Daniil Gleichengauz: composers need to work faster, because we do a lot of new programs, and they write not so much new music
Daniil Gleichengauz commented on performances of his athletes at the Grand Prix Final, explained what were the reasons for the development of quads in ladies’ single skating, talked about his love for ballet and creation of new programs.
by fsrussia.ru dd. December 20th, 2019
Alena Kostornaia won senior Grand Prix finals, as a year ago the junior Final in Vancouver. What can you say about her performance in Turin?
– Alena deservedly won a gold medal. She cleanly performed two programs. She was great in choreography. She showed that you can get huge points and set world records with the content that she has.
We will continue to work. It’s still necessary to progress anyway. Let’s see, if there is an opportunity we will learn quads. It’s hard to talk about this during the season, because there’s no time for it, and the risk of injury is too high.
Another skater of your group, Anna Shcherbakova, became the silver medalist. How do you assess her performances?
– In Turin, so far, Anya had her best performance of the short program. She set a personal record, so there were no questions about the short program, except the fact that she needs to add a triple axel to the program.
As for the free program, we tried a quadruple flip for the first time. We knew it was a risk, that it was possible to skate a program with two quadruple lutzes and achieve a clean performance. We discussed this, and Anya herself wanted to complicate the program and try a new quadruple jump. Indeed, where else to try, if not at the Grand Prix Final? Try and take risks.
Russian Nationals is ahead and, God blesses, the main competitions – it is necessary to prepare a more complex content. Therefore, I congratulate Anya on how she coped with the new version of her free program and at the same time got very good components, which allowed her to take second place.
Alexandra Trusova won bronze by planning five (!) quadruple jumps in the free program, which is beyond the abilities of many men.
– Sasha went on the triple axel in a short program. We have learnt it only recently, and while the consistency of execution leaves much to be desired. It was such a risk-risk, but it’s Sasha! Therefore, there is even nothing to discuss. It is impossible to dissuade Sasha from jumping something more complicated.
We understand: the goal is the Olympics, and preparations for it are already underway. The sooner Sasha starts to skate that content and those programs that she wants to show there, the easier it will be for her at the right time.
The skate of the free program with five quadruples – it’s hard to say something here. Although Yuzuru Hanyu and Nathan Chen have shown that it is possible to make five quads in one program at a high level. In Turin Sasha popped quadruple salchow and lost 10-12 points.
Such a number of quads is always a risk. One mistake and you are third, one successful landing and you are the first. This is what adds interest. Of course, maybe at the most important moment we can control the number of quads so that Sasha gets the maximum result. But while she is growing up, progressing, she wants to do it, and it is impossible to stop a person in his desire to develop.
Alina Zagitova perfectly performed a short program, and made mistakes in a free. What do you think happened?
– These were two days of completely different emotions.
We were very proud of Alina after a short program, because she showed the perfect combination of all the elements from jumps to step sequence, spins. In addition, she emotionally conveyed what I wanted to see in this program. And the opposite happened in a free …
It’s hard for me to say what happened with Alina inside before and after the performance, because the emotions that an athlete experiences from victories or defeats cannot be felt by other people. We can only support Alina and be with her at this difficult moment. Alina is a person with a strong character.
Another skater of your group, Daniil Samsonov, won the bronze at the first junior Grand Prix Final in his career. This athlete gives an impression of a serious and adult persons. Is this true?
– Danya is distinguished by his attitude to business, training. He is always focused and serious. It’s hard to get a smile from him. But it’s good for work. Daniil has a goal. Clearly, we are talking about the Olympics. And he goes to his goal. He is still a young athlete. This is his first year, the first season in juniors at the international level.
Unfortunately, in the short program, Dania made a mistake on the triple axel, although he can skate this program clean and get very good points. In Turin, of course, this was not enough for the overall result. There were mistakes in the free program. We lost one combination. And I think it’s a good result that we took 3rd place with such skates.
Next we will prepare for the national championships. In Turin, he skated with one quadruple, in training he skates with two – lutz and flip. It just needs to be more prepared, to be more stable.
The girls of your group, American Alysa Liu, our Liza Tuktamysheva, Japanese lady jump quadruple jumps and triple axels. Your opinion, what caused this phenomenon in ladies’ skating?
– It seems to me that, first of all, the coaches needed break the mental barrier in their heads that girls can jump quadruples. The whole question was that we had never seen this. Yes, there were some attempts, but no one thought it was necessary, possible. And the main difficulty was to cross this line mentally. Now we see that it is quite real, not a few do it. Not only in Russia. And this shows that we pushed the whole world towards development, and the world answered us. There are more and more rivals who master quadruple jumps. This progress cannot be stopped.
I think now it will become commonplace, as it happened with the boys. After all, in the past the boys jumped a triple axel, then a quadruple toe loop, and this have been for quite some time. At best, they jumped two quadruple toe loops.
Then Timothy Gable jumped quadruple salchow. Then Brandon Mroz did a quad lutz. And those who jumped quads thought: “Since we are jumping salchows, why can’t we jump lutz?” For many lutz is easier than salchow. And the boys began to jump other quads, not just toe loop. The number of quadruple jumps in programs has increased.
