Rejection is never easy. Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje are trying to overcome early season disappointment by revamping their free dance.
When skaters are getting ready for the season, the goal is to find music and choreograph a program that will give them the edge over the competition. Weaver and Poje thought they had just the ticket with their concept program, in which Kaitlyn is a statue that is brought to life by sculptor Andrew.
For many skaters, getting two bronze medals at Grand Prix events this season would be reason to celebrate. For Kaitlyn and Andrew, it was alarming. They finished fourth in the world in 2012 and were looking to take their place on the podium this year. Getting beaten twice by the team of Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitry Soloviev sent them a clear message that they had to do something:
Pj: Who did you go to for advice?
Andrew Poje: "Just about everybody. We asked many people that we trust, people to see what they thought the problem was. The frustrating thing for [coach] Pasquale [Camerlengo] was that no two people said exactly the same thing."
Pj: When did you start talking about possible changes?
Andrew Poje: "The day we got home from the Cup of China, we had an official meeting to discuss where to go from here."
Kaitlyn Weaver: "We knew we needed a plan. We aren't the type to just sit around and wait to see what happens."
Pj: Who was in the meeting?
Kaitlyn Weaver: "Pasquale, Anjelika [Krylova], us and Shae-Lynn [Bourne] by Skype. She is our go-to girl and will always be involved."
Pj: What was the problem, do you think?
Kaitlyn Weaver: "I wasn''t sure if it was me. The program technical score was low and it made me doubt myself. When I look back on the entire pre-season, I realize that we had a lack of connection. I wasn't feeling the connection to Andrew like I normally do and I felt like something was missing."
Andrew Poje: "I thought it might have been the elements themselves. But the more we thought about it, we realized that it was the set-up into the elements in a lot of the cases and not the elements themselves."
Pj: You are here in Toronto. What are you doing?
Kaitlyn Weaver: "We came here to re-do the program and to work on the connection."
Pj: What are you doing to fix that?
Kaitlyn Weaver: "The problem was in the program. The statue came to life at the beginning and then became a statue again at the end. In the middle of the program, we didn't really know what we were trying to express. We worked with Geoffrey Tyler a little bit last year, who is a performer that we met through Kurt Browning. He has been helping us to create the story and to try and understand why we are moving in certain places and to help us with the emotional connection. He has been giving us key words in certain places in the free dance to help us. Pasquale has been here too, so he knows the key words as well which will help us in our training."
Pj: Why didn't you just throw out the program and start with a new one?
Andrew Poje: "We loved the program and it's a story we wanted to tell. We are not the type of people who give up; we want to do the program justice."
Kaitlyn Weaver: "It's unique. It's special. We won't give up. We think this program can be great and memorable and we just need to tailor it more to our strengths."
Pj: What are your strengths?
Kaitlyn Weaver: "We feel that we are really good at connecting with each other through our programs. We just needed some help in getting to that."
One of the things I have always admired about this team is the way it handles challenges and disappointment. They have often said that they have their own goals in mind and will not let individual results affect what they want to accomplish.
In their characteristic, making lemonade out of lemons way, Kaitlyn said that not making the Grand Prix Final has been a bit of a blessing in disguise. They knew from their first competition at Skate America that they were going to need some help. If they had qualified for the Final in Sochi, Russia, they admit that they would never have had the time to rebuild the program in a way that will make them competitive in the second half of the season.
It is that attitude that makes them a special team and will go a long way to helping them fulfill their ambition and make the podium at worlds.
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