Olympic Champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s coach Marina Zoueva never changes. Always warm and friendly, on the day in question at Skate Canada’s High Performance Camp she was happy to chat. Where did she get her start? After obtaining a degree in Sport Science from University of St Petersburg, she went on to a second degree in Art from the University of Moscow when she had to submit a sample of her work for a final exam. Having had a career as a figure skater, Marina turned to the area she knew best for her school project. She created a concept Short Program using Stravinsky’s Firebird incorporating music, costuming and choreography for Soviet champion Elena Vodorezova (now Buianova).
Legendary coach Stanislav Zhuk had to sign off on the project for his student and was sufficiently impressed that Vodorezova kept the program for the season and Marina’s coaching career at the Red Army Sports Club was launched. Right off the bat she started to work with 2 time Olympic Champions Ekaterina Gordeeva and (the late) Sergei Grinkov who were 11 and 14 respectively. Marina says with pride: “I did all of their sports competition programs from the first to the last.” She is beaming when she says: “and now I will be doing some choreography for Katia on Battle of the Blades.” Nothing like coming full circle.
Her other big project is her son Fedor Andreev’s entry into the world of international ice dance with newly single 2009 European Champion Jana Khokhlova. The Russian Federation called Marina and coaching partner Igor Shpillband looking for a partner for Jana and it was decided that she would come for a week to try out with Deividas Stagniunas and Fedor. Jana was to return to Russia with DVDs of both tryouts but was grounded for an extra week when Iceland’s volcanic ash cloud was preventing air travel. They made good use of the time. When a committee in Russia viewed the DVD Fedor was chosen and it was Alexander Gorshkov who was particularly excited by their potential. Fedor was faced with a huge decision because initially the Federation wanted him to commit to the next 4 years. Marina stayed out of the decision saying it had to be up to Fedor. Fedor left for Florida to do choreography for Richard Callaghan’s skaters and found that Richard advised ihim n the same way Igor had. In other words to commit for one year and see how it went. Fedor and Jana have been together since the second week of July and Marina says the biggest challenge was amping up to the 5 -6 hours a day on the ice for Fedor vs the 2.5 he was used to as a singles skater. He seems like a natural and apparently always wanted to dance but never had a viable partner; ‘til now.
The skaters Marina says have good chemistry and work well together and may compete at Cup of Russia but only if they are ready. I wondered about Fedor’s back which had bothered him once upon a time and all those dance lifts? Marina says that all is going well and that Jana has been a huge help as Fedor has learned about body positions and dance holds, lifts and transitions. They are skating their Short Dance to a classical piece: Natasha’s First Waltz from Profokiev’s War and Peace. Their Free Dance is to music from the Beatle’s Abbey Road. Marina says they have a look along the lines of Canada’s Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon with Jana’s delicate and diminutive beauty against Fedor’s bigger and more masculine frame. Can’t wait to see them!

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