Romance and Mystery Novels

by Alina Adams

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Monday, October 29, 2007


Clash of titans – Alex Zhulin versus Ilja Averbuch.

Translation of an interview by V. Peskova (VP) a correspondent of a Russian language publication “” with Alex Zhulin (AZ) and Ilja Averbuch (IA) published on October 16, 2007.

The competition of the participants of the show “Ice Age” is more intriguing due to the fact that two coaches of the show, Alex Zhulin and Ilja Averbuch, are also competing with each other. But this is mostly for the show. In real life, they are very peaceful toward each other.

VP – Alex, this year you are participating as a coach rather than a performer. What is simpler – to be a performer or a coach?

AZ – No comparison – a performer – it is less responsibility.

VP – Are you missing Ingeborge Dupkunite with whom you danced last year?

AZ – Of course I am missing her and I am using this opportunity to send my greetings to her. I hope to see her soon. She is taking part in a movie where I will choreograph a dance on the floor for her. We keep in touch, talk about our work. We are very good friends.

VP – Ilja, in the show “Dances on Ice,” Alex Zhulin was your pupil and now he is a real competitor of yours. Which one did you have better relations with?

IA – Our relations did not change. They have always been of mutual respect. Maybe even more than that. Also, I can not call Alex my pupil. I just assisted him in his work with Ingeborge Dupkunite. The same way as I would help all others. Alex is about 10 years older than I am and he has tremendous experience as a coach. In his time he coached Olympic Champions. I never coached sportspeople. I was just helping them by choreographing their dances. We are very respectful of each other.

VP – Do you consider your competition only as a show, or do you want your team to win?

AZ – I see it as a show. There is some spirit of competition, of course, but I can not consider it a serious competition. I want to make sure that each pair has its image and its style and everything would look 100% real.

IA – Of course some ardor appears and there is nervousness. There is the additional weight of responsibility and some intrigue. But with all that I do not forget that it is just a show. These are not sportspeople who were trained for years. Everything is done in a very short period of time. Everyone got a sportsperson who can do something at this juncture. So, our competition is more in ideas and composition of the numbers than it is a real struggle for me. I want my team to win in this struggle.

VP – How did you initially split the participants and decide who would work with whom?

IA – Initially I was coaching all the participants of the project. Three weeks before starting taping, Alex joined me. We looked at all of the participants, realized their potential and divided them into equal groups according to their abilities to skate. We assembled the teams together and they seem to be equal. My team was initially skating weaker than the other, but it was emotionally stronger.

VP – Alex, I read that you feel sorry that you do not coach Chulpan Khamatova?

AZ – I said that it was a pity that she is not skating in my team. I feel that she would be an ace in my team.

VP – Ilja, did you think about switching wives for the project – you would coach Tatiana Navka and Alex would coach Irina Lobacheva?

IA – There was a thought to do that, but then some complications arrived and each of us works with his wife.

VP – Alex, I assume that at home you are discussing the project with Tatiana.

AZ – Yes, of course. I always try to support and calm her down. She is a person who used to be always a leader, and if something is not going her way, she is getting restless. I have to help her to calm down and to assure her that everything will be Ok.

VP – Teachers at schools have their favorite pupils. You must also have some favorite pairs.

IA – No, I do not have favorites and I am not lying. I love every one of them when I see how much work they put in the project. I like to work with each individual. Each pair creates the image that I expect of them.

AZ – I also can say that I do not have favorites. I try to be warm and loving with each pair.

VP – Who of the members of the teams should work harder?

IA – I would love to have more time with Mikhail Galustian, but we have to work around his tight schedule.

AZ – I agree that it is sometimes hard to work around people’s schedule.

VP – In the process of your work together do you discuss your work or share professional secrets?

AZ – We do discuss some issues but not much.

IA –According to the rules of the project, which I designed as an executive producer, we coach our teams on separate rinks. Up to the last minute we do not know the programs of each team. We meet only on the day of the show when we bring our teams together. So, we do not share our experience and it is a real competition of the teams.


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