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 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 will 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’re taking a second to replicate and determine what you need to do subsequent. Our Olympic season didn’t find yourself as we had 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. Every little thing 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 degree. 

We had been debating on making an attempt totally different coaches or transferring once more. We realised that if we needed to maintain going, it was going to demand a whole 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 sort of straightforward for us at that time. 

You then determined to arrange the SK Worldwide Ice Dance College, which was in itself one other vital resolution. What did you need 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 faculty in Madrid, the place Sara is at residence and the place I actually get pleasure from dwelling. I at all times knew I needed to grow to be a coach after I completed skating, as a result of there are a whole lot 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 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: 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 little thing surrounding the game is tremendous straightforward to seek out in Madrid, it’s such an enormous metropolis that you’ve one of the best certified individuals to deliver a superb group collectively, together with coaches, choreographers, dancers, medical doctors. 

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

SH: We did a whole lot of brainstorming. We needed to generate one thing cool, however on the finish the only possibility turned out to be one of the best. Because it was one thing tremendous private for us, we needed to handle all the things: we had 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’s also each of our initials collectively. I referred to as a superb good friend of mine which did the emblem 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 varsity has been evolving thus far?

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 try 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 instructed me I ought to be celebrating, however I used to be already focussing on the subsequent steps. Proper now, the objective 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 gaggle, they generate a really wholesome power all collectively. For us it is extremely vital to handle that, of what occurs off the ice, have amusing, get pleasure from. This primary season was a superb check to see if this route was working or not, and reply is sure, it’s. There are issues we need to enhance, however thus far we’re actually completely satisfied.

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

SH: Now we 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 group 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 appropriate 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 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 good condition, have the endurance to have the ability to do tough routines. Now we have an enormous “military” of eyes and arms that every one among us brings in. 

Do you suppose you will have your personal model as coaches?

KK: For those who 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’ve got our personal model, then we’ve got it.

SH: The fellows give us the way in which, we by no means impose a mode to them, we attempt to deliver one of the best of every persona out. Now we 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 rather a lot 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: Now we have a whole lot of conversations, it is vital that they know they will name or textual content us at any time with any doubt or downside they’ve. Being younger makes it straightforward, 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 whole 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 method, we ask what’s going on, we verify in with them. This profession teaches you to work as a group.

Do you’re feeling you will have modified since you will have grow to be 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 could be extra psychological than bodily, from the facet of the barrier you might want 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 had been used to earlier than!

KK: The priorities have modified. We see issues from a special angle. If I converse for myself, I feel I modified rather a lot 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 alter, to determine, to place issues on our shoulders, be answerable for programmes, parts, preparation. We’re at all times open to speak to our athletes and hearken to them, as our coach was doing with us.

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

SH:  Deliver 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!