Von von www.icedance.com (August 2008)
Tell us how you started skating/ice dancing:
What is it like for you, as siblings, to skate together? What do you like best about skating with your partner?
Both: We started skating when we were about 6 and 7. Daniel and our oldest brother, Alexander, liked to skate during the winter on a pond nearby our house. Both of them asked our mom if they could join a club to learn a bit more about skating. After a few months, our mom drove all of us to the ice rink, where Alexander found out that skating seemed to be more like a girl’s sport. Carolina, however, who came with us accidentally, wanted to try it.
At this point we were both skating by ourselves. When we were 10 and 11, a formal ice dancer just teamed us up, and we skated to have fun together. After some time, our coach suggested that we go to another ice rink where we could try out ice dancing with another coach. So we switched our coaches and clubs and ended up training in Dortmund.
You have been skating together since 1997, meaning that this is the 11th year of your partnership. What do you think has been the most helpful in keeping your partnership together?
Both: This is a very good question. Actually, we don’t know. In all partnerships there are ups and downs. We fought sometimes when we were younger, but now we have found a way to deal with that issue. Skating with your brother or sister means that you have a really close relationship with your partner. We have always lived together and have never been separated for more than three weeks in the last 10 years. On the one hand, this is a big advantage because we can totally rely on each other. We have the same goals, and we both take skating seriously. On the other hand, you never get a rest from seeing your partner. However, we think that this has helped us a lot in the past. Skating together for a long time together has made us stronger.
There has been discussion regarding whether or not compulsory dances should still be a part of ice dancing. There is even talk of creating a combined CD/OD. How do you feel about this?
Both: We both think that the compulsory dance should be kept. Even if this is not one of our strengths, we think that it is necessary to learn them. It is important to get an understanding of those basic dances and thereby understand more about skating in general. Usually, there is no situation in your free or original dance where you work so specifically on certain steps. The training on these steps [in the compulsory dances] often helps us then somewhere else in the programs that we skate. Combining the CD and OD might be a last resort to keep the compulsory dances. Actually, the original dance is already full of elements and adding even more steps would make the interpretation of the individual character of the music even more difficult.
You are spending the summer training with Viktor Kraatz and his wife, Maikki Uotila-Kraatz, in Vancouver. How did you get this opportunity?
Both: We were provided this opportunity though Daniel’s scholarship. It is mandatory for him to study one term in a different language in order to obtain his degree. Daniel studies business administration at a small university in Iserlohn, which helped us a lot through the combination of sport and education. We started to organize our trip in spring of 2007, after Junior Worlds, but we didn’t know where we should go. It was hard to find a university which would be within his scholarship’s budget. Additionally, we needed coaches which would train us during that period. We always wanted to go to North America and we knew that Carolina would be done with school in May of 2008. We thought that this would be the best time to go. We didn’t know if we would ever have the opportunity to live somewhere else for such a long time again. When we found out about Vancouver and we met Victor at the Nebelhorn trophy and Skate Canada, we were really happy and thought that everything could work. However, we just found out two months prior to coming to Vancouver that we were actually able to go.
How do you like training in Canada? When will you return to Germany?
Both: Canada is amazing. We love Vancouver. We have been in Vancouver for three months, and we have really enjoyed our time here. We have to practice a lot, and it is sometimes difficult to schedule it with our other activities. Carolina is working as an au pair and Daniel is a full time student. Therefore, both of us don’t have a lot of time to hang around. Our skating practice was different here in Vancouver. We weren’t used to so much ice. Usually, we just practice around 50 minutes a day, twice a day, and have additional off ice training. Here, we have had much more time training on and off the ice. Additionally, we are used to practicing in the evening, but our practice here starts at 6:30 a.m. sometimes. We will return to Germany at the end of August, after Daniel finishes his term.
Carolina, you recently received a spot in the German army sports support program. Can you explain what this means?
Both: The German army and government support selected athletes -- especially from marginalized sports. Therefore, they created the “sports army” as a special company of the German army. The main goal of this company is to provide the opportunity for athletes to train professionally as a fulltime athlete. For the athlete it is a chance to focus on the sport and daily practice and also take part in one of many education programs that are provided. However, I do have to attend a basic training camp next year.
Do you have a favorite compulsory dance? Which one?
Carolina: I love the Argentine Tango.
Daniel: I’ve loved the Polka since last year. It’s a funny dance that is fun to skate.
What is your favorite dance element?
What are your hobbies?
Carolina: I enjoy listening to music or hanging around with friends. I also like to read comics. Sometimes I meet with my friends and we cook together on the weekend.
Daniel: I like to hang around with my friends, too.
What are your non-skating goals?
Both: We both want to try to get a university degree. Carolina will start her psychology degree in October, while Daniel will be done with his Bachelor’s degree next year. He would like to do an MBA but unfortunately this might be too expensive. Non-skating goals are always hard to predict. You always focus on school and skating and suddenly there is no school anymore, and you have to decide if you want to do professional figure skating or not. Both of us always try to have a life outside of skating. Therefore, most of our friends are not skating friends. Skating is the most significant part of our lives right now, but we think that it is important to focus on other things as well.
What is something that ice-dance.com readers may not know about you?
We have five other siblings and we have both been vegetarians since we were born.
We love skating :-)