Thursday, February 14, 2008

Shimmy Exclusive Interview- U.S. Ice Dancers Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov




Shimmy: Go back in time a bit for the readers that aren't familiar with you, tell us how you met and about your early training together.

Melissa: We actually met on the internet. We were both looking for a partner because our previous ones had quit. Denis had posted on the International Skating Union website that he was looking for a partner and I responded and we talked via email for a few months. We decided that we wanted to have a tryout and on September 1, 2000 Denis came to the US to have a tryout. On February 2, 2001 we got married. And now 7 1/2yrs. later he never used his return ticket home.

Shimmy: You've recently switched coaches and now train with Priscilla Hill. Why the change?


Melissa and Denis: It was just time for a change for us. We collaborated with Priscilla when we were choreographing the "Fallen Angels" in the spring and we really liked working with her. We felt that all our personalities clicked and the chemistry was right.

Shimmy: How has it benefited you?

Denis: She is a very calm and wonderful person. She is very knowledgeable in figure skating and knows good skating.

Shimmy: How are you doing after suffering the bad fall at Skate Canada?

Melissa: We are getting better. I have fully recovered but Denis has not. When we fell all the attention was on my injuries but Denis's were kind of overlooked. He is suffering from a really bad knee injury that has been gnawing at him since last season. He has level 4 type tendenitous and a lot of grinding and crackling whenever he bends. The doctor told us that if he pushes it now then he will have to have surgery. So as athletes it is a very hard decision to be made to think about our health and life after sport. But when we were faced with it he still has to walk and use his knees for the rest of his life.



Shimmy: How is your training coming since then?

Melissa and Denis: It is at a halt right now. We are making sure that we do everything that we need to heal Denis right so he can have no problems for next season and onward. But we are looking forward to when we can start training hard and skating full time again!

Shimmy: Where were you during National's and how was it just watching rather than participating?

Melissa and Denis: We were at home. We are very upset about how the season turned out. The accident in Canada really set us back. It was very hard for us to have to miss the season but we are really concentrating on coming back strong with a vengeance next season. We love skating and we love performing and can't wait to get back out there.

Shimmy: When can we hope to see you next?

Melissa As soon as Denis is back at 100% then we will hopefully start with some shows this summer. Then it will be back to training hard for the next Grand Prix's in the fall.

Shimmy: Of all the programs you've skated, what are your favorites and why?

Melissa and Denis: All of our programs that we have skated are very special and sentimental to us. We like to pick themes and music that means something to us and that are unique . But I think that with each program it is better and better. We know that our best is yet to come.

Shimmy: What OD rhythm do you enjoy most?

Melissa and Denis: Our favorite part about the Original Dance is that we get to be completely different characters in each of them. It is great because we sometimes have rhythms that we would not normally choose for ourselves but it ends up to be really good for us and we love it! But if we were forced to choose than we loved the latin theme and we also like Waltz. But we also loved and had a blast with Tango as well! It's way to hard to choose!

Shimmy: What old school skaters inspired you when you were younger?




Melissa: When I was younger my childhood idol was Brian Boitano. I loved his skating and he is part of the reason I started skating in the first place.

Denis: I love Torvill & Dean, Grischuk & Platov, Usova & Zhulin, Klimova & Ponemarenko. They all bring their own style and qualities that no one else can do and is unique to them.

Shimmy: Any rituals before you skate?

Melissa: I actually didn't really even know that I have a ritual or superstition but, I realized that I always tie my left skate first. It has just now become a habit and sort of a superstition. I don't know why but if I have an off night you might want to ask which skate was tied first!LOL

Denis: I always step with my left foot first on the ice. Don't ask me why.

Shimmy: When did you know that is was love, not just a partnership?


Denis: I fell in love with her from the time I saw her. She was everything that I could have dreamed for and more. When you know, you just know.

Shimmy: If I borrowed your ipod for an hour, what would I be listening to?

Denis: You would probably hear a lot of classical and orchestral music.

Melissa: I don't actually have an ipod but lets just say that I do for the fun of it. You would hear a very eclectic collection of music. Anything from U2, Aerosmith, Red Hot Chili Peppers to Oldies, to famous classical pieces, Hip Hop, and Broadway hits.

Shimmy: Three things you cannot be without?

Melissa: My family, my cell phone, and my dog Suede

Denis: Family, my dog Suede, my car

Shimmy: (NON) Guilty pleasures?

Denis: Seducing my wife! (Not really guilty but a pleasure!)

Melissa: A glass of Sauvignon Blanc and making love to my husband. (Not really guilty but a pleasure!)

Shimmy: If in ten years you are no longer skating, what might you be doing instead?

Denis: Maybe running for office.

Melissa: Raising a family. But hopefully I will always be doing some kind of performing.

Shimmy: Your fans have really supported you through a rough patch, what would you like them to know?

Melissa and Denis: That it means more to us than we can express. Each and everyone one of them is special to us and to know that they are behind us in good times and in bad is what makes them true fans. We can't wait to perform again for all of you because that is what makes us the happiest is when someone comes up to us and tells us that we touched them.

Shimmy Video Pick:

Gregory & Petukhov- Fallen Angels



Video: Saratogan62

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4 Comments:

Blogger Aaron said...

Melissa and Denis...all your fans love you too! Get healthy and we look forward to seeing you next season!

February 18, 2008 at 6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Melissa & Denis,
We've missed you so much this season! Can't wait until you get all better! Always rooting for you!
Leslie

February 26, 2008 at 2:06 AM  
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