- I don't even know what to congratulate you on: on such a loud debut of your pair in Tokyo or on the return to the world of big figure skating.

In a word, they were surprised.

- We now have only Muramoto / Takahashi training from serious couples, of course, we all invested in this duet - me, my ballerina Elena Sokolova, who has been working with me since 2004, Johnny Jones - he has worked with all my past champions since 2006 th, Ilya Tkachenko, who came to our group four years ago and very organically joined it.

- All these specialists worked with Kana Muramoto when she competed for Japan with Chris Reed?

- Yes. Kana and Chris took part in the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, became 15th there, after that they finished performing, and there was no question of continuing their careers in principle. When I asked Kana what she would like to do, she said that she was thinking about coaching, but had not yet finally decided to leave the ice. I recommended that she go to California to a ballet school - at one time Tanit Belbin / Benjamin Agosto went there for an internship. Kana obeyed, chose a suitable course, studied at a ballet school for a while, then returned to Japan and performed in a show.

Daisuke, when he was still skating as a solo skater, often said that it would be interesting for him to try himself in dancing after the end of his career.

Moreover, the peak of his career came at the same time when at the Games in Vancouver the first two places were taken by Tessa Vertyu / Scott Moir and Meryl Davis / Charlie White, and their victory was accompanied by a very resounding success.

It was just that then everyone took Takahashi's words as a joke.

And Kana, when they crossed paths in the show, asked directly: "Do you want to try?"

- "Want…"

- Did Muramoto inform you of her plans?

- She said that she wants to start skating with a new partner, but did not give a name.

I found out that we are talking about Takahashi just before the guys arrived in Florida.

At the very end of 2019, due to his previous obligations, Daisuke was supposed to perform at the national championship for the last time as a singles skater, and there he and Kana announced that they were starting to skate together.

I was very happy then.

I already had experience with singles who were transitioning to dancing, and I knew it was possible.

The first thought then was that for Cana, this is the best choice one could wish for.

Firstly, the partner is Japanese, which means that in this regard there will be no problems in order to represent the country at the Olympics.

Secondly, of all Japanese singles, Daisuke has always been the most emotional and most expressive.

True, when in February last year Takahashi arrived and appeared on the ice with us, I thought that I was overjoyed early.

He was very thin, like all singles, and this is understandable, since difficult jumps require above all lightness and sharpness.

- How quickly did you manage to achieve the necessary conditions?

- The first thing we did was send Daisuke to our fitness trainer Ryan Wessa, who just at that time opened his own fitness club in Florida.

Ryan himself is a professional hockey player in the past, and he played in the attack.

That is, he was a very fast player.

In terms of views on fitness, we turned out to be very close, because the skater needs the same qualities on the ice: speed, sharpness, and so that the likelihood of injury is minimized.

In Japan, Takahashi never did strength training, and at first he strongly doubted whether he needed it?

But then, when the result of the work in the hall began to become noticeable, he liked it.

And he began to study with redoubled zeal. 

At the same time, we worked on positions, on sliding, and from the very beginning I kept in my head that the free program should become our calling card.

So that Daisuke and Kana immediately draw attention to themselves, and so that everyone can see that they are different, not like any of those with whom they will compete.

- And chose La Bayadere?

- Yes. Because I saw the ideal performers in Muramoto / Takahashi. After all, when I find this or that music, I mentally begin to select the performers. Sometimes this process takes years. Do you remember how I once told how in 2015 I made the Spring program for Marine Honda? I really wanted to stage this program for a Japanese woman, because Japan is the most beautiful spring that I have ever seen in my life. From the moment when I found the music and came up with the program, to the moment when the performer was found, then it took three years. So it happened with La Bayadere: I had music, had an idea, but for a long time there were no performers. In the face of Takahashi and Muramoto, I found them.

- Weren't you embarrassed that the task of transferring a performance with many ballet movements and, accordingly, the work of completely different muscles to the ice may turn out to be an overwhelming task for athletes?

- Of course, it's easier to take nice music and just skate beautifully to it.

Performing a ballet on ice is much more difficult.

If you are not able to decompose the production into phrases, as is done in ballet, you can only end up with a parody of ballet.

This is really hard and very painstaking work, because every step, every ligament that connects the elements, and indeed every movement must lie exactly in one or another musical accent.

