Magic of the Dance
Interview with Tanja Szewczenko
on Febuary 17, 2001
Tanja Szewczenko is the new "special guest" in the highly successful Irish dance production "Magic of the Dance". Formerly known as the best German figure skater of all times, she was only 14 years of age when she beat Katharina Witt in competition. Tanja is also the first female figure skater ever to perform all seven triple jumps on ice.
QUESTION: Tanja Szewczenko has formerly only been known as a figure skating star, not as a dancer. How did you become interested in the dancing?
ANSWER: I have had years of very intense ballet training and have therefore been familiar with the idea of dancing for a long time. On the ice, I have also had to learn steps and choreograph sequences.
QUESTION: How did your role in "Magic of the Dance" come about?
ANSWER: I happened to be a guest at the Premiere of "Magic of the Dance" in Berlin. After the show we went for dinner with the producer and later in the evening he asked me if I could imagine dancing without skates. And I thought to myself, why not? At the time I really did not expect this idea to become a reality. But we kept talking with the producer and then in December I started rehearsals. Initially I had only planned to do a few shows between Christmas and New Year. But everything went so well that I was subsequently offered a permanent part in the show.
QUESTION: What part do you play in "Magic of the Dance" then?
ANSWER: I do the opening number, a ballet solo and in the second half I dance a duet à la Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
QUESTION: What is the biggest challenge that „Magic of the Dance" poses to you as a dancer?
ANSWER: Learning how to tap-dance, without a doubt. On one hand I am learning the basic steps, on the other hand we continuously work on developing the choreography of the show. On ice, one of the main techniques used is gliding. With tap dancing however, it is more important to keep the legs loose and relaxed. I want to keep learning and keep developing my dancing skills. Especially tap dancing, it's style of dancing which I find fascinating. As I child I used to love watching the old tap dance mov ies with my grandfather. I already had the wish to start a career along those lines at that age.
QUESTION: What is the atmosphere like within the "Magic of the Dance"- ensemble? Did you find it difficult to be accepted as a newcomer?
ANSWER: The atmosphere is very good. On one hand, everybody is very professional and works very hard. On the other hand it seems to me that the group is like one big family. Everybody is very friendly and I have made many new friends within a very short period of time. Everyone has made me feel like I really am part of the troop from the start.
QUESTION: How many hours per week did you use to practice? How do you prepare for the shows with "Magic of the Dance"?
ANSWER: I used to practice six days a week for five hours at the time: ice skating, ballet, fitness and trampoline practice. In addition I had lessons in choreography, which often brought the total up to six or seven hours per day. Whenever we get the time to we rehearse before the show at the concert hall and practice tap dancing there. I also do a daily practice in the hotel and if I have to, I even practice at the airport and in the departure lounge.
QUESTION: Describe your typical day behind the scenes of this successful dance production.
ANSWER: There is a fixed routine. We get on the bus in the morning, drive to the next show location and then follow the usual rituals: Sound check, rehearsals on stage, the tap dance practice. Around half past seven we all warm up together. The show starts at eight, we get back to the hotel around midnight and the following day everything is exactly the same. In spite of the routine, I love doing it. Everyone is very enthusiastic about touring with the show.
QUESTION: Could you imagine yourself dancing on a stage for a long time?
ANSWER: Very well. I have always been fascinated by everything to do with dance or music and artistic expression. All these elements are contained in figure skating as well.
QUESTION: What kind of feeling is it to have swapped the skates for tap dance shoes?
ANSWER: It is a little bit like chocolate and vanilla ice cream: If you have only ever eaten chocolate ice cream, you become very curious what the other flavours taste like. In this respect, the difference is not really that big. Any kind of ice cream always tastes great to me!
This interview is used by kind permission of Star Entertainment
The official website of Magic of the Dance: http://www.magicofthedance.com
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