Charlène Guignard and Marco Fabbri have been dominating European ice dance for a few months. We talked with them about their success.
Solène: You keep winning medals! Tell us how the last few months have gone for you.
Marco: For our first competition of the season, the Lombardia Trophy in September, we didn't expect such high scores because we knew we still had a lot of work to do. It was a great start to the season and it showed us that the judges liked our programs. We then won our first Grand Prix gold medal in Angers. Winning in France is particularly moving for us, Charlène being French. We had improved several elements since the Lombardia Trophy. The score in Angers was lower though; we didn’t know why, but we are convinced that our performance was better. The panel of judges was not the same so I imagine that the scoring is necessarily different. We then won the Sheffield Grand Prix, even if our arrival there was not the easiest. Our taxi driver took us to Birmingham by mistake instead of Sheffield (laughs) but the competition went well. At the Grand Prix Final in Turin, we won the bronze medal. Our performance was not perfect and we were a little disappointed with our scores.
Solène: You then won your first European Championships!
Marco: The prospect of the European Championships weighed in our decision to continue our career. We knew that Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron were taking at least a year's break and that the Russian skaters would not be present. Let's be honest, we wanted to become European champions. When we heard our notes in the Kiss&Cry, it felt like a weight was lifted off our shoulders. It was a big relief. We have waited a long time for this title. A dream has come true! We are very proud to join the pantheon of Italian European champion dancers, including our trainer Barbara Fusar-Poli!
Solène: During these European Championships, the results of the Italian team were excellent: four medals, two gold, and two silver! What do you think of this success?
Marco: The Italian team showed top performances and we are delighted with these results. We are close to our teammates. They had all come to the rink to encourage us! We are a big family and we celebrated our victory with them.
Solène: Can you tell us about your choice of music for your two programs?
Marco: We had already skated on Latin dances in 2012 and 2018 so we wanted to do something different. We chose music by Grace Jones, whom we adore. It's not Latin music, but there are rhythms of rumba and samba. This allowed us to create a different rhythm dance. Regarding the free dance, we took some time to think about it. We kept the same free dance for two years, due to the low number of competitions in 2020-2021, so we wanted to move away from the romantic theme. It was important for us to show a different choreographic intention for this new Olympiad. We chose a darker theme.
Barbara: The music comes from the Lucifer and Welcome to Eden series. You go from hell to heaven during this free dance.
Solène: How did you choose your outfits?
Charlène: We looked on Pinterest, it's a good source of inspiration! Barbara also offered us ideas, for the rhythm dance in particular. Her daughter is a dancer (in ballroom dance) and Barbara had seen some interesting dresses during competitions. This allowed us to create something different from the dresses we are used to seeing for Latin dances. For the free dance, Zendaya inspired me with a Roberto Cavalli dress she wore.
Solène: You said you thought about retirement in 2022. In the end, you decided to continue competing! Your results have proved you right… How do you see the next steps?
Marco: We don't know yet if we will continue until the Olympic Games in Milan 2026 but we are not ruling it out. We may stop at the end of this season, who knows? We are not thinking about it at the moment. It's mentally difficult to tell ourselves that we will continue for four more years. We also have moments of doubt and are no longer so young for skaters, but we are in good physical shape and we have always wanted to skate. We feel that we’ve continued to improve our performance, and our results motivate us. At the moment we give our best year after year and we try to show an evolution to maintain the judges’ interest.
Solène MATHIEU for Skate Info Glace