“Trusova does not have such natural choreo data as Kamila Valieva, but she has excellent working capacity, desire to become better” Interview with ballet teacher Marina Akelkina
Interview with ballet dancer Marina Akelkina who worked with Alexandra Trusova in the past season. About work with Trusova and qualities which help her compensate the lack of natural choreo abilities.
source: matchtv.ru dd. 29th June 2021, by Marina Tchernysheva-Melnik
Last season you gave individual lessons to our “Russian rocket” Alexandra Trusova. How did the collaboration start?
Marina Akelkina: About a year ago, choreographer Sergei Filin applied to me. A colleague recommended. Sergei said that his friend Evgeni Plushenko is looking for a ballet teacher for his athletes. We met, and Evgeni immediately invited me to the training camp in Kislovodsk. There I gave classes to all the skaters of the academy. Soon after returning to Moscow, Evgeni said that he would be glad if I took up individual work with Sasha. He noted that she wants to work on choreography only with me. Of course, it was nice, I agreed with pleasure.
What did you focus on working Alexandra?
Marina Akelkina: First of all, on the arms, to make them more expressive. I immediately said to Sasha: “Your arms seem to be on their own. We should also use them so that they “sing” along with the music and complement your movements!”. We also did a lot of head positioning. After all, when the head is static, there won’t be a complete dance. In general, we practiced different movements to make them more beautiful and more danceable.
I want to note that Sasha is an ideal student in terms of hard work. Many athletes and artists have to be forced when something fails, there is no mood, etc. And with Sasha it is always the other way around. I offered to rest, and she: “How? I can’t! I have to work all the time!” Another thing amazed me. Sasha is very well prepared in classical choreography. It can be seen that her previous teachers are wonderful. At the same time, I gave her new, more modern elements, and the girl tried everything fearlessly. She was absolutely not shy about how she would look if it didn’t work out the first time. Of course, at first she was surprised, but still tried. For Sasha, there are no concepts “difficult” or “will not work out” at all. This is very captivating.
Did Sasha’s coaches take part in your classes? Have you coordinated a plan with them?
Marina Akelkina: In general, everything was at my discretion, no one controlled us. The only thing, Evgeni Viktorovich asked to work on the whole programs more often (when they had already been choreographed). We danced programs both on the floor and on the ice. Dmitri Mikhailov often tried to watch our lessons, but he had barely looked into the hall when Sasha said to him: “Don’t look at me!” Apparently she was shy. And on the ice we all worked great together, Dmitri and I had excellent contact.
How often did you train?
Marina Akelkina: Twice a week. And the whole season alternated lessons: classical ballet – modern dance. We wanted to do it more often, but the academy has only one ballet room, and according to the schedule we did not have enough free hours. But I often attended ice training.
Many say that Alexandra is only interested in the technical part of the program, “endless jumps”. Did you see her desire to develop precisely in choreography, plasticity of movements?
Marina Akelkina: I will not dissemble: Sasha’s strong point is jumping. This is clear to everyone, and there is no point in arguing. But she has a desire for beautiful movements. I tried to persuade: “Sasha, just imagine – the World championships, the strongest skaters from all over the planet are coming. Several top skaters jump quads. Who will win? The one who jumps quads beautifully, but misses the second mark, or the one who performs all the jumps and gets high scores for components, expressiveness, beautiful spins?” She agreed with the second option. I said: “Then you must understand that you have the jumps, but you also need to work on beauty.”
Sasha really tried. She does not have such natural data as Kamila Valieva, for example, but her excellent working capacity, desire to become better … She is always dissatisfied with herself. Always wants more, more and more. Yes, she’s probably more interested when complexity prevails. This is her character. But she wants to reveal other sides as well.
It is very valuable that last season Sasha’s coaches selected lyrical programs for her to make her work in a different artistic role. She feels comfortable at a fast pace, in something driving and powerful. And the lyrical style is not her strong point. But all together we decided that it would be useful for Sasha to experiment. Although now, for the Olympics, I think the coaches will give her something else.
What did you say to her after the World Championships where she won a medal?
Marina Akelkina: Congratulated, we talked very warmly. Of course, it was a shame that Sasha performed the short program poorly. But she proved to everyone that she is a fighter: after all, in the free program she pulled out many things due to jumps. Her desire for five quads – the path to the impossible. Although in training, she did everything without falling. Therefore, I am sure that everything is possible for Sasha. Sooner or later she will come to this.
What kind of program, in your opinion, would be suitable for Alexandra to surprise the audience with a new style?
Marina Akelkina: She is a girl with a great sense of humor. Therefore, she could dance something charismatic and funny.
Do you follow figure skating? Who is it interesting to work with?
Marina Akelkina: To be honest, I’m not really into the subject, so I will not name names. I only remember my childhood memories – how I gazed at the dances of Bestemianova and Bukin. Later I liked Navka and Kostomarov. In general, dances and pair skating are closer to me – there is dialogue and more of the dance itself. It is interesting to search in this direction, to express yourself. More space for lifts, shapes, poses. Therefore, I would be curious to work with duets. Moreover, I already have experience in ballet class for pair skaters.
Related topics: Alexandra Trusova