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 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 will 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 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. All the pieces then snowballed round us. We needed to depart Russia and our coaches, discovering ourselves in Madrid with out correct situations to maintain coaching at excessive stage. 

We have been debating on attempting completely different coaches or transferring once more. We realised that if we needed to maintain going, it was going to demand quite a 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 have been completely satisfied educating 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 vital choice. What did you must 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 college in Madrid, the place Sara is at dwelling and the place I actually take pleasure in dwelling. I at all times knew I needed to turn into a coach after I completed skating, as a result of there are quite a lot of issues I wish to make on the ice that I haven’t accomplished but, visions to current by means 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. All the pieces surrounding the game is tremendous simple to search out in Madrid, it’s such an enormous metropolis that you’ve one of the best certified individuals to deliver a superb workforce collectively, together with coaches, choreographers, dancers, medical doctors. 

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

SH: We did quite a lot of brainstorming. We needed to generate one thing cool, however on the finish the only choice turned out to be one of the best. Because it was one thing tremendous private for us, we needed to care for every thing: we have been enjoying round with our initials, after which immediately we thought to name it SK, which is the start of the phrases skating and expertise – what we do and what we love – and additionally it is each of our initials collectively. I referred to as a superb good friend 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 certainly one 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 yr! 

KK: This was an enormous milestone for us, notably due to the fellows having 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 aim 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 so much. We will 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 care for that, of what occurs off the ice, have fun, take pleasure in. This primary season was a superb check to see if this course was working or not, and reply is sure, it’s. There are issues we wish to enhance, however to date we’re actually completely satisfied.

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

SH: We have now 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 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 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 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 must work on how you progress, the way you carry out, the way you handle your feelings on a programme, you must be match and in good condition, have the endurance to have the ability to do troublesome routines. We have now an enormous “military” of eyes and arms that every certainly one of us brings in. 

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

KK: If you happen to do one thing, you must 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 model, then we have now it.

SH: The fellows give us the way in which, we by no means impose a method to them, we attempt to deliver one of the best of every character out. We have now 4 groups, however every one could be very completely different on the ice. They consider in what they carry out, within the programmes that they skate. 

You’re focussing so much 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 have now quite a lot of conversations, it is crucial that they know they’ll 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 thing. We spend quite a 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 means, we ask what’s going on, we verify in with them. This profession teaches you to work as a workforce.

Do you are feeling you will have modified since you will have turn into coaches? 

SH: I don’t suppose I’ve modified that a lot, it’s the means that we put who we’re at work which is completely 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 so much and bear in mind all that must be accomplished. 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 so much throughout the skating profession, however from the end of the skating profession to teaching I don’t see an enormous change, notably in such a short while. Sara and I have been by no means scared to vary, to determine, 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 will have any long-term ambitions that you’re working in the direction of?

SH:  Carry 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!