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Bazarova and Larionov show more serious side

Oft-overlooked Russian pairs team looks to step out of shadows of more high-profile teammates

Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov are skating to 'Tosca' and 'Doctor Zhivago' this season.
Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov are skating to 'Tosca' and 'Doctor Zhivago' this season. (Getty Images)

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By Vladislav Luchianov, special to icenetwork.com
(11/28/2011) - Russian pairs skaters Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov, who won the silver medal at the French stage of the Grand Prix, Trophée Eric Bompard, are in the shadows of their more experienced teammates. This situation, however, could change very soon, as it is apparent they have taken a significant step forward in their skating, especially on the artistic side.

Bazarova and Larionov are the reigning European bronze medalists, reigning two-time Russian bronze medalists and the 2007 world junior silver medalists. They have won four medals in the Grand Prix Series: three silvers and one bronze.

This year was an important one for the team. They moved from Perm to Saransk, not only the location of their new home rink but also the site of this year's Russian Championships.

"We like this city very much. The ice rink administration is very helpful to us, and we feel comfortable here," Bazarova said. "Figure skating is developing very fast in this region."

At Skate America, the duo finished fifth and were unsatisfied with their skating, but in Paris they demonstrated another level of performance.

"We are working very hard on our components, especially on the choreography," Bazarova said. "Now we can see the results of this."

This offseason, because of the postponed world championships, skaters had to train more intensively.

"We had to do all of our preparation in a short time," Larionov said. "Some teams, due to lack of time, decided not to make both programs new. Some of them changed just the short program, others just the free skate. We decided to change both.

"Also, we spent a lot of time working on classic choreography and acting skills. We wanted to improve our components, so we decided to include some acting classes in our general preparation."

For their short program, Bazarova and Larionov selected the well-known music from Giacomo Puccini's opera, Tosca, while their free skate program is set to Maurice Jarre's Doctor Zhivago soundtrack. Their programs this season are more serious when compared to their previous ones.

"The music choice was not easy, especially for our short program," Larionov said. "We considered many different pieces and listened to lots of CDs."

"When we heard Tosca, we immediately realized that this music would be very suitable for us," Bazarova said. "We also understood that it's not easy to skate to such a serious musical composition. This music needs to be fully interpreted on the ice through emotions, hand movements and so on."

Their short program was created by Nikoli Morozov in Russia. They had to travel a bit farther to get the choreography for their free skate; for that, they traveled to Michigan to collaborate with Marina Zoueva.

"And, of course, our coach, Ludmila Kalinina, is helping us a lot," Bazarova said. "Now we feel that our team became much stronger, and we will continue to improve our performances."