Therefore, it is not surprising that the same thing happened in ladies’ figure skating. The number of athletes who jump triple axel has increased. Now we come to the fact that for a girl who just begins to do figure skating, these jumps become the norm. She sees a competition where girls do quads and triple axels. And the girl goes to trainings with the thought that she also wants to jump quadruples.
Just a leap happened that was supposed to happen, because the level of difficulty in ladies’ single skating has already “stagnated”.
Of course, it was hard to accept, because we haven’t seen ladies’ figure skating in this form. But for young people who come and will come to figure skating, after some time it will seem strange that once girls did not jump quads.
So, to a greater extent this is a matter of psychology?
– Yes, just the coaches themselves were not ready to accept it. And athletes, by the way, too. Now our athletes are calm about the very idea of learning quadruples, triple axels. And of course there is no such thing that we go on a jump from the first attempt. We trained for a long time on a harness, with protection, physically, but it still was scary. Any attempt of a quadruple is a risk. But, as practice shows, you can get injured leaving the ice, anytime, anywhere. Therefore, learning complex jumps, one must always be focused, control everything so that the athlete does not go on complex elements with fatigue and so on. But this is the work of coaches …
No matter what they say, quadruples in ladies’ skating are becoming the norm. And everyone will strive to jump difficult jumps.
But there are people who say it is dangerous. Although earlier they said the same thing when women started riding horses or bicycles, for example.
– If we talk about figure skating, then the issue of height and weight plays a role. If the boy’s height is 180cm and weight is 70kg, and he jumps quad, then the average height of the girl is 160cm and weight is 50kg. And the girl can also make this jump. Moreover, the girls are more stretched, flexible, and when your body is so prepared, the muscles are elastic, then the probability of injuries is less.
Look at Yuzuru how his ligaments and muscles are perfect when he “explodes” approaching a jump and completely relaxes them afterwards. Even when he falls, it is often seen how much he softens the fall by relaxing.
Like a cat.
– Yes, like a cat. Therefore, I do not understand the reasons for the outrage, why girls should not jump quads. Now Liza Tuktamysheva has shown everyone: if you have technique, you can jump triple axels and learn quadruple at any age. With the pushing abilities and rotation on the air that Lisa has, if she had set a goal to learn quads from childhood, if it had been necessary during that period of her career, then she could have jumped all five quads. Well, maybe four, except the loop. It just was not necessary at that time, and Liza did not learn these jumps. And now she started and it turned out that she could jump them.
Moreover, as you said, for girls with their height and weight this is less traumatic than the guys.
– Of course. In addition, girls are much more attentive to how it’s necessary to approach this process. They will always stretch their legs, make the necessary massages, won’t be lazy to run, warm up, cool down, so their body will recover after exercise. Boys more often ignore such things. I myself remember: I went to cool down, 5 minutes and I ran away. And the next day, the muscles contracted, on a complex element I pulled slightly and got a microtrauma.
Therefore, it is very important after any workout to completely relax the body – stretch, massage, procedures …
After such a recovery, the next day you can start the same training loads and the risk of injury will be minimal.
Your mother was a ballerina at the Bolshoi Theater, why didn’t you follow in her footsteps and didn’t choose ballet?
– Because from the age of four I was engaged in figure skating, and to the ballet class they accept from the age of seven. By that time, I had been skating for three years and did not want to leave. I cried and screamed that I won’t go to ballet. Although my mother engaged me in figure skating with the aim to prepare for entering a ballet school.
Your mother Lyudmila Shalashova recently passed away. And you choreographed Alina Zagitova a gala program in memory of your mother. Can you tell me how this idea was born?
– The gala program that Alina performed at the Grand Prix in Sapporo is dedicated to my mother, who left us more than a month ago … This program was born after 3 days after everything happened. I came to training and told Alina that I had such an idea. Alina asked: “Wouldn’t you like to perform this program yourself?” It was very nice of her, but I nevertheless decided to convey my feelings through Alina and thank her very much for agreeing. This program symbolizes a new life, something natural, connected with nature, beautiful, understandable to people. This is like rebirth, bright memories. It was easier for me to survive the loss so.
How did your mom help Alina?
– Mom was engaged in choreography with our entire group. Worked on all the programs on the floor — each arm, each gesture. She worked a lot with Alina in the Olympic season on the Black Swan and Don Quixote. They were very close with Alina, and Alina gave her a kitten for a birthday, who now lives with me. Kitty has grown. The character is very similar to Alina …
Alina had a trusting relationship with my mother. And for Alina, my mother’s death was a heavy blow, as for all the athletes in our group.
You didn’t do ballet, but do you like ballet?
– Of course. How can a ballet not be liked? Just my life is closely connected with figure skating, and it seems to me that we, skaters, have a little more opportunities than in ballet. Using ice, skates, you can do a little more than on the floor.
Do you have a favorite choreographer in ballet?
– Maurice Bejart.
– Because he has a peculiar and special choreography. I also try to do something different in my programs and work. Each choreographer should have his own style. And in order to be remembered, he must do what no one has done before him.
There are many students in your group, how do you manage to do different programs for everyone?
– This is the most difficult. I am ready to appeal to musicians to compose more new music faster, because for example I used almost all of compositions of such composers such as Max Richter, Dario Marianelli. They need to work faster, because we do a lot of new programs, and they write not so much new music.
Of course, we make programs together with Eteri Georgievna. Choreograph together. For so many programs, a huge number of ideas are needed.