four months before the Games, Papadakis and Cizeron are back “true to themselves”

Quadruple world ice dance champions in search of Olympic gold in four months in Beijing, Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron make their return to competition in Epinal after 20 months of absence.

It is Friday and Saturday at the Masters in Epinal, a traditional national competition at the start of the season, that Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, both 26 years old, will unveil their two new creations, those which will take them to the 2022 Olympics. 2018 Olympic vice-champions, quadruple world champions and quintuple European champions will thus go out of more than 600 days without skating in competition. Their latest? The 2020 European Championships, in January in Graz (Austria), where the two dancers bowed for the first time since the 2018 Olympics, beaten by the Russians Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov, who have since become world champions in their absence . “We knew we weren’t 100%Had acknowledged the French duo at the time, between a difficult time for her and a common challenge to stay fully engaged when winning becomes a habit.

I’m not going to say that in Graz they were burnt out, but not far off anyway.

Romain Haguenauer

The Covid-19 pandemic then erupted. Then Papadakis and Cizeron, settled in Montreal for seven years, had preferred to give up the trip to Stockholm for the 2021 Worlds at the end of March. “Graz is well, well, far from their heads. This long break linked to the pandemic took them out of this competitive routine. I’m not going to say that in Graz they were burnt out, but not far off anyway. It was the start of something, there was a fed up», Remembers their trainer Romain Haguenauer to AFP. For their inevitably awaited return, which is moreover in the Olympic season – the only gold they lack -, “what we really wanted was for them to be authentic, true to themselves», Explains the technician about his students, who have made a habit of making ice dance explore new horizons, more modern and more daring. “They are young people who go through things and who want to express rather deep feelings, perhaps sometimes a little tortured. And that’s where they are the best», Explains Haguenauer.

Urban dance and waacking

On the imposed theme of urban dance, Papadakis and Cizeron have thus built their rhythmic dance on a movement called waacking, born in the gay community of Los Angeles in the 1970s, around two titles by John Legend, “Made to love” and “You and I». «There is a whole specificity in the arms, describes their trainer. It’s very original and very conquering, it sends a lot. This music also has a very contemporary side. It’s not pop, not the radio thing, not something easy. There is a depth, more than in some others. We were really careful to make these choices, because that’s where they happen to be magical, on things not accessible to others somewhere.“For their free dance, Papadakis and Cizeron had, in line with the tango created last winter, the”willingness to do something with character and strength», Recalls Haguenauer. They found their happiness with the Élégie by Gabriel Fauré, played on cello and piano. “A piece of strength and at the same time of a softness, estimates the technician. Very dramatic, very rich and varied in terms of emotions, and that fits them perfectly.»

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