Hurtado & Khaliavin open SK Worldwide Ice Dance Faculty

By Matteo Morelli | Banner photograph by Anais Martinez y Maria Elena

After saying goodbye to aggressive skating on the finish of the 2021/2022 season, Sara Hurtado and Kirill Khaliavin launched into a brand new enterprise launching the SK International Ice Dance School in Madrid, Spain. They instructed us about how the thought happened, what it took to develop it and the way they’re planning to assist the brand new generations of skaters leverage their potential.

Sara and Kirill, it’s a pleasure to speak to you. After leaving your aggressive profession on the finish of the 2021/2022 season you might have launched into a brand new journey as ice dance coaches. What led to that call? 

Sara Hurtado (SH): Each time there’s an finish to an Olympic season. As an athlete you’re taking a second to mirror and determine what you need to do subsequent. Our Olympic season didn’t find yourself as we had been anticipating, so we wished to take a second to not take into consideration something and see how we felt. We had Revolution On Ice scheduled, the skating present that Javier Fernández has in Spain, which didn’t occur that season. All the things then snowballed round us. We needed to depart Russia and our coaches, discovering ourselves in Madrid with out correct situations to maintain coaching at excessive degree. 

We had been debating on attempting totally different coaches or transferring once more. We realised that if we wished to maintain going, it was going to demand quite a lot of power and sacrifices from us. Throughout that point, Kirill was serving to with the membership in Madrid, and I used to be serving to in Majadahonda, and we had been completely satisfied instructing and training. The choice to cease competing was form of simple for us at that time. 

You then determined to arrange the SK Worldwide Ice Dance Faculty, which was in itself one other essential resolution. What did you need to do to make it occur?

Kirill Khaliavin (KK):  We wished to maintain going with the ice dance, so the subsequent step for us was to open a faculty in Madrid, the place Sara is at house and the place I actually get pleasure from residing. I all the time knew I wished to develop into a coach once I completed skating, as a result of there are quite a lot of issues I need to make on the ice that I haven’t performed but, visions to current by means of my perspective, and my very own concept of how ice dance ought to evolve. It was a milestone to complete as a skater and begin as a coach, surrounding myself with the athletes, coaches, choreographers and workers that share your concept and imaginative and prescient. 

SH: Once we discovered ourselves right here in Madrid, we realised there was no correct place for ice dancers to develop as they need to. All the things surrounding the game is tremendous simple to search out in Madrid, it’s such an enormous metropolis that you’ve one of the best certified individuals to convey an excellent group collectively, together with coaches, choreographers, dancers, docs. 

Occupied with the title of your college, how did you provide you with it?

SH: We did quite a lot of brainstorming. We wished to generate one thing cool, however on the finish the only choice turned out to be one of the best. Because it was one thing tremendous private for us, we wished to handle every little thing: we had been enjoying round with our initials, after which out of the blue we thought to name it SK, which is the start of the phrases skating and expertise – what we do and what we love – and additionally it is each of our initials collectively. I known as an excellent good friend of mine which did the emblem with the design of the blade form, and all began to make sense!

Picture by Nacho Casares

When did you begin to work as coaches?

SH: We correctly began to work round October 2022. 

How do you suppose the college has been evolving up to now?

SH: Going to Worlds with one in every of our groups (Sofia Val and Asaf Kazimov) meant a lot. I don’t suppose a coach can simply try this in lower than a 12 months! 

KK: This was an enormous milestone for us, significantly due to the blokes having the ability to skate clear and qualify for Worlds. On the competitors in Holland, Maurizio (Margaglio) was congratulating me and instructed me I ought to be celebrating, however I used to be already focussing on the subsequent steps. Proper now, the purpose in my head is to arrange the {couples} for the subsequent season. We’re focussed to go from level to level. 

SH: If we glance again, everybody has improved so much. We are able to see how they’re rising as skaters and as a bunch, they generate a really wholesome power all collectively. For us it is vitally essential to handle that, of what occurs off the ice, have fun, get pleasure from. This primary season was an excellent check to see if this course was working or not, and reply is sure, it’s. There are issues we need to enhance, however up to now we’re actually completely satisfied.

What number of college students are you working with for the time being?

SH: We have now 4 groups now, three seniors and one junior. 

You should be fairly busy with the brand new season arising, new choreographies to make and new guidelines to implement!

SH: Sure! And every group that involves the college means two extra programmes for us to work on!

Additionally working with you is Ksenia Monko, one other ex ice dancer turned coach, and it appears that you’ve put collectively the proper infrastructure round you to assist each skater appropriately. 

SH: Sure, we do. For instance, Ksenia is definitely the skilled coach in right here, she has been doing this for longer than us. Between Kirill and I, we are able to handle the technical parts, choreography and the music parts. We additionally work with a dance studio and a coaching facility that covers physiotherapy off ice. This sport is so full and you may’t depart something out: you need to work on how you progress, the way you carry out, the way you handle your feelings on a programme, you need to be match and in fine condition, have the endurance to have the ability to do troublesome routines. We have now an enormous “military” of eyes and fingers that every one in every of us brings in. 

Do you suppose you might have your individual type as coaches?

KK: If you happen to do one thing, you need to do it from how you’re feeling and the way you suppose it will work. If the others say that we now have our personal type, then we now have it.

SH: The fellows give us the best way, we by no means impose a mode to them, we attempt to convey one of the best of every character out. We have now 4 groups, however every one could be very totally different on the ice. They consider in what they carry out, within the programmes that they skate. 

You’re focussing so much on psychological well being, which is a vital part of teaching that’s lastly being addressed extra. How do you implement this together with your athletes?

SH: We have now quite a lot of conversations, it is crucial that they know they’ll name or textual content us at any time with any doubt or downside they’ve. Being younger makes it simple, they see us as authority however we’re additionally contemporary out of this: they really feel much less distance between them and us, they really feel extra open to discuss every little thing. We spend quite a lot of time collectively! Each time we see the power switching and we don’t see them having fun with it and dealing in a constructive means, we ask what’s going on, we examine in with them. This profession teaches you to work as a group.

Do you’re feeling you might have modified since you might have develop into coaches? 

SH: I don’t suppose I’ve modified that a lot, it’s the means that we put who we’re at work which is totally different. What I can say is that the work now’s extra psychological than bodily, from the facet of the barrier it’s essential to focus so much and keep in mind all that must be performed. We finish the times being very drained, even with out the bodily efforts we had been used to earlier than!

KK: The priorities have modified. We see issues from a unique angle. If I converse for myself, I feel I modified so much through the skating profession, however from the end of the skating profession to teaching I don’t see an enormous change, significantly in such a short while. Sara and I had been by no means scared to alter, to determine, to place issues on our shoulders, be in command of programmes, parts, preparation. We’re all the time open to speak to our athletes and take heed to them, as our coach was doing with us.

Do you might have any long-term ambitions that you’re working in the direction of?

SH:  Convey our groups to their finest, whether or not which means Europeans, Worlds, Olympics, so long as they’ve a protected {and professional} place in Madrid to skate and develop. The dream could be to place Spain and Madrid on the map of worldwide ice dance. We’re right here and we’re open!