fact, it's not like it's unique that I can do what I love, even at 25. God, I'm going to be 26 years old! A quarter of my life (century) has passed.
Lisa Tuktamysheva and her coaches Tatiana Prokofieva and Alexei Mishin at the test skates in St. Petersburg