Anjelika Krylova and Pasquale Camerlengo have become one of the most sought-after coaching and choreographic teams in the world, but it took a lot of hard work and dedication to earn the respect they now command.
When the dynamic duo first settled in the U.S., finding work was a major challenge. “Initially it was very hard to work here, because there were a lot of other dance coaches,” Camerlengo recalled. “My popularity in Europe meant nothing in America. But I knew some coaches and started working at five different rinks on the East Coast.
“In September 2006 Anjelika and I moved to Detroit, but even here it was hard, because there were already the two main schools in Canton and Ann Arbor. I was just the third little fish in a big ocean.”
Krylova, 38, a two-time World ice dance champion (1998-99), originally hails from Russia. Camerlengo, 45, was a four-time Italian ice dance champion who was born and raised in Milan.
The couple, who married in 2010, have two children (Stella, 6, and Anthony, 4).
Both smiled when asked how they first met. “We competed against each other from 1991 to 1993, which was when I retired,” Camerlengo explained. “At that time we were not in love at all.
Anjelika spoke mainly Russian, and I, almost no Russian. I saw her sometimes at competitions with her partner Oleg Ovsiannikov, but still we had not much contact.
“In 2003 I was in the Czech Republic casting skaters for a show. I thought that Anjelika and Oleg were great for the main characters and choreographed a number for them. There I learned to know her better, at first only on the ice. But I liked the way she moved and learned the steps. That’s when I fell in love with her.”
Krylova continued the story. “We spent one month together at the show. I thought Pasquale had a nice personality and I felt his sensuality. I invited him to come to Delaware, where I had lived since 1994. Then we went on vacation to Rome and decided to stay together. For a year, we worked in Berlin. Then I returned to Delaware and Pasquale came with me because I was pregnant.”
Injury forced Krylova to retire from skating in 1999. “I planned to continue competing, but the doctors advised me to retire because of severe back problems which could have paralyzed me,” she said. “After a break of one year Oleg and I decided to skate in shows, leaving out the most risky lifts and movements.”
Camerlengo recalled that when Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali first came to work with him a number of years ago, it was often just the three of them on the ice.
“The big boom started when Daisuke Takahashi came in 2008. At that point everybody saw that I was doing good work, and this is now the fourth season that I am working with him.”
In June 2011 Nathalie Péchalat and Fabian Bourzat moved to Detroit to work with Krylova and Camerlengo. The French duo had to leave Russia because they could no longer train with Alexander Zhulin, who now has an exclusive contract with his government to only coach Russian skaters.
“I had worked with Nathalie and Fabian about 10 years ago when I was an assistant coach to Muriel Boucher-Zazoui in Lyon, so they already knew me,” Camerlengo said.
He and Krylova also worked with the brother-and-sister team of Madison Hubbell and Keiffer Hubbell prior to that team’s split in early 2011 and were the catalysts behind the formation of the new senior dance partnership of Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue. The duo claimed gold at Nebelhorn Trophy in September. It was their first international event.
Krylova said she too has more time to devote to coaching now that their children are a little older. “I take them to kindergarten every morning and pick them up at five. Pasquale works into the evenings,” she explained.
“I have been working with a few junior dance teams for some years. Overall, I concentrate more on the technical stuff and set the plan to get teams prepared for competitions, choosing the music, working on the steps and the compulsory aspects. I do some choreography as well, mainly for girls who are singles skaters.”
Camerlengo choreographed a number of programs for singles and pairs skaters from all over the world during the off-season.
Takahashi spent two weeks in Detroit working with Camerlengo on a new long program.
“Also, the Czech skaters Tomáš Verner and Michal Březina were here. I did the short program for Tomáš. He has amazing skills and is able to develop his own ideas. Michal is very easy to work with. He just needed help to learn to express himself,” Camerlengo explained.
The German pairs team of Maylin Hausch and Daniel Wende was also in Detroit during the off-season. “For the long program I used some acting pieces and interesting steps,” Camerlengo explained.
He and Krylova also choreographed new programs for the Italian pairs team Stefania Berton and Ondrej Hotarek.
Many of the club’s elite singles skaters including Alissa Czisny, Adam Rippon and Italy’s Valentina Marchei will also skate to programs crafted by Camerlengo this season.
“Adam has never shown his full potential. As he looks like an angel and moves beautifully, I had to find something which will be a pleasure to watch,” Camerlengo said.
“Besides the fact that he has a dancer’s mind, I love the passion that Pasquale has for what he does,” Rippon said. “What came across to me when we were doing the choreography for my program was that he is so passionate about his craft, very detailed. I have had the opportunity to watch him work with a few other skaters that have come in and he is always thinking of new ideas for them. It is very interesting. I love working with him.”
Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje have nothing but praise for their coaches. “I love working with Anjelika. She knows when to push and when to hold back and makes us better skaters every single day,” Poje said.
“Pasquale is much more than a coach. He is full of ideas and always in a good mood,” Weaver added. “It is a great place to train.”
When asked what his ultimate goal is, Camerlengo smiled. “To have the same success that my colleagues a few miles from
here had in Moscow. To win all the medals at Worlds.”
Originally published in December 2011