Interview Charlène Guignard and Marco Fabbri : "The objective was to come home with a medal. The color was of less importance."

© Alice Alvarez
© Alice Alvarez

Charlène Guignard was born in Brest, while Marco Fabbri is from Milan. The duo formed in 2010 under the guidance of Barbara Fusar Poli. After winning the silver medal at the World Championships in Saitama in 2023, Charlène and Marco left Montreal with a bronze medal.


Solène: What is your assessment of these World Championships?

Charlène: It's a fairly positive assessment. We were a bit worried when we arrived. We told ourselves that we had to attack and do our best. After the rhythm dance, we were really happy with our performance. The atmosphere was excellent, and we had fun on the ice. The free dance was more difficult. We were tired, and Marco was sick all week. We fought until the end, despite the issues with my dress at the end of the program. The goal was to come home with a medal. The color was of less importance.


Solène: How did you experience the end of the free dance with your dress caught in your blade?

Charlène: When I got up, I felt something pulling. I lifted my foot to try to unhook the dress, but I realized it was still stuck. I knew it would be too obvious if I used my hand to remove it. I didn't really think about the fall. The dress was stretchy and light. I thought it would tear. I had to keep going! There was only one element left. Marco was much more worried. He was ready to catch me in case of a fall. We couldn't do the final lift as usual and only got a level two, but that wouldn't have changed the result. We certainly didn't expect it, and this dress had never given us problems before.


Solène: It wasn't that long.

Charlène: No, indeed. We had modified that part of the program before the World Championships, but we had tested the costume during training with not as good ice conditions as during the competition. It happens; it's just bad luck.


Solène: Marco, you said after the free dance that you were sick, saying, "Now I can say it." Why didn't you want to mention it earlier?

Marco: I don't know what I had. We didn't walk around much in Montreal before the competition because of the weather, but I think I caught a cold and I might also be allergic to dust. But I don't like to say I'm sick before a competition because it sounds like an excuse if there is a mistake. Now that the competition is over, I can say that I wasn't in great shape.


© Alice Alvarez
© Alice Alvarez


Solène: What is your best memory of the season?

Charlène: It was a fairly consistent season without too many ups and downs. Even the NHK Trophy (Note: where Charlène and Marco won the silver medal behind Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson) isn't a bad memory. We skated well, and we were happy with our performance. We couldn't have done better. Even though the result wasn't what we aimed for, that competition remains a good memory. I think the European Championships were my most beautiful experience this year.


Solène: Did you feel a unique atmosphere? The end of the free dance looked like a rock concert, with Allison Reed and Saulius Ambrulevicius as superstars.

Charlène: Of course, we heard the audience; it was incredible. We were lucky not to skate right after Allison and Saulius. But the audience was great with everyone.

Marco: The audience was exceptional. It was undoubtedly the best European Championship in terms of atmosphere and organization that we've ever done.


Solène: Was it more challenging to defend the title in 2024 or to win it for the first time in 2023?

Marco: In 2023, we really felt like the favorites. It was our first time in our careers in that position.

Charlène: Everyone expected us to win. Since July, I had been stressed about the European Championships. We knew who would be there and who wouldn't be compared to 2022, so we knew it was "our turn." It was very stressful.

Marco: We didn't want to miss the opportunity to win the competition. This year was a little different because we were again the favorites. Still, the season went a bit differently, with the NHK Trophy in particular, and we put less pressure on ourselves than the previous season. It was easier this year.


Solène: What do you think of next year's rhythm dance theme, focused on the 50s, 60s, and 70s?

Charlène: It leaves a lot of choices. This year, we had only one decade, the 80s, and it took us a long time to choose. Now we have 30 years! It will be even more difficult, but it also allows us to offer different music.

Marco: This year, we didn't expect to have so much fun. It was nice to study the musical culture of the 80s. It also involved understanding the daily life of that time. Doing the same work for the 50s to 70s will be interesting. But it's wide... Usually, with rhythm dance, we're judged on relatively similar programs. Here, with 30 years, we'll have totally different programs that are hard to compare and judge. We're also waiting for clarifications on the rules, especially on remixes. This year, we had a remix of "Holding Out for a Hero" at the beginning of the season, but we had to switch to the original version after our first competition.



Solène: Do you observe the new generation of dancers in Italy, France, or elsewhere?

Marco: We don't have much time to watch junior competitions, but of course, we know the Italian couples. I know that in France, many couples are coming up.

Charlène: I don't know them well, but I follow the results of the French Championships and the World Junior Championships.

Marco: The transition to the senior category remains tricky. Sometimes, there are very strong junior couples who have trouble emerging among the seniors. Or, on the contrary, junior couples who didn't make a strong impression but immediately achieved good results as seniors. It's hard to predict what will happen except with some couples like Papadakis and Cizeron. You could already see in juniors that they were very strong. I think Katerina Mrazkova and Daniel Mrazek show a lot of potential. We have a junior couple in Italy, Noemi Maria Tali and Noah Lafornara. Unfortunately, they didn't skate the free dance well at the Junior World Championships, but they have potential, and with hard work, they could achieve good results.


Solène: Do you see yourselves as mentors for these couples? I was told that Charlène had comforting and kind words during an international competition for a less experienced dancer who was very stressed that day.

Charlène: I like sharing our experiences with the younger ones. When I was starting, I would have liked to have someone to help me with little tips. Last year, the Federation organized a gathering in Italy where we could participate as speakers. The skaters asked us questions about our experience and stress management.

Marco: In competitions, more and more young people ask us questions. It makes us happy because it shows that they respect us as skaters. They know we've worked hard and want to learn a little from our experience. I was also curious when I was younger, and I was able to ask questions to more experienced athletes. As Charlène said, it helps a lot. There are certain things you have to learn alone, but there are things you have to learn with others.


Solène: Marco, you are Italian. You speak French fluently and are in a relationship with Charlène, who grew up in France before joining you in Italy. What do you prefer in France?

Marco: Apart from Charlène? (smile)


Solène: Let's say the second thing you like most in France after Charlène!

Marco: There are a lot of things! France is a country with a lot of history. There are many beautiful places; it's fantastic. I've visited Paris, of course, Lyon, the Alps, Brittany... You have exceptional products: bakery, charcuterie, cheese, even if they're not used enough in everyday cooking, in my opinion!


Solène: Charlène, do you often go back to Brittany?

Charlène: Unfortunately, the trip between Milan and Brest is complicated. It takes me a day. I was able to return to Brittany between the European and World Championships this year. My mother visits us in Italy every year, which allows me to spend time with her. But I would definitely like to come back to France more often!



Solène Mathieu - Skate Info Glace

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