Vaytsekhovskaya's interview with Buyanova `Don't impose your taste on your skaters' for sport-express.ru
Her pupils Sotnikova and Kovtun are spending 10 days in Japan. To polish their programmes. Still, coming to the TSKA rink I understand `her pupil' is not an exact definition. There are several specialists working with the skaters at once. Buyanova, Tarasova, Sokolovskaya, Tagaeva, Zavozin and Uspenski. It doesn't matter that the skaters on the ice were not Sotnikova and Kovtun, but Gosviani and Gachinski.
Still, we spoke about Buyanova's main pupils.
EV: Usually we start the pre-seasonal interviews with `how did you spend your summer?'
EB: It was great. We had a skating camp in Piancavallo. A popular ski resort in Italy, which, for some reason, didn't make the ice rink usable for a long time. They did for us, even though we made it there by chance only - our original plans had changed.
The ice quality was insane as were the other facilities: 5 minutes walk from the hotel to the rink, 10 minutes walk to the gym and endless meadows around. So all our team, and it's quite a lot of people were working almost all the time. We began with waking up and stretching at 8am and finished around 9pm. It's a lot in the highs, but one of our goals was to let the skaters breath as much in the highs as we could and become stronger. I put a stress on getting them into a shape, Adelina especially.
EB: She had quite a long break after Sochi. She had to let her body rest after all she went through, relax and enjoy the freedom. I waited for Adelina to want to work again. Besides, Sotnikova had her own physical coach, another one worked with Kovtun.
EV: Why different specialists for your skaters?
EB: I wanted Max to work on the top of his ability. In other words he needed an individual approach that would not allow him to take it easy. So we hired a male coach. It's easier with Sotnikova: she've been working for many years with the same coach - Evgenia Petrova, hence she gets to work quite fast. Still, the training camp was hard both for the skaters and the coaches, it's not easy to get back to work after the Olympic season and the holidays, when your body did everything that was not a routine.
EV: Were the locals interested in you?
EB: We were taken care of by everyone starting with the municipality representatives. It was quite unexpected in a small ski resort where there is no life in the summer that we were invited somewhere every free day we had - Wednesdays and Saturdays. We went to trips, saw some beautiful places. We celebrated Adelina's and Maxim's birthdays there. It was fun. But still, most important - we created a good base for the further work.
EV: Had you noticed any changes in your pupils compared to the last year?
EB: Maksim matured. It was obvious he was working hard, but he learned to take it. It wasn't easy in the mountains, I remember it from my times as an athlete.
As for Sotnikova, after winning the Olympics she changed a lot. Such a victory always inspires. I was told again and again how Adelina looked better every passing day.
Perhaps those changes were less obvious to me - after all we've been working together with Sotnikova for many years and I always knew what she can look like. It's something you create with your own hands. Just that for various reasons and mainly because of all the responsibility that lay on her Adelina was very stiff. Now all she kept inside for so many years burst out.
What really makes me happy is seeing with every training how much Adelina wants to compete. The coach can tell when the skater is reluctant. Sometimes it's visible for the the pupil didn't work hard even before the pupil realizes it. In that case keeping working is really hard. I decided at once: should I see Sotnikova is not enjoying the skating I will accept any decision she should make and I will not try to change her mind. But for now I see Adelina really wants to be a European and a world champion. Of course it will not only be up to her, but for now we are working according to the plan.
EV: Are the new costumes ready?
EB: The sketches are.
EV: Excuse me if it's harsh, but I think the costumes were never her strong side. Many times it reflected Adelina's saying she couldn't care less what to wear.
EB: Indeed. Perhaps only now Adelina is grown enough. It reflects the looks, the way she moves. So it's hard to pick a costume that would look good when she is moving on the ice. But we keep working on it. I'm glad when the judges analyze Adelina's skating note she's a `full package' - big jumps combined with decent spins and good gliding.
EV: Who picked the ideas for Adelina's programmes this season?
EB: Tatiana Tarasova and Petr Tchernyshev. When they showed me the ideas I was satisfied. The SP to the `Swan Lake' was shown in the public and it works. This is what I love about Tarasova's and Tchernyshev's choreographing approach: they can get the best of the skater.
EV: When talking about Kovtun not so long ago Tarasova said his last year's programme sacrificed the artistry for the favour of the technical content - 3 quads. Can it repeat this season?
EB: I think Maksim's skating became more self conscious, hence more expressive. He was always very daring in his skating and I don't think that style should be changed for the favour of a ballet or anything else. I think Tchernyshev foudn a very interesting idea for the LP. Maksim looks different there, like no one else. It was indeed hard to get anything of Maksim last year - in order to become a good material for the choreographer the skater must have lots of qualities that Kovtun just didn't last year.
EV: Is it possible to teach the skater a certain style?
EB: In a way it is. Especially since at the age of 15-16 they don't really have much of an idea. This is why it's very important to see which style should be developed and note impose your taste on your skaters.
We learn new things all the time. It can be summed up to : we are trying to gain as much information as possible and pass it to our pupils. I once talked to Tchernyshev about it and he said he learned alot from the `Dancing with the stars' project on the floor. It did a lot of good for Kovtun to skate in Averbukh's show alongside such skaters like Yagudin. I'm very grateful to Averbukh for that. Skating in the shows is a different type of art - you have to learn to present yourself.
EV: This is why you are sending your skaters to Japan every year?
EB: It's for their good. Kovtun started to enjoy his skating thanks to that show a year ago. You see the difference? You can go out there, skate your routine and walk away. On the other hand you can communicate with the public all the time, sending the energy to the crowd and enjoying the feedback. I see Maksim is even training differently now - he enjoys it. It's not something obvious in the daily hard work with all the quads he has to jump...
Another great thing about the show is switching off completely from the routine training while still skating and polishing the programmes. It becomes obvious which parts are not convenient for the skater and what should be changed. It's a good thing all around.
EV: Will you be showing the programmes with all the elements at the test skates that will take place at the end of August?
EB: It's not the goal. The first test skates are for the judges. So the specialists can take a look at the transitions, mark all the levels in the spins, steps, give their remarks. As for the jumps - those are the same jumps. I loved how effective the last year's test skates were. After every programme the technical specialists and the judges invited the skater and the coaches and using the ready video aids they wouldn't miss a single tiny detail. Of course it was a very important Olympic season, but I think this year it will organized just as great.