Power and Passion Archives

Kazakova and Dmitriev's fan club has been publishing a bimonthly newsletter, Power and Passion since August 1995. Most back issues are sold out. For the first time, highlights of these back issues are now available here. These articles are only a sampling of the contents of each issue.
Photo courtesy of Katja Rupp .

Issue #4, February 1996

From Marianne's Desk

(All of the newsletter issues begin with an editorial. I haven't been archiving them here as they usually give the lastest news and are somewhat outdated now, but I thought that this one has some relevance today.)

Oksana and Artur finished third at the Russian Championships, which means they will represent Russia at the European and World Championships. As we go to press, we will not have results of Europeans, but we wish them luck at this prestigious event. It will be Oksana's first appearance at a European Championship; Artur's seventh.

I am already a big fan of Oksana and Artur's, but I want to bring up some criticisms of their programs. One comment I have heard several people make is that they should not reuse the "Natalia" moves. I agree. I wish they wouldn't use the Natalia spin, the death spiral in which both partners hold the woman's skate, and the same lifts. As Oksana weighs less than Natalia, they should take advantage of that and develop better lifts to help beef up their technical merit marks. Oksana is just not as flexible as Natalia, and some of the flexibility moves (particularly the spin and the death spiral) look somewhat forced on her. Oksana is a beautiful skater with a regal style--the programs should reflect more of *her* style. Furthermore, people who aren't fans are overlooking the moves they do that are innovative to kvetch about the recycled ones. When Natalia and Artur first did these flexibility moves, they looked new to audiences. But since Natalia and Artur won medals at the last two Olympics, anyone familar with skating has already seen these moves, so that when Oksana and Artur do them, they no longer look new.

Despite these minor problems, Oksana and Artur have a great coach so I am optimistic about the upcoming season. I must thank Tamara Moskvina again for all her help, as there would be no newsletter if not for her. She has to be one of the busiest people in skating and probably holds a world record for most accumulated frequent flier miles. Yet she still takes time to answer my letters and provide information. Every year, skating fans hear next to nothing about what happens at Russian Nationals. (If we're lucky, the press will tell us who the medalists were.) Tamara was very kind to provide details about Oksana and Artur's performances at this event. Tamara, thank you very much for everything.

(I wrote this in early 1996. Its interesting to note that the skaters did make some of the improvements we suggested, such as developing new lifts and eliminating the "Natalia" deathspiral. They are still doing that spin though!)

Victory in France

Okay, Oksana and Artur did not win a gold medal at the Trophee de France competition on November 17th. But they did take home a silver medal at only their *second* competition together. That is a huge victory, as Oksana and Artur beat out several world ranked pairs like Meno and Sand (currently ranked 3rd in the World) and Petrova and Sikharulidze (6th.) I know of few pairs who have had such success after skating together for only nine months.

Oksana and Artur found themselves 4th after the technical program because she over-rotated the double axel. But their free skate was nearly flawless. They landed all the tough stuff: triple toe loops directly into double axels, and both their throw jumps were clean. The only element to give them trouble was the split triple twist; it was not completed well. Two of the seven judges placed them first, four had them second, and one inexplicably had them third. This is a great start for the season, and something for Oksana, Artur, and Tamara to be very proud of.

Russian Nationals

The Russian National Championships took place December 26th-30th in Samara (formerly known as Volograd.) Oksana and Artur won the bronze medal which, like their silver at Trophee de France, is a huge victory for them. Russia still has the greatest depth of any country among its pairs skaters, and for them to be third in a strong field at only their *third* competition together indicates that they will be a force to be reckoned with in the future.

Oksana and Artur were second after the technical program in which they hit clean triple toe loops. It looks as if pairs need to perform this jump, rather than the double axel, in order to get top marks in the short program. Oksana and Artur were slightly out of unison in their side by side spins at one point, but overall it was a strong performance which Tamara was satisfied with. Shishkova and Naumov won the technical program, and Eltsova and Bushkov placed third in this portion, largely because of Eltsova's error on the triple toe.

There was an epidemic of flu in parts of Russia at the time of this championship, and both Oksana and Artur were a bit under the weather and had to miss some practice sessions. This caused them to look "heavy" (as Tamara put it) in the long program. They landed their triple toe loops right into double axels well. But the triple twist lift was not perfect (they seem to struggle with this element, though they get great height on the double.) Oksana landed both throws, though the landings were not the strongest. They could not maintain their second position, but a bronze medal and a triple to Europeans and Worlds still have to be rewarding. (Shishkova and Naumov again skated very well and won; Eltsova again struggled with the triple toe, but she and Bushkov took silver.)

Alexander Matveev: The Man Behind the Magic

Alexander Matveev is part of the team that brought several great Russian pairs to their glory. He helped coach and choreograph programs for Mishkutenok and Dmitriev, Bechke and Petrov , and Valova and Vassilev. He is now working with Kazakova and Dmitriev and Bereznaya and Shliakhov. Matveev hasn't gotten the credit he deserves for playing such a major role in the stylistic development of these great pairs.

He worked as a soloist in the renowned Kirov Theater for 19 years, taking the lead role in both classical and modern ballets. When he retired as the soloist in 1985, he began working with pairs skaters, training them in ballet both on and off ice.

Matveev was born in 1945 in Leningrad, and graduated from the Leningrad Ballet Academy in 1964. He is married to Natalia Pavlova, herself a great soloist with the Kirov for almost 20 years. Pavlova has also worked with Tamara Moskvina's skaters extensively and was actually a co-coach of Oksana Kazakova when she skated with Dmitri Sukhanov. Artur Dmitriev said of Alexander, "He gives the finishing touches to our movements." When he sit entranced by one of Tamara's pairs' performances, Alexander Matveev is one of the talents behind the magic.

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