Michal Brezina: Rafael Harutyunyan knows what an adult figure skater is capable of
Moscow figure skater #1 (53) 2019 dd. 22d April, 2019.
Michal Brezina about age in figure skating and music with vocals.
Michal, my question is about your age and how it affects your workouts and results. Is there a big difference between how you trained before and what your body is capable of right now?
– I’m 28 years old and, of course, it’s much harder for physically now. On the other hand, now I’m able to train more wisely. I cannot skate the program 15 times a day as before, my body simply cannot cope with this. Therefore, in trainings, I do a lot of sets, transitions and do those things in my training process which are useful for me. I know what methods and repeats will help to make the finished product, help to polish the program to the state that my coach and I initially wanted. My coach Rafael Harutyunyan is the person who showed me how you can and should train at my age. Because he has a very clear vision what he wants from me, and he knows what a skater like me can cope with in training. He knows all this thanks to the experience that he gained coaching Alexander Abt, Michelle Kwan, Ashley Wagner, Adam Rippon, he knows what an adult figure skaters are capable of, and knows what they have to do to achieve their best condition and get the desired result. And this is a huge difference with the way I trained before him.
Have you ever had a desire to finish your career?
– Yes, I thought I would have finished skating after the 2018 Olympics. I’ve never thought to skate longer, to be honest. But after the Olympics and the Worlds, I talked to my coach, and we decided that it wasn’t such a bad idea to try to skate another year. He told me me: “Go and try again, because I’m sure you can skate better than before.” I think that the Grand Prix showed that it was a worthwhile decision.
Does it motivate when your coach believes that you can skate better?
– This is definitely what makes me happier and shows me that I’m not alone in this process. My coach goes through all this with me, always tries to help me and believes that everything I do is right and necessary. It really made me believe that I could achieve a result again.
How do you make a living, how do you pay for trainings?
– Most of these expenses are on the Czech Federation of figure skating, they have supported me throughout my career, without them I wouldn’t have been able to reach the level I have now. Also, without the connections of the president of our Federation in the world of figure skating, I would have never been able to train with Raphael. Most likely, this would have never happened. When I tried to contact him for the first time, he said that he have a full group. The second time I decided to try to contact the coach through the president of our Federation, and it worked. Because they are friends and know each other for many years. Rafael wanted to try, and I hope that he did not regret it!
In your opinion, during those years that you are in this sport, has the men’s single skating changed?
– I think the most significant change that happened in the “artistic” part of figure skating was music with vocals, which opened up a large space of opportunities for all skaters. Previously, when we skated only to music without vocals it was hard to convey a variety of artistic images. You could take some kind of soundtrack for a movie and try to show this “cleared” from vocals piece, but it’s very hard. Even if you look at the ballet – sometimes you need to say something during the performance. They cannot just dance without stopping, because people will not understand what is happening there. Therefore, sometimes it’s necessary to say a word or sentence in the middle of a dance, so that people can put into context what they see on stage. Now you can use such music as I used. For skaters, this is a way to communicate with the audience, because not everyone loves classical music, to be honest. And if now we have an opportunity to take something else and bring it to the ice, definitely there will be people who will like it, and skater will be able to reach another audience.
Nevertheless, many skaters continue to skate to classics. How can you explain this?
– I think that in these cases skater wants to take the judges’ side, to please them. Many judges grew up on classical music, at least in figure skating, and they are not always enthusiastic about AC / DC type of music. When such rock music is playing, you can see such a…displeasure on the faces of many judges. It’s clear that they are not a fans of this musical direction. And when something like Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is playing, they can just sit and watch, because this does not kill their ears. They involuntarily add points for PCS, because they are familiar with it, they have heard this music and have seen these images all their lives. When other figure skaters use more modern music – for example, Matteo Rizzo skates to Queen – this is rock music that is not liked by everyone. It is completely different than classical music, and you must find an approach to it, and the viewer must understand this music, know it at least a little. Even in ice dancу, skaters who skate, for example, to AC / DC or some rock and roll, or something alternative, the judges will not appreciate this approach – for them such a musical choice doesn’t correlate with the format of “ice dance”. But it’s great for the audience. They are captured by an unexpected music choice, especially since they know and love it.
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