Igor Shpilband: "I want a completely new look for Ilinykh/Zhiganshin"

quiqie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,003
Igor Shpilband: I want a completely new look for Ilinykh/Zhiganshin

http://rsport.ru/interview/20160318/905477120.html

Q: Igor, your French pupil Angélique Abachkina looked very furious after the short dance!
A: She's fierce. From Krasnoyarsk.

Q: Which of your many teams has a potential to become top ice dancers, in your opinion?
A: I am lucky to work with many very good young teams. I have two at these championships alone - Angélique and Louis (Thauron), representing France, and Elliana Pogrebinsky/Alex Benoit, skating for the USA. By the way, Elliana's family is from Odessa. I have several more teams from different countries at home — for example, Christina Carrera/Anton Ponomarenko. Anton is a very talented guy.

Q: An American?
A: He is a son of Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko. He has clearly inherited his parents' talent, but he is different. He has his own promising qualities — good skating skills that he probably got from Sergei, and expressiveness that is definitely from Marina. Chloe Lewis/Logan Bye are also my pupils, very unique team that won silver at the Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer. Each of my juniors have their own strengths and individuality.

Q: Do you have enough time for the last year's US national champions Madison Chock and Evan Bates?
A: Sure. I've been working with them for many years and I pay enough attention to them.

Q: It seems they have a difficult and uneven season, especially compared to the amazing success of Maia and Alex Shibutani. Is it hard to prepare them for the World championships in Boston?
A: Each competition is difficult in its own way. Madison and Evan are seasoned skaters. Evan had skated at two Olympic Games, Madison — at one. They won Junior Worlds with other partners, they are reigning World silver medalists. I hope their experience will help them to prepare for Boston.

Q: What will be their main trump card at Worlds?
A: They definitely can compete with other leading ice dancing teams. But what really sets them apart, it's their great skating skills, soft stroking, and also they are both very good dancers. This year's programs are built on their amazing expressiveness and sophisticated skating skills. New and intricate transitions are also important, and this is were they have the edge over other teams.

Q: Which teams?
A: The European champions who have a very beautiful program, but it's simple.

Q: Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron have simple program?
A: Yes. Their current programs are much simpler compared to the last year's. They are indeed very beautiful but consist of crossovers and two-foot skating.

Q: What is the reason for the Shibutanis' progress, in your opinion?
A: They are talented, very hard-working people, they always have been worthy competitors — amazingly consistent, which is a great plus. There is no shame in losing to them.

Q: Will the judges' stereotypes be a problem for Chock/Bates at the upcoming WC after the Nationals?
A: No. I don't think there is a problem, the judges actually put C/B ahead of Shibutanis in both programs. It's very important. It was the technical score that let us down. We worked on that, made significant changes in the step sequences, the spin. I hope technical panel will notice the improvement in Boston.

Q: Is there room left at your rink for Lena and Ruslan?
A: We made a room, so that's fine, they fit.

Q: How did you find them?
A: Essentially, we just started working together — it's been only three weeks after their arrival, it's very little time, but we already decided what we are going to work on and how.

Q: And what is it?
A: I would prefer not to go into details.

Q: What do they need to change?
A: It is important for me that they have a different look in the next season. Just different.

Q: Completely different?
A: Yes. Different movements, different skating, different expressiveness. Especially Ruslan, because for me, the partner's role is very important.

Q: Does it mean that Lena is clearly superior now?
A; I would prefer not to talk about it because every athlete has his strengths and weaknesses, and the coach's job is to correct the weaknesses. Every athlete has them, but there is no point in discussing it, because we just started working together. It is very important for me that both athletes are dying to improve and are open to work. It's the most important.

Q: When Ilinykh/Katsalapov have split, it was a shock for many people. Will Ilinykh/Zhiganshin be able to achieve the level of the 2014 Olympic bronze medalists and rise above it?
A: That's something I can't answer definitely, it would be unfair. But I know what needs to be done in order to achieve that. Is it possible to achieve that in minimal time, let's say, a year? I don't know. It will depend on the skaters and their progress. It will depend on how they are going to adapt to the work I'm going to offer them.

Q: If you won't be able to do everything you plan to achieve, do you have time to use the next year as a kind of transitional period? Or are we speaking about a partner change here?
A: There is too little to be said and too much to be done. The plans are huge, and I really hope it all works out well.

