Hurtado & Khaliavin open SK Worldwide Ice Dance Faculty

By Matteo Morelli | Banner picture 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 informed us about how the concept 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 could have launched into a brand new journey as ice dance coaches. What led to that call? 

Sara Hurtado (SH): Each time there may be an finish to an Olympic season. As an athlete you are taking a second to replicate and determine what you wish to do subsequent. Our Olympic season didn’t find yourself as we have 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. Every part then snowballed round us. We needed to go away Russia and our coaches, discovering ourselves in Madrid with out correct situations to maintain coaching at excessive stage. 

We have been debating on attempting completely different coaches or shifting once more. We realised that if we wished to maintain going, it was going to demand a variety of vitality 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 have been joyful educating and training. The choice to cease competing was sort of straightforward for us at that time. 

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

Kirill Khaliavin (KK):  We wished to maintain going with the ice dance, so the following step for us was to open a faculty in Madrid, the place Sara is at house and the place I actually take pleasure in dwelling. I at all times knew I wished to change into a coach after I completed skating, as a result of there are a variety of issues I wish to make on the ice that I haven’t completed but, visions to current via 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: After we discovered ourselves right here in Madrid, we realised there was no correct place for ice dancers to develop as they need to. Every part surrounding the game is tremendous straightforward to seek out in Madrid, it’s such a giant metropolis that you’ve the perfect certified individuals to carry an excellent group collectively, together with coaches, choreographers, dancers, docs. 

Fascinated with the identify of your faculty, how did you provide you with it?

SH: We did a variety of brainstorming. We wished to generate one thing cool, however on the finish the only possibility turned out to be the perfect. Because it was one thing tremendous private for us, we wished to handle all the pieces: we have been enjoying round with our initials, after which instantly we thought to name it SK, which is the start of the phrases skating and expertise – what we do and what we love – and it’s also each of our initials collectively. I known as an excellent buddy of mine which did the brand with the design of the blade form, and all began to make sense!

Photograph by Nacho Casares

When did you begin to work as coaches?

SH: We correctly began to work round October 2022. 

How do you assume the college has been evolving to date?

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

KK: This was a giant milestone for us, notably due to the fellows having the ability to skate clear and qualify for Worlds. On the competitors in Holland, Maurizio (Margaglio) was congratulating me and informed me I must be celebrating, however I used to be already focussing on the following steps. Proper now, the objective in my head is to arrange the {couples} for the following season. We’re focussed to go from level to level. 

SH: If we glance again, everybody has improved so much. We will see how they’re rising as skaters and as a gaggle, they generate a really wholesome vitality all collectively. For us it is vitally vital to handle that, of what occurs off the ice, have fun, take pleasure in. This primary season was an excellent take a look at to see if this course was working or not, and reply is sure, it’s. There are issues we wish to enhance, however to date we’re actually joyful.

What number of college students are you working with in the intervening time?

SH: We’ve got 4 groups now, three seniors and one junior. 

You should be fairly busy with the brand new season developing, 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 fitting 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 components, choreography and the music components. 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 go away 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 tough routines. We’ve got a giant “military” of eyes and fingers that every one in every of us brings in. 

Do you assume you could have your personal fashion as coaches?

KK: When you do one thing, you need to do it from how you are feeling and the way you assume it’s going to work. If the others say that we’ve our personal fashion, then we’ve it.

SH: The fellows give us the way in which, we by no means impose a method to them, we attempt to carry the perfect of every character out. We’ve got 4 groups, however every one could be very completely different on the ice. They imagine in what they carry out, within the programmes that they skate. 

You might be focussing so much on psychological well being, which is an important element of teaching that’s lastly being addressed extra. How do you implement this together with your athletes?

SH: We’ve got a variety of conversations, it is crucial that they know they will name or textual content us at any time with any doubt or drawback they’ve. Being younger makes it straightforward, they see us as authority however we’re additionally recent out of this: they really feel much less distance between them and us, they really feel extra open to talk about all the pieces. We spend a variety of time collectively! Each time we see the vitality 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 are feeling you could have modified since you could have change into coaches? 

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

KK: The priorities have modified. We see issues from a special angle. If I converse for myself, I believe I modified so much throughout the skating profession, however from the end of the skating profession to teaching I don’t see a giant change, notably in such a short while. Sara and I have been by no means scared to vary, to determine, to place issues on our shoulders, be in command of programmes, components, preparation. We’re at all times open to speak to our athletes and take heed to them, as our coach was doing with us.

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

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