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 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’ve gotten 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 have been anticipating, so we needed 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 attempting totally different coaches or transferring once more. We realised that if we needed to maintain going, it was going to demand a number 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 have been joyful 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 determination. What did it’s a must to do to make it occur?

Kirill Khaliavin (KK):  We needed 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 take pleasure in dwelling. I at all times knew I needed to change into a coach after I completed skating, as a result of there are a number of issues I wish to make on the ice that I haven’t carried out but, visions to current by means of 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 workers that share your thought 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 seek out in Madrid, it’s such a giant metropolis that you’ve the perfect certified individuals to convey a very good workforce collectively, together with coaches, choreographers, dancers, docs. 

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

SH: We did a number of brainstorming. We needed to generate one thing cool, however on the finish the only choice turned out to be the perfect. Because it was one thing tremendous private for us, we needed to handle all the things: we have been enjoying round with our initials, after which all of the sudden 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 pal 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 suppose the college has been evolving to this point?

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

KK: This was a giant milestone for us, notably because of 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 needs 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 quite a bit. 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 rather vital to handle that, of what occurs off the ice, have amusing, take pleasure in. This primary season was a very good check to see if this path was working or not, and reply is sure, it’s. There are issues we wish to enhance, however to this point we’re actually joyful.

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

SH: We’ve got 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 workforce 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 correct 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 will 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’ll’t depart something out: it’s a must to work on how you progress, the way you carry out, the way you handle your feelings on a programme, it’s a must to be match and in good condition, have the endurance to have the ability to do tough routines. We’ve got a giant “military” of eyes and arms that every one among us brings in. 

Do you suppose you’ve gotten your individual type as coaches?

KK: Should you do one thing, it’s a must to do it from how you’re 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 best way, we by no means impose a method to them, we attempt to convey the perfect of every character out. We’ve got 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 might be focussing quite a bit on psychological well being, which is a vital part of teaching that’s lastly being addressed extra. How do you implement this along with your athletes?

SH: We’ve got a number of conversations, it will be significant 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 discuss all the things. We spend a number 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 approach, we ask what’s going on, we verify in with them. This profession teaches you to work as a workforce.

Do you’re feeling you’ve gotten modified since you’ve gotten change into coaches? 

SH: I don’t suppose 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 could be extra psychological than bodily, from the facet of the barrier it’s worthwhile to focus quite a bit and bear in mind all that must be carried out. 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 distinct angle. If I converse for myself, I feel I modified quite a bit through 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 alter, 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’ve gotten any long-term ambitions that you’re working in the direction of?

SH:  Carry our groups to their greatest, 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 could be to place Spain and Madrid on the map of worldwide ice dance. We’re right here and we’re open!