Sara Hurtado and Kirill Khaliavin: Our goal was to show that Spanish dance can be modern

Posted on 2020-07-02 • No comments yet


Short interview with Sara Hurtado and Kirill Khaliavin. About European Championships, competition in the group, training in the industrial zone and modern flamenco.

by Ludmila Orlova for dd. 25th June, 2020

At the European Championships in Graz, you took seventh place, showing two decent programs. How satisfied were you with your performance?

Kirill: Honestly, not very satisfied. In training, we skate a lot better, I will not hide that. I don’t know whether it’s because of rink sizes or something else, but it was hard. We can skate a lot better.

Sara: We were a little … (thinks) not stiff, but a little restrained. We skated very, very carefully. We can skate these programs much brighter and much “wider”. In general, being an athletes, we are very ambitious and always want to show our full potential. So when it turns out a little less and a little worse, our usual reaction is “uh, damn it” (laughs).

What goals did you set for this championships? Were there any specific tasks in terms of places or scores, for example?

Sara: To get “season best”. That was the goal. We always compare ourselves only with ourselves. This’s in our hands, this’s what we can control. We always set the goal to improve skating from competition to competition and move only forward.

This season you have a terrific free dance, it really suits your pair. Please tell us how you came up with the idea of such an unusual flamenco.

Sara: It all started when I offered several options for music. We chose one of them, started playing music on the ice and realized that something was not right.

Kirill: The music was very “dark”, let’s say so.

Sara: Yes, that type of music that seems to put pressure on your soul. Something insanely sad and … (thinks).

Depressive, probably?

Sara: Yes, a little bit. Something dark, oppressive. I began to look for another piece to combine with this music, and in the end I liked the mix more than the original. When we worked on this program with Antonio (Najarro), our goal was to show ourselves, Spain, but a little from the other side. Show that Spanish dance can be modern. That it can be without a guitar. To the piano only. Our flamenco is modern, flamenco of 2020.

Is there some kind of story, some kind of image that you show on ice?

Sara: There is no specific story. It’s more about feelings, emotions. The first part of the program is sharper, brighter, at the peak of emotions in time with the music. And the second part is more lyrical. Such a modern interpretation of flamenco.

And the rhythm dance?

Sara: In the rhythm dance we have “Hello, Dolly”. I really like this theme. In the movie, the song is performed by Barbra Streisand, but we also decided to include Frank Sinatra’s vocals. Firstly, he has an amazing voice, and secondly, when there are male and female vocals and you are dancing in pairs, it is much easier to tell a story on the ice.

At this European Championships, Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov, one of the leading Russian pairs, won the first place for the first time in their careers. You train in the same group, do you feel any competition on the training ice?

Sara: No, not at all. Our group does not have competition, but rather support. We motivate each other, encourage. We say something like – “Come on, come on guys. You almost did it. One more time” (smiles).

Isn’t it hard to share coach’s attention?

Sara: No, we are mature athletes. We are already responsible for ourselves.

Sara, the next question is for you. To pair with Kirill, you had to move to another country. How easy or difficult was this move and have you already got used to Russia?

Sara: It was easier than I thought. The main problem is, of course, the language.

Can you say something in Russian?

Sara (in Russian): A little bit (laughs and switches back to English). In general, I understand everything a lot better. For example, in the locker room, the guys say something to me in Russian, and I answer them in English. But yes, language is the most difficult thing for me.

Kirill, can you say something in Spanish?

Kirill: Yes, I can say something … (Sara thinks and tells him something in Spanish). Well, let’s just say “Yo hablo español.”

What, in your opinion, is the main difference between Russia and Spain? What do you miss most?

Sara: Most of all I miss the sun (laughs). There are very few sunny days throughout the year. And for me the sun is, I don’t know … like water, or something. My source of energy.

Kirill: Well, Moscow is a very big city. The air is not very good, a lot of pollution. We also skate next to the factory.

Sara: Yes, we train not in the center of Moscow, but closer to the suburbs. The ice rink itself is new, but all the buildings around are gray.

Kirill: Our rink is in the industrial area.

Sara: But in general, I really like Moscow. It is totally where the action is. I was pleasantly surprised by how many young people are here, how many students from all over the world. And from Spain, and from Argentina, and from other countries of South America.


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