In this regard, we do not have a single random movement in our program.

But this is what makes an impression.

In general, I can say that everyone can skate slowly.

But very few people know how to do it quickly and abruptly.

This is a very special talent and it is very difficult to develop it in yourself.

It is either there or not.

For example, Nathan Chen jumps just at the expense of such a talent.

He is very fast at his feet.

- For some reason I remembered the very first appearance on the ice of Oksana Grischuk and Evgeny Platov.

The partner attracted attention with the very quality you mentioned.

- You are absolutely right.

She was the fastest dancer in footwork, and it really caught my eye.

But this, I repeat, is a rare quality.

Therefore, I had to wait so long for the performers who would be able to execute all the steps I had invented.

- How quickly did you realize that Muramoto / Takahashi will be able to cope with the task at hand?

- Straightaway.

After all, they did not come from the initial group to me.

Daisuke is the world champion, the first Japanese singles skater who managed to climb the podium at the Olympic Games, that is, a person behind whom stands not only history, but also a very powerful technical base.

Therefore, my task was only to adapt this base to ice dancing.

Cana had the same technical base.

At one time, she was a really strong single skater with all triple jumps, including the lutz.

But then there was an injury, I had to forget about jumping.

- I noticed how cleanly and clearly Takahashi performs each of the dance steps.

- He just understands very well the importance of this.

Therefore, he learns new things for himself with great zeal.

I would even say that he is much more scrupulous about technical work than people who have spent many years in ice dancing.

- Do you speak English?

- Yes, although a lot of my comments Kana translates Daisuke into Japanese.

After all, over the years of working with me, she has become much more accustomed to the style of my explanations.

- Did Takahashi somehow indicate the level of his aspirations, when he started training with you, or is this level determined by you?

- I never define.

I consider it a much more paramount task to create a piece and perform it in such a way that the audience and the judges feel involved in what they see on the ice.

For the programs to capture them, make them empathize.

The technical base allows us to do this: at the Tokyo tournament, the basic difficulty of the Muramoto / Takahashi rhythm dance was only 0.01 lower than that of Victoria Sinitsina / Nikita Katsalapov, in arbitrary my guys were ahead of Nikita and Vika by 0.25.

But the Russian duo are world champions.

- Was your dancers' start in Tokyo the second of the season?

- Yes.

Due to the fact that this season is Olympic, we had to start it earlier than usual.

In early September, the guys took part in local competitions, which were held in our arena, skated both programs, and received quite high marks.

We sent all the videos from these rentals to the judges and technicians in Japan to make their comments.

And for more than a month we were engaged in correcting and rolling out programs.

After Muramoto and Takahashi perform in Warsaw, we will begin to purposefully prepare for the Japanese Championship, where, in fact, the selection for the Olympic Games will take place.

- Do you need to win these competitions in order to go to Beijing?

- Quite right.

Therefore, this is the most important start for us.

- Daisuke turned 35 this year.

He probably won't want to continue skating for another four years?

- I would like to be in his place.

- Do the body's reserves allow it?

- Quite.

What we are doing now is just the beginning of work with a huge, virtually unlimited potential, believe my experience.

I'm not even trying to embellish anything.

On the contrary, I feel a huge responsibility for this couple, because I have talent in my hands, and this always obliges the coach to a lot.

It was the same with Tessa and Scott, although the technical base of Muramoto and Takahashi is higher.

- If we talk about the Beijing Olympics, can you at least in general terms imagine how a dance tournament could develop?

- I didn’t think about it. And I haven't seen so many couples alive. It is rather difficult to say from the videos who is in what form and how they will approach the Games. Dancing is a kind where performance plays a huge role. The speed of skating, the energy that comes from a particular pair, emotions are taken into account - everything that is not visible on the TV screen. These nuances define the champion. More than three months before the Games, during this time you can become much stronger, but you can, on the contrary, lose your condition.

Plus - there is no clear leader in dancing now - everyone came pretty close to each other.

That is why I say that the quality of performance of programs at the Games will be decisive.

You have to be cool there.

It seems to me that no background will be taken into account.

Maybe I'm wrong, but my opinion at all times was exactly this: go out and skate so that everyone will take their breath away.

And you will be the first.