Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue
Official Website - 2012-2015 U.S. Figure Skating National Team Members and 2014 ISU Four Continents Ice Dance Champions
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Madi & Zach
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A new season, a new home, a new spark
Madi and Zach answer their fans' questions and provide the latest updates on their move to Montréal and their plans for the upcoming season
July 24, 2015 - Webmaster Update
Madi and Zach are busy training for the 2015-2016 season after moving to Montréal in April to work with coaches Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon, Romain Hagenauer, and Pascal Denis at the Centre Gadbois. There, they will train alongside other elite ice dance teams, including newly crowned world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France, Sara Hurtado and Adrià Díaz of Spain, and Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam of Canada. Madi and Zach will continue to represent the United States in competition.
Madi and Zach announced the move after placing 10th at the 2015 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Shanghai. While their finish was respectable, given that they had trained at full intensity for only six weeks prior to the event due to Madi's recovery from hip surgery, Madi and Zach felt that the timing was right for a change of scenery. Madi and Zach saw that Marie-France and Patrice were bringing some fresh new perspectives into ice dance, while Marie-France and Patrice also saw Madi and Zach's potential for both power and long lines.
Indeed, Madi and Zach are eager to show off their new look, particuarly their lines and lifts, at the Québec Summer Championships in Pierrefonds on August 8th and 9th. Because their training and results were severely curtailed by injury and surgery the last two seasons, they have worked hard throughout the spring and summer to be fully prepared for the upcoming season. In particular, Madi is pleased to report that she is fully healthy once again after recovering from surgery.
Madi and Zach would like to extend their sincere, heartfelt thanks to Pasquale Camerlengo and Anjelika Krylova, their former coaches at the Detroit Skating Club. Pasquale and Anjelika were instrumental in bringing Madi and Zach together in the first place, and have overseen their success and development as a fairly new team on the skating scene. Madi would also like to thank the medical and physical therapy staff at the Detroit Skating Club for their tireless work throughout her recovery.
Madi and Zach are also immensely grateful for their fans' unwavering support. Recently, Madi and Zach took the time to answer questions that their Facebook fans asked of them. They are pleased to provide their fans with the following updates.
1. Talk a bit about adjusting to your new training environment. What are some new approaches to training that you have experienced in Montréal? Have you changed anything about your training routine - for example, more or less run-throughs? Also, have your coaches suggested any changes to you that have surprised you?
2. Do each of your coaches specialize in certain aspects of skating? Have you found yourselves working more with one or more of the coaches on the Montréal team?
We were concerned, like with any change, that it would take us a while to get settled here in Montréal. The new coaching team has done a wonderful job preparing us already, and we feel more ready for the season than we ever have in July. The group of athletes here in Montréal are very encouraging and supportive of each other, and we even do our off ice classes as a group. The atmosphere here is very conducive to progress, and that is what we are feeling right now - progress.
Marie-France and Patrice share the creative card, but in slightly different ways. Marie-France has created the bulk of both our short dance and free dance. She really creates something real, a piece that is alive and constantly evolving. Patrice assists Marie with lifts, elements, and footwork. He is a technical genius, and therefore he has his hands on everything from stroking class to programs. He is also very organized, and creates our training and run-through schedules, which changes every day. Romain is very good with aesthetics and polishing. He is also teaching us about technique, especially for long lines and flow across the ice.
Our coaching staff is huge, and expands beyond the ice. We are lucky enough to do ballet, workout, ballroom, and theatre class every week. The workout is intense, and sometimes it's outside since it's summertime, but it's very fun to do with the whole group of skaters. Theatre is also something new for us, and so interesting. We feel so invested and deeply emotionally connected to our programs already, and we have only just begun.
3. Talk a bit about how last season turned out, and your goals for the upcoming season. And what do you feel you need to do to accomplish your goals this season?
Last season was a success, but also disappointing. We say this because of Madison's hip surgery, which was a great success. She was able to recover, and compete better and better through the season. This was not a guarantee, and we were of course very pleased with this aspect of our season.
It was also hard, though, to fight through and overcome so much behind the scenes, but not to see that reflected in the form of big successes at our competitions. While we did well and earned some medals, we also think we placed where many people expected of us, without making greater impact. We wanted to create a "wow," and we didn't feel that we accomplished that. We felt a little lost, and we decided that we needed a change of environment to reignite the passion inside us. We feel that we've made the right decision, and we are so happy, excited, and determined to become the best skaters we can be in our new home.
4. How is it like to work alongside Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron? Do you feel that their rise last season means that other skaters - like you - can make similar leaps?
It is truly inspiring training with all the teams in Montréal, and having the World Champions in our home arena is a wonderful asset. They are beautiful, creative skaters, and they're mesmerizing even when they're working on and helping come up with their choreography. Their success last year was a testament not only to their own hard work, dedication, and passion, but also that of the coaching staff here in Montréal.
5. How collaborative has the music selection process been with your new coaches? And when will you release your program music for the season? Anxiously awaiting!
We were very impressed with our music selection process, which was very thoughtful, but also very decisive. We found music for both of our programs in only a few weeks, and both programs were choreographed with such care from Marie-France. Every movement has intention, a thought behind it.
We will release our programs soon, we promise! We really want people to see our program in concert with the music. One does not exist without the other.
6. You have a great connection on the ice, and it's great to see your ability to take on different forms of music. Is there a certain style of music that is your favorite?
We have a great relationship on and off the ice, and have grown close over the past four years. Every day we are learning more about each other, the way we think, and the way we move. We are both very open people who perform on a deeply personal level.
Our skating style is well-suited to the blues, but we feel that we are also very versatile. All of our programs have been different styles and themes, and we are looking forward to showing everyone yet another style that we can perform this season.
7. What has been your favorite program so far, short or free? Also, would you consider revamping your FD from the '13/'14 season (Bohemian Rhapsody) as your Olympic season program? It was exquisite.
We feel that our new free dance is going to be very special, and it is our favorite so far. We loved our program from the 2014 season, and it will always hold a special place in our heart, but we would never repeat any of our programs. We went through so much during the 2014 season, between injuries and barely missing the Olympic team. That year, and that program really bonded us together and made us a stronger team.
8. Who does the choreography for your exhibitions? Loved the Thousand Years one, and the redoing of your first season FD to Joe Cocker as a tribute last year at Nationals.
We do all of the choreography for our show programs. They are a chance for us to feel free and reconnected with our love of skating. There is no pressure during shows - no judges and scores - so we let ourselves relax and just enjoy the moment.
9. Are you going to be doing more shows this year? How do you decide where you do them?
We would love to do some more shows, but we have to put our training first. When we are invited to participate, we always want to say yes, but we have to look at whether or not we can take days away from our training or if we need to really buckle down and work.
10. What do you think you will do when you retire from competing (though I hope it's not for many years!!)? Will you stay involved in skating, or do you have other interests?
Zach: I love to teach and choreograph. After retiring from competition, I'd love to work with all the disciplines of figure skating, with thoughts towards a larger show production. For now, I'm focusing on my training and soaking up all the knowledge of movement, choreography, and technique that I can.
Madi: I've always said that I would leave the world of figure skating, but as I get older, I'm beginning to realize how hard it would be to live away from the ice. I do know that I'd like to have a family and be a mom. I love kids, and I also love to create things. Whether it is gardening, baking, art, or making jewelry, I like to try everything. We will just have to wait and see.
Previous news updates from Madi & Zach
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