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 advised us about how the concept took place, 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’ve got 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 are taking a second to replicate and determine what you wish 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 circumstances to maintain coaching at excessive degree. 

We had been debating on attempting totally different coaches or shifting once more. We realised that if we wished to maintain going, it was going to demand numerous 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 pleased 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 vital resolution. What did it’s important 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 college in Madrid, the place Sara is at dwelling and the place I actually take pleasure in dwelling. I all the time knew I wished to turn into a coach once I completed skating, as a result of there are numerous issues I wish to make on the ice that I haven’t accomplished but, visions to current by my perspective, and my very own thought 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 employees that share your thought 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. All the things surrounding the game is tremendous simple to search out in Madrid, it’s such an enormous metropolis that you’ve the very best certified folks to carry a very good staff collectively, together with coaches, choreographers, dancers, docs. 

Fascinated by the identify of your college, how did you give you it?

SH: We did numerous brainstorming. We wished to generate one thing cool, however on the finish the only choice turned out to be the very best. Because it was one thing tremendous private for us, we wished to care for every part: we had been taking part in round with our initials, after which abruptly 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 is usually each of our initials collectively. I referred to as a very good 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 varsity has been evolving up to now?

SH: Going to Worlds with one in all 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 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 advised me I must be celebrating, however I used to be already focussing on the subsequent steps. Proper now, the objective 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 loads. 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 extremely vital to care for that, of what occurs off the ice, have fun, take pleasure in. This primary season was a very good check to see if this route was working or not, and reply is sure, it’s. There are issues we wish to enhance, however up to now we’re actually pleased.

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

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

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

SH: Sure! And every staff that involves the varsity 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 help 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: it’s important to work on how you progress, the way you carry out, the way you handle your feelings on a programme, it’s important to be match and in good condition, have the endurance to have the ability to do tough routines. We now have an enormous “military” of eyes and palms that every one in all us brings in. 

Do you assume you’ve got your individual fashion as coaches?

KK: Should you do one thing, it’s important to do it from how you’re feeling and the way you assume it’s going to work. If the others say that now we have our personal fashion, then now we have it.

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

You’re focussing loads on psychological well being, which is an important part of teaching that’s lastly being addressed extra. How do you implement this along with your athletes?

SH: We now have numerous conversations, it is necessary that they know they will name or textual content us at any time with any doubt or drawback 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 talk about every part. We spend numerous time collectively! Each time we see the power switching and we don’t see them having fun with it and dealing in a constructive approach, we ask what’s going on, we verify in with them. This profession teaches you to work as a staff.

Do you’re feeling you’ve got modified since you’ve got turn into coaches? 

SH: I don’t assume I’ve modified that a lot, it’s the approach 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 worthwhile to focus loads and keep in mind all that must be accomplished. 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 special angle. If I converse for myself, I believe I modified loads throughout 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 vary, to determine, to place issues on our shoulders, be accountable for 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’ve got any long-term ambitions that you’re working in direction of?

SH:  Deliver our groups to their finest, whether or not meaning Europeans, Worlds, Olympics, so long as they’ve a protected {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!