Madison Chock/Evan Bates: “We’re happy to put on a good skate and head to the Grand Prix”

Madison Chock/Evan Bates
Photo by David W. Carmichael

U.S. ice dancers Madison Chock and Evan Bates are two-time World medalists (silver in 2015, bronze in 2016), two-time Grand Prix Final silver medalists (2014–15, 2015–16), the 2019 Four Continents champions, and the 2015 U.S. national champions. At Finlandia Trophy, which took place in Espoo last week, they placed first both in the rhythm dance and in the free dance to win the gold medal with 198,26 points.

After the free dance, Madison and Evan commented on their performance. 

Are you satisfied with your performance here in Finland?


Yes, it’s been a fun weekend. We got to compete our programs again, and we’re very happy with how the free skate went today. It felt like a very good performance, very engaged with each other and the audience, so we’re very happy to put on a good skate and head to the Grand Prix soon.

Your outfit looks quite amazing. Would you please tell us about your costume?


I was inspired by a runway show that Julien Macdonald did, and so that was the inspiration behind the dress. I’m a snake in the program, so I wanted it to look kind of reptilian, but also a touch Egyptian, with the golds and the turquoise. Mathieu Caron and I had an amazing time working on the design process, and it came out wonderfully. I’m so happy with it.

You’re a snake in the free dance. Who is Evan?


Well, it’s a snake dance, so I’m a snake and he is a traveler. He finds me in the desert and uncovers my box that I’ve been hiding in and living in…


Well, we’ve been joking it’s a box (smiles).


Yes, we’ve been joking it’s a box. It’s probably a woven basket, but we told Marie, “Oh yeah, box. It’s a box” (laughs). 

But yes, so he finds me and then I come to life, and I turn into a woman, and he can’t decide if it’s a trick of the desert, like a mirage —


A mirage, like I’m super-dehydrated and don’t know what’s happening (both laugh).


We dance together, and he doesn’t know if I’m a snake or a woman, if I’m going to hurt him or he’s falling in love with me. That’s the whole kind of interweaving of the story, kind of a cat and mouse, snake and man.

The Montreal ice dance school is so big and so successful. How motivating is it to train in such a big group? Are there any drawbacks?


It’s a really wonderful environment. It’s so much fun, and we’re all so lucky to be able to train together every day. Everyone is inspired by each other, and it’s just a really special place to be.

This is the second competition for you. What do you feel you’ve improved on from your first competition?


I think we definitely skated better today in the free dance than we did in Salt Lake City. Although we made a few little mistakes, technically, in the rhythm dance, I do feel like we had a really good spirit and commitment to the dance. There were a few errors in the program, but overall it felt like a strong performance. 

Also, we’re excited that we were able to do Challengers. It’s the first time we’ve been doing Challengers in a few years, because of injuries, so I think it’s an advantage to be able to vet the programs. It’s a good feeling going into the Grand Prix.

Ludmila ORLOVA, Espoo.