Q: They had an original free dance this season. Do you think it suits them?
A: I would prefer not to comment on that.

Q: They aren't skating «Frida» when they train with you?
A: No, but since they are alternates for the World championships, they will have to practice this program just in case.

Q: Are you going to make any changes in it?
A: No, because we are not going to prepare for the Worlds specifically. We work more keeping in mind the next season.

Q: Have you started working on new programs?
A: No, now we are looking for music, themes, I try to understand what is the best way to put it together. I try to answer the question, what will work best for Lena and Ruslan.

Q: Having worked with Elena more closely, did you change your opinion about her?
A: I've known Lena for many years, I worked with her when she was 12. I know her very well and I've been watching her career development. I can't help but admire her talent.

Q: Did you discover any new qualities in her?
A: New qualities? I helped her prepare for the Olympic Games when Kolya Morozov asked me for help. I've known her as a teenager, an adult, I understand her well, and I didn't notice any significant changes.

Q: She seems to be a deeply impressionable person. Isn't it a problem?
A: It's called talent. How talent can be a problem? For me as a coach it is a big gift and a great luck to work with such a talent. And, of course, great responsibility.

Q: What does she need to improve?
A: Lena is one of the most talented (female) partners in the world. Everybody has room for improvement. I can go into technical details, but, you see, at some point they don't matter anymore. When a person goes on the ice and lives in a music and dance like Lena, it's very rare. I mean that she has enough skating skills to express herself on ice completely. Yes, she has to work on elements, spins, lifts, twizzles — like everyone. But practice can make that perfect, while this absolute natural talent is extremly rare.

Q: Olympic Games are fast approaching, you have one of the best American and one of the best Russian ice dancing teams. Doesn't that constitute a conflict of interest?
A: I have experience of working with top teams, but there is rarely any problem, because usually skaters feel my support and involvement 100%. I don't work better or worse with anyone. I put the same effort in working with Madison and Evan as I do with a junior team.

Q: Without a doubt you will be able to prepare both teams, but won't the national federations mind?
A: No, American federation is used to me working with teams from different countries, and, most importantly — I don't work for the American federation, and therefore I am an independent man.

Q: What about the Russian figure skating federation?
A: They undoubtedly are interested in skaters and their work. As far as I know, they approved Lena and Ruslan coming to me to train, I feel that they trust me, and I hope they won't regret it.

Q: Can you say already that they are going to stay with you permanetly?
A: I will let them talk about it. So far, they came for several months, let's see how it works, how productive our collaboration is. I want them to improve and for it to work out too.

Q: Officially, Ilinykh and Zhiganshin coming to you to train is regarded as a joint project of Elena Kustarova's group and Igor Shpilband. What kind of project is it?
A: I don't even know what to say. Everybody wants the best for the skaters. If it works out, everybody's happy. Of course, Elena Kustarova and Svetlana Alexeeva did so much for Elena and Ruslan, so much energy, a part of themselves. I have a great respect for these coaches.

Q: Is there going to be any other Russian team in your group, by any chance?
A: There are no plans, and anyway, I don't have much space on my rink.

Q: Did you get any offers to move to Russia to work in the pre-Olympic season? For example, to Novogorsk?
A: No, definitely not, and I don't think it's feasible. I have good training conditions and enough ice time here. No one is going to benefit more from training in Novogorsk or in Novi.
 

Spun Silver

Well-Known Member
Messages
11,803
Shpilband has become a cagy American. We didnt get the usual Russian bluntness here, but it's hardly surprising, given the big multinational roster of his teams. Most interesting to me: no clear NYET in answer to the question about a possible partner change for Elena.
 
C

casken

Guest
Igor's in total denial when it comes to C&B, and his comments toward P&C are desperate.

But what really sets them apart, it's their great skating skills, soft stroking, and also they are both very good dancers. This year's programs are built on their amazing expressiveness and sophisticated skating skills. New and intricate transitions are also important, and this is were they have the edge over other teams.

He should have just said they were going to be "Yuuuge!" and just called this Trump level of bullshit a day.
 

clairecloutier

Well-Known Member
Messages
11,467
Hmm, he certainly was cagey indeed about Ilinykh/Zhiganshin. I can't blame him really. There is so much press and gossip about everything related to Elena, Ruslan, and ex-partner Nikita. And the coaching situation is so new. Sounds like he is most definitely NOT a fan of the Frida program, though. I just hope so much it all works out; I really miss having Elena/Ruslan at the big end-of-year championships. I'm just so disappointed not to see them in Boston. I would 1000% rather see Elena/Ruslan, even in their rough shape this season, over the boring Stepanova/Bukin. I know that's probably not fair to Stepanova/Bukin but it's just how I feel.

