(Zhenya and Irina Zenovka-GP Moscow 2011, taken by Oleg Naumov)
Original article link: http://summer.sport-express.ru/gymnastics/reviews/8354/
English translated by Tatiana (Tremendous work!!! BIG BIG THANKS!!!!!)
While gymnast steps on a floor presenting her masterpiece, there are a lot of people behind the scene concerned about audience enjoy fully the performance. Irina Zenovka is one of those who are invisible to public; she is choreographer of national rhythmic gymnastics team of Russia.
-You are creating routines, which gymnasts present later for the judgment of public and judges of course. How is routine being created?
–I can’t say how, it’s unexplainable. Sometimes it’s created fast, but sometimes extremely slow.
-The same as in ballet: all steps, all movements, and moreover work with apparatus.
-Where do you find it? In yourself?
-Yes, but major part comes from gymnasts themselves. They cooperate with me. I think that their contribution to it is even more than mine, like 90%. I just direct them. But for sure girls have last word on it.
-What do you begin from?
-It depends. Sometimes, we start from music we liked, sometimes from character (image), sometimes we begin from apparatus, from its nature I’d say. It depends on concatenation of circumstances. For example: today it’s raining and there is a desire to start with apparatus. Tomorrow is sunny so let’s begin from music.
-What happens if for example you put on stage routine while it was raining and during performance Sun has shined?
-Well, I was speaking figuratively. Process of staging and completion goes non-stop: something is changed, another thing is added or removed. It’s impossible to create complete routine at once. To say that it will be only this is impossible. Always something happens during the process of training and elements trials. It’s necessary practically whole season in order to complete routine.
-For example you see one character but gymnast can’t express it. What can you do?
-We trying to reach consensus. I’m not the one who will perform. I can’t make her play character, if she doesn’t feel it then routine will never be complete. Sooner or later we are gonna change something, rework.
-Is personal coach of gymnast present during routine creation?
-Certainly, coach spends practically 24 hours with his gymnast, knows her traits better. They do work together.
-How are some particular details created?
-Once again, it’s difficult to explain. For example, we’ve got an idea, we try it. It doesn’t go well. We look for another one. Month is over and suddenly it appears. Nobody knows when it can happen. Sometimes everything is on its own place since beginning; sometimes we are changing and changing everything.
-How many different elements routine must include?
-There are 12 difficulties in individual routine: flexibility, pivots, balances, leaps. Also it’s necessary to earn bonus 10 points in artistic so that we also work on it. Also it’s obligatory to make minimum 3 risks: throws, rolls. We have quite a lot of written-down rules.
-But if everyone follows this all routines should look the same. How are you avoiding that?
-That’s why we are always in looking-for process in order to create something new.
-How many movements does gymnast produce during 1.5 minutes?
-Nobody counts how many in total, only necessary elements and bonuses are taken in account. For sure super gymnast will show maximum.
-Is amount of elements discussed?
-It depends on element “price”. Superb gymnasts can make 10 difficulties instead of 12 but still earn the same score. And certainly they save more time for artistic and dance.
-Do girls have their own brand elements, which nobody performs? Where do they come from?
-Sometimes we invent it together, or gymnast herself. Sometimes gymnast happens to perform something and WOW!! SUPERB!!! Let’s do like that.
-And what if anyone sees and steals it? Whose element it will be counted?
-It happens often. But specialists know who performed element or throw first. There are a lot of repetitions, it’s inevitable.
-So there is something like industrial espionage?
-Yes, we can say like that. Person comes to competition with video-camera and shooting all performance. And why does he need to invite choreographer then if everything is possible to watch and to say: I like this, or that. Let us try the same thing. But usually in this case composition doesn’t go well. Because professional must do it. You can steal, but…
-Do force majeur happen, that it’s necessary to change something in ready (finalized) routine?
-If something like that happens we usually change music and character. But elements are the same because gymnast has perfected technique already.
-How important is conception (image) of routine?
-Now it’s very important and high valued.
-But how can audience understand what character gymnast is trying to express? When Kanaeva was performing her hoop routine in Moscow WCH, personally for me she appeared as tiger-tamer.
-Character comes from music. Zhenya performs hoop with “Rite of Spring”, Stravinsky.
-And when she performed with ball it seemed like she played with kitten…
-Everyone has different sense. We don’t put into the card what character will be performed.
-But not everybody is good at recognizing music. Why music is announced in figure skating and not in RG?
-I believe they will start doing it soon.
-Can it happen that gymnast performs her routine, performs and then suddenly STOP, and like something gets stuck and routine doesn’t go well anymore?
-It happens. We are trying to remove or add something, creating something new.
-When you are working on routine is it possible to see at once that it’s good?
-If it’s superb then we see it, if not really it’s noticeable as well. Then we continue trying.
-What are your responsibilities during training when gymnast works with her coach?
– I’m present there usually if I’m needed. But, of course, if something doesn’t go smooth we are looking for something new and trying it all together.
-When you just start preparing new routine, is coach present?
-Not always, but I like when coach is present at training. But if gymnast is senior then I can work just with her. But in general coach presence is necessary.
-Can you help in something during competition?
-I’m trying not to get into it because I think that if there are too many people around gymnast it just disturbs her.
-Leotard, color of apparatus is secondary?
– No, designers work on leotards. We send them music, we discuss. We are trying to do it the way that majority likes not just some people.
-Can it happen that leotard suites to girl, everything is great but it doesn’t go with the music?
-Then we would change whether music whether leotard. It’s necessary that all components match, only this way we get super-composition.
-Did you help Olga Kapranova to set her 2-hoops performance?
-May be just a little. She did everything herself and she has her own assistant Yulia Golubenko.
-How difficult is it to work with 2 apparatus?
-It’s very difficult but it’s very interesting at the same time. It’s future of RG, new stream.
-What apparatus combinations do you see?
-They are interesting in any combination, it’s necessary to look for that. For example, Dasha Kondakova performed with ribbon and rope in Gala. Everyone has personal attitude to one or another apparatus.
-Does it have future?
-Irina Aleksandrovna Viner likes it; she will try to present by chance 2 apparatus routines. Maybe technical committee of FIG will be interested in it and discuss its perspective.
-Who has already asked you to stage 2 apparatus routine?
-Katya Donich performed “ball+ribbon” routine and Dinara Gimatova did “hoop+ball” at the Moscow Gala Concert. I set those routines.
-Is there difference from what you prepare with one apparatus?
-It’s new and more interesting work.
-Are there incompatible elements when work is with 2 apparatus?
-I don’t think so. It’s just necessary to work hard and you will handle it, and everybody will like it.
-Gala concert after World Championship was shown in 100 countries of the world. Did you participate in its creation?
-The idea of this grandiose show belongs to Irina Viner while we, choreographers (Anna Bystrova, Tatiana Sergaeva, Amina Zaripova, Irina Zenovka – *interviewer note) were helping her. Staging of theatrical act was something new for me. It’s great experience for my job in the future, new stream in creativity.
-You opened show playing the role of Isadora Duncan. Was it exciting?
-Yes, very much. For this performance I watched many videos with Isadora’s dances.
-And that gorgeous red dress you wore, is it historical?
-Irina Aleksandrovna gave me that dress. I think Isadora visited routs in the dresses like that. But it was comfortable to dance. I’ll be happy if our concert will be shown somewhere else; I’m sure people would love it.
-Creativity people say that ideas come to them in the dream sometimes. Do you dream with elements?
– Throes of creation don’t let alone even when you are sleeping. It happens I see something worth in my dream.