Hurtado & Khaliavin open SK Worldwide Ice Dance College

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 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 could 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 replicate and resolve what you need 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. The whole lot 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 stage. 

We have been debating on making an attempt totally different coaches or transferring 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 completely happy instructing and training. The choice to cease competing was sort of simple for us at that time. 

You then determined to arrange the SK Worldwide Ice Dance College, which was in itself one other essential 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 subsequent step for us was to open a college in Madrid, the place Sara is at residence and the place I actually get pleasure from residing. 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 need to make on the ice that I haven’t completed but, visions to current by way 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 employees 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. The whole lot surrounding the game is tremendous simple to search out in Madrid, it’s such a giant metropolis that you’ve the perfect certified individuals to deliver an excellent staff collectively, together with coaches, choreographers, dancers, medical doctors. 

Desirous about the title of your college, 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 best choice turned out to be the perfect. Because it was one thing tremendous private for us, we wished to care for every little thing: 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!

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 varsity 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 suppose a coach can simply try this in lower than a 12 months! 

KK: This was a giant milestone for us, notably due to the fellows with 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 organize the {couples} for the subsequent season. We’re focussed to go from level to level. 

SH: If we glance again, everybody has improved rather a lot. We are able to see how they’re rising as skaters and as a bunch, they generate a really wholesome vitality all collectively. For us it is extremely essential to care for that, of what occurs off the ice, have amusing, get pleasure from. This primary season was an excellent check to see if this path was working or not, and reply is sure, it’s. There are issues we need to enhance, however to date we’re actually completely happy.

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

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

You have to be fairly busy with the brand new season arising, 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 correct 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’ll’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. Now we have a giant “military” of eyes and fingers that every one in every of us brings in. 

Do you suppose you could have your personal type as coaches?

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

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

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

SH: Now we have a variety of conversations, it is crucial that they know they will 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 talk about every little thing. 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 method, we ask what’s going on, we test in with them. This profession teaches you to work as a staff.

Do you are feeling you could have modified since you could have change into coaches? 

SH: I don’t suppose I’ve modified that a lot, it’s the method 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 you have to focus rather a lot and keep 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 communicate for myself, I believe I modified rather a lot in the course of 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 resolve, to place issues on our shoulders, be in control of programmes, parts, 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 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!