I think he's just trying to make the best of it with his comments about Chock/Bates. He has to say something. So, he says this.
 

rhapsody

Well-Known Member
Messages
995
They haven't made a coaching change official, so I understand why Shpilband isn't going to throw I&Z's terrible programs down the river or criticize what their previous coaches did wrong in case they go back.

My favorite was him saying Madison Chockalate has great skating skills. :rofl:

And doing his job as a true ice dance diva coach to tear down the French competition!
 

aftershocks

Banned Member
Messages
17,335
Q: Do you have enough time for the last year's US national champions Madison Chock and Evan Bates?
A: Sure. I've been working with them for many years and I pay enough attention to them...

:lol:


BTW, Igor, "simple and beautiful" can pack a powerful punch, no? :p Particularly when such gorgeous simplicity is combined with exquisite skating skills and out-of-this-world musicality, smooth flow, expressive emotion and deep connection. IOW, the partnership and talent of Papadakis/ Cizeron simply doesn't grow on trees. Such natural talent doesn't come along that often. You should know.

As you said in regard to Elena I, Igor: "... absolute natural talent is extremely rare."
 
Last edited:

legjumper

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,102
That isn't how I read it. I read it as he could go on and on about what he wants to improve in them but he doesn't want to make those kinds of details public right now.
Plus, as @rhapsody pointed out, he is not officially their new coach at this time. And who knows how much quality time he's actually spent with them so far? They moved to Novi knowing that he would have limited time for them until after Worlds.
 

aftershocks

Banned Member
Messages
17,335
Intricate and complex is often over-rated/ overblown/ overhyped; as well as less than sufficient substitute for brilliant, natural talent. And indeed beautiful simplicity is often underestimated/ too quickly and desperately dismissed. :D
 
Last edited:

VGThuy

Well-Known Member
Messages
34,561
Igor Shpilband: I want a completely new look for Ilinykh/Zhiganshin

Q: What is the reason for the Shibutanis' progress, in your opinion?
A: They are talented, very hard-working people, they always have been worthy competitors — amazingly consistent, which is a great plus. There is no shame in losing to them.

It's nice that he kept it classy when talking about the Shibs and that there seems to be no hard feelings about how the Marina/Igor split turned out. It's a pretty nice quote. I still think both the Shibs and C/B would have been even better had Igor and Marina stayed together (and still gotten along).

Regarding what he said about I/Z, I like what he did there. He probably feels there's a lot to work on right now and it's not in their best interest for him to make his critiques public. I have more faith that they went to the right place and will really work under his tutelage.
 

aftershocks

Banned Member
Messages
17,335
It's nice that he kept it classy when talking about the Shibs and that there seems to be no hard feelings about how the Marina/Igor split turned out. It's a pretty nice quote. I still think both the Shibs and C/B would have been even better had Igor and Marina stayed together (and still gotten along)...

^^ Seems to me that Igor respects the Shibs because he knows them so well and he played an important role in their development when they were young up-and-comers. He probably harbors a sense of satisfaction and admiration over the Shibs' recent accomplishments.

IMO, it's not clear that there's really no hard feelings regarding the Igor/Marina split, but alls well that ends well since both former coaching partners are still successful and flush with talented camps and more than enough top level work to keep them both occupied and feeling needed and rewarded with their students' successes.
 

VGThuy

Well-Known Member
Messages
34,561
^^ Seems to me that Igor respects the Shibs because he knows them so well and he played an important role in their development when they were young up-and-comers.

IMO, it's not clear that there's really no hard feelings regarding the Igor/Marina split, but alls well that ends well since both former coaching partners are still successful and flush with talented camps and more than enough top level work to keep them both occupied and feeling needed and rewarded with their students' successes.

Sorry, I meant any hard feelings towards the dancers themselves. I'm not near ready to say whether Igor and Marina are still harboring ill-feelings towards one another.
 

aftershocks

Banned Member
Messages
17,335
Anyways, I think P/C's programs seem more 'simple' than they actually are because they make everything look so effortless and seamless. I think rival coaches, etc., terming P/C's programs 'simple' is a code word for "easy." :lol: Guillaume and Gaby are definitely both easy on the eyes. Also sublime, exquisite, compelling, emotional, connected, transcendent. Easy does it for me, and apparently for audiences and judges too!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mX42087N4Q "It's like liquid flowing, innit?"

