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 informed 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 may 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 wish 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 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 stage. 

We had been debating on attempting completely different coaches or shifting once more. We realised that if we needed to maintain going, it was going to demand loads 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 had been completely satisfied educating 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 College, which was in itself one other necessary resolution. 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 following step for us was to open a faculty in Madrid, the place Sara is at dwelling and the place I actually get pleasure from dwelling. I all the time knew I needed to change into a coach once I completed skating, as a result of there are loads of issues I wish to make on the ice that I haven’t executed but, visions to current via 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 thing surrounding the game is tremendous simple to search out in Madrid, it’s such a giant metropolis that you’ve got the most effective certified individuals to deliver a very good group collectively, together with coaches, choreographers, dancers, docs. 

Interested by the title of your college, how did you give you it?

SH: We did loads of brainstorming. We needed to generate one thing cool, however on the finish the only choice turned out to be the most effective. Because it was one thing tremendous private for us, we needed to maintain every little thing: we had been taking part in round with our initials, after which all of a sudden we thought to name it SK, which is the start of the phrases skating and abilities – what we do and what we love – and additionally it is each of our initials collectively. I referred to as a very good buddy of mine which did the emblem 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 college has been evolving up to now?

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 do this in lower than a 12 months! 

KK: This was a giant milestone for us, significantly because of the fellows with 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 organize the {couples} for the following season. We’re focussed to go from level to level. 

SH: If we glance again, everybody has improved loads. We will see how they’re rising as skaters and as a bunch, they generate a really wholesome vitality all collectively. For us it is vitally necessary to maintain that, of what occurs off the ice, have fun, get pleasure from. This primary season was a very good 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 up to now we’re actually completely satisfied.

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

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

You should be fairly busy with the brand new season arising, 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 got put collectively the best 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 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 may’t go away 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 troublesome routines. We’ve got a giant “military” of eyes and palms that every one in every of us brings in. 

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

KK: For those who do one thing, it’s a must to do it from how you are feeling and the way you suppose it’s going to work. If the others say that we have now our personal type, then we have now it.

SH: The fellows give us the best way, we by no means impose a method to them, we attempt to deliver the most effective of every persona out. We’ve got 4 groups, however each could be very completely different on the ice. They consider in what they carry out, within the programmes that they skate. 

You’re focussing loads 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 loads of conversations, it can be 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 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 every little thing. We spend loads 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 group.

Do you are feeling you may have modified since you may 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 completely different. What I can say is that the work now could be extra psychological than bodily, from the facet of the barrier you have to focus loads and keep in mind all that must be executed. 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 unique angle. If I converse for myself, I feel I modified loads through the skating profession, however from the end of the skating profession to teaching I don’t see a giant change, significantly in such a short while. Sara and I had been by no means scared to alter, to resolve, to place issues on our shoulders, be answerable for programmes, components, 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 may have any long-term ambitions that you’re working in the direction of?

SH:  Convey our groups to their greatest, whether or not which means 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!