Czech Mates

Articles, Articles by Barry Mittan

Kamila Hajkova and David Vincour

Kamila Hajkova, 18, and David Vincour, 22, hope they have the perfect match that will lead to a long-term career in the ice dancing world. The dancers from the Czech Republic had a good year in their first full senior season, placing 19th at the 2006 European Championships and 27th at Worlds. “It was a great season for us,” Hajkova said. “We really enjoyed our first Worlds.”

The dancers were very busy during the 2005-06 season, winning the bronze medals at both the Ondrej Nepela Memorial and the Golden Spin of Zagreb. They also placed tenth at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany and 12th at the Karl Schaefer Memorial in Vienna. Their only international senior gold medal to date was at the Pavel Roman Memorial in Olomouc in 2005.

Hajkova, when she was six, went skating with a friend for fun and became hooked on the sport. She attended a sports school, where she excelled in athletics. As a high jumper, she could jump 1.4 meters when she was only 1.5 meters in height. By 14, she had landed her double axel and triple loop jumps. She competed in ladies until she was 15, but never reached higher than tenth in novice ladies at the Czech National Championships. So she switched to dance. “I like dance because you can skate as a team with a partner,” she said. “You can show more feeling in the dance and the music is more interesting. Dance is more attractive for people. And I thought I could get a higher place in dance.”

Vincour started skating at five. “My father worked at the ice rink so I skated for two years,” he said. “But then I stopped and didn’t skate again until I was 12, when we moved to Austria. I was learning to play the piano and doing all other sports in school from when I was six to 12. Then I went immediately into dance. I could only do a single axel and a double salchow and it was too late to learn the jumps even for pairs.”

Vincour competed for two years with Sabine Pichler for Austria, winning the junior dance title and placing 22nd at Junior Worlds in 1999. Then he skated with Barbara Herzog for three years, winning the junior dance title and finishing 28th and 22nd at Junior Worlds in 2000 and 2001. “My father returned to the Czech Republic and I was alone,” he said. “After a time I decided to return home also. Kamila’s coach thought it could be a good prospect dancing together so we tried it as well.”

The couple won the junior dance championship in the Czech Republic in 2005 and the senior title in 2006.In the 2004-05 season, they placed tenth at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships.

Originally coached by Ivan Rezek, the dancers now train with Gabriela Hrazska in Brno in the Czech Republic and with Martin Skotnicky in Oberstdorf, Germany, during the whole year. “I knew Martin before I moved to Austria and he is a great coach, especially for the compulsory dances,” Vincour said. They train on ice for two to three hours a day, six days a week with another hour or two of daily off ice work.

Hrazska choreographs their programs, but music selection is a collaborative process. Their 2005-06 original dance music by Shum Svistu included a samba to “Lo-Lo Dzhama” and a mambo to “Wonder”. “It’s a Czech interpretation of Latin music,” Vincour said. “It was a little bit crazy.” For their free dance, the couple skated to “Le Balcon”, “Aimer” and “Les Rois du Monde” by Gerard Presgurvic from the musical “Romeo et Juliette”. “It’s from the French musical,” Hajkova explained. “We thought it would be good for the Europeans in France and the Worlds in Canada because the people would understand it and it’s an interesting story.”

For the 2006-07 season, the couple will be skating to a medley of Elvis Presley rock and roll tunes. They also hope to do something in the blues category in the future. “We like doing the Charleston and rock and roll,” Hajkova added. Off ice, she listens to pop music, while he enjoys R and B and hip-hop. Hajkova also enjoys reading, traveling to tropical places, being with friends and web surfing. She also enjoys swimming, cycling and orienteering. “My brother and I do it together,” she noted. Vincour enjoys all kinds of sports, watching comedy movies, and collecting figure skating items.

Vincour has already finished a bachelor’s degree at a sports school, planning to be a coach or choreographer. Hajkova is a junior in high school and also plans to stay in the sport. “I’d like to do shows and coach,” she said, “but I’d like anything to do with skating.” For the 2006-07 season, they hope to make the first 15 at Europeans and the first 20 at Worlds. “I’d like to skate as long as Povilas (Vanagas),” Vincour said. “We’d like to go to the Olympics and do some shows.”

This season, the dancers will participate in their first Grand Prx event when they compete at Skate Canada in Victoria, British Columbia, in November. For more information, see their website at www.hajkova-vincour.cz.

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