After dancing into a disappointing fifth place at the 2011 European Championships, Italy’s Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali decided to end their 10-year career. The duo had lost the desire to participate in subsequent World Championships.
“Our main goal this season was to win the European title after our two silver medals (in 2009 and 2010),” Scali told IFS. “However, this did not work, but we are proud to have tried. This season was not very lucky for us.”
Despite Faiella having severe stomach problems last spring, Scali said there were other obstacles. “In the summer we had U.S. visa problems which prevented us from starting our training with Natalia Linichuk and Gennadi Karponossov,” he explained. “Then we had costumes issues and injuries during the Grand Prix season. Before nationals, Federica had another problem with her back. Therefore, we were not 100 percent ready when we arrived for Europeans.
“After the mistake on the twizzle in the short dance we were ninth, which was a big shock for us. We made the effort in the free, however, and were able to move up to fifth place.
“But we felt that the judges no longer appreciated our efforts. Originally we had planned to finish our competitive career after Worlds in 2010, but after the Olympics we got an interesting offer from our federation. We both wanted that elusive European gold medal, so we continued for one more season.”
When asked to name his favorite moment from his career, Scali could not decide. “I like all four last free dances very much,” he said. “The first highlight of our career was the silver medal at 2009 Europeans, performed to Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata.’
“In the past year, we lost ground against the North American teams of Meryl Davis and Charlie White and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. But we wanted to prove that in Europe we were still among the top. Our ‘Immigrants’ free dance in 2010, made mainly for Vancouver, had many similarities to our own life.
“We were these little Italians who moved to the big U.S. in 2006 to train with Anjelika Krylova and Pasquale Camerlengo and this dance brought us our only medal at Worlds. I think this year’s ‘Manolete’ free dance was our best even if we did not have much success with it. It reflects best the emotional character we possess.”
Faiella and Scali have gone separate ways. “I spent the month of March in Detroit as an assistant of Anjelika and Pasquale,” Scali explained. “They are much like a family to me. I found out that I love teaching and I plan to keep doing this. I am also dreaming of opening a floor dancing school. I do not know yet; I have to rebuild my whole life now. I want to settle somewhere instead of traveling all the time. And personally I still hope to find a person who I will love for the rest of my life.”
Faiella has other plans. “Federica is not interested in moving to the U.S. She is an Italian policewoman now, and likes her job. She and her boyfriend Lorenzo — a real estate agent — are thinking about starting a family soon.”
In late March Faiella slipped on a set of stairs at her home and injured her back. She was hospitalized and might have to undergo surgery. “She will likely not be able to do the shows we had planned for April,” Scali said. “I might just do them alone … we will see what happens.”
Originally published in June 2011