Ilia Averbukh: Ice dance is probably the most inertial kind of figure skating

Posted on 2018-06-25 • 2 comments


Short interview with Ilia Averbukh. About ice show, work with Dmitri Aliev and situation in Russian single skating and ice dance.

Figure skating is associated with the winter season. Do ice shows are really successful in summer?

– Why not? In general, I want to start a tradition to bring new performances to Petersburg every summer. It’s also great, to please the citizens of St.Petersburg with good performances in the White Nights period. I understand that such traditions develop over the years, so we have a lot of time ahead. It is interesting for me to work in this city because I consider Petersburg to be the flagship of the cultural development of our country.

But you do not forget about the sport. You have a new student, Dmitri Aliev.

– First of all he is a student of Evgeni Rukavitsin, I will work with him as a choreographer. Dima is a very interesting skater. I think I already know in what direction we need to move. Also, I did a new program for Alexei Mishin’s student Sofia Samodurova. We had a very interesting work.

Can any skater work with you?

– I am always open to all athletes. A choreographer is such a specialist who can do programs even for competitors. My task is to put the program on maximum, to reveal their best qualities.

Last years we had a breakthrough in women’s skating, but our boys do not please us with the results. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel in this discipline?

– I do not agree. In the last season, guys showed good results. So the light at the end of the tunnel is clearly visible. I have no doubt that the next four years will be very interesting. We just had such a compensatory period. There were girls, the boys were gone. But now the situation is leveling off.

And what happens in our ice dance? Since the silver medals of a remarkable pair Ilia Averbukh and Irina Lobacheva in 2002 and gold medals of Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov in 2006, we haven’t had such success at the Games. Now the trendsetters in this discipline are Americans and Canadians, the French have recently appeared. When will we be able to compete on an equal claiming for medals?

– This phenomenon is connected with certain fundamental things. The fact is that ice dance is probably the most inertial kind of figure skating. If other genres of our sport can quickly change the vector of their development, then in ice dance inertia is very strong.

We developed Soviet dances on ice, and then Russian in some other direction. First of all, they relied on emotional performance, on the technique in compulsory dances. We were always strong in them, but then they canceled the compulsory dance.

European and North American skating developed in a different direction. For example, the school of Igor Shpilband focused not on emotionality, but on some technical components such as lifts, twizzles. And when the rules were changed, there appeared a lot of technical elements and the emotional fulfillment, as Tatiana Tarasova used to say, “at the level of the aortic rupture” took second place.

The technique came to the first plan and we lagged behind in this respect. Because, the same notorious twizzles, which Americans and Canadians do from childhood, we began to learn at a more mature age. I’m sure that our junior pairs, trained since childhood, will soon get the positions back. I think our duets Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin and Nikita Katsalapov and Victoria Sinitsyna have excellent chances to fight with leaders on equal terms next season. These guys are capable of beating them.

Other countries are also catching up, there are more and more competitors every year ….

– It’s good. Actually, it should be noted that competition is growing due to the fact that Russian coaches work abroad.

by Valentina Karelova for


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2 Responses to “Ilia Averbukh: Ice dance is probably the most inertial kind of figure skating”

  1. OlgaLV says:

    It’s interesting that Averbukh doesn’t work abroad. Maybe he is so busy or not trendy as he represents another generation than now.

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