Take it easy, Igor.
 
Last edited:

NorthernDancers

Well-Known Member
Messages
363
Intricate and complex is often over-rated/ overblown/ overhyped; as well as less than sufficient substitute for brilliant, natural talent. And indeed beautiful simplicity is often underestimated/ too quickly and desperately dismissed. :D

I will agree with you when it comes to exhibition or show programs. When it comes to sport and a competitive program, intricate and complex skating done very well should score higher than a more simple program also done very well, no matter the "natural talent". It's the same in every discipline of skating: it is easier and more likely to win with a technically rich program with decent artistic content, then to win with an artistically rich program with decent technical content. I'm not a fan of difficulty for the sake of difficulty, when the difficulty gets in the way of the quality execution of the program because the skater(s) are not ready yet to tackle the level of difficulty. But when comparing 2 well executed programs, the one that is more technically rich should have a higher score.
 

aftershocks

Banned Member
Messages
17,335
^^ Bowing to your intricate knowledge of ice dance @NorthernDancers. :lol: However, programs that are more technically crammed does not mean the skaters executing the moves possess richness of spirit, natural expressiveness, smooth flow and musicality that coexists with a deep, palpable emotional connection. And, in any case, like I said, what Gaby and Guillaume are doing paradoxically may seem simple and easy, simply because they make it look so effortless and seamless.

The 'one' with great technique and so-so artistry should have an excellent technical score, and lower PCS scores. But let's face it, figure skating is not that simple to judge, to understand, to plumb, to score accurately, to figure out, to separate the politics from, to agree with each other about, to withdraw from cold turkey. :p

I'd like to see another team who could miss half a season and come out of the blocks the way P/C did at French Nationals and Europeans. :cheer2:

When commentators are genuinely stumped for words, and the usual boring over-hype phraseology is inadequate to describe the mesmerizing experience viewers have just witnessed, I think a bit of magic has happened that uplifts and takes us beyond the mundane and the average. In any case, maybe what P/C do on the ice is just simply too amazing for some critics and tech-complexity-obsessed ice-dance connoisseurs to accept. P/C are young and they are still growing in experience and in technical expertise. But they also are no slouches in terms of their technical abilities. I think the tech critiques are overblown because everything about P/C's talent and their unexpected rise is confounding and exceptional.

It doesn't even matter if P/C win Worlds this year, they are a winning team! For me, their journey is all the more powerful and irresistible because of its delightful unpredictability, endlessly unfolding provenance, charming inspirational appeal, and limitless possibility. Like air and water, simple things too often are taken for granted. :D
 
Last edited:

Vash01

Fan of Yuzuru, Three A's, T&M, P&C
Messages
50,776
He just keeps saying - "No comment". I find the interviews of other Russian coaches much more interesting. They are not shy about expressing themselves.
 

Katha

Well-Known Member
Messages
363
He's cagey all right. :rofl: I think his comments about C/B are pretty understandable, they're his top pair, of course he'll cheerlead for them and point out all their strong points (or what he perceives as their strong points). He worked with the Shibs before, so he's less likely to get super critical about them, even if they're direct rivals of C/B. He's got no close connections with P/C, so less qualms about criticizing them. With I/Z he has to walk a fine line: He's only worked with them a few weeks, so that limits what he can say about them in general. He can't go in too hard on Kustarova, because they still have ties there and might perhaps keep in some way connected to her. He can't totally dismiss their programs before the season is over either, but it's heavily implied what he thinks about them. ;)

What he does say is very telling, though, agreed: That there's a gap between the partners and that it needs to be addressed (implying that so far in their coaching it hasn't been done enough). Implying that they need a stylistic overhaul and a new way of moving (again with the hint that so far what they did wasn't suitable and that they're not well-matched either?). And IMO, even if Igor is one for safe choreo, it's good that they're with someone now who will tell them stuff like "No, we need a more traditional SD, clearly the judges dislike the old one", or "No, you can't do Frida. It's too ambitious for Ruslan and it's too ambitious for you both as a relatively new pair." Because for me, Kustarova failed on that front. There were jokes already about Igor pulling one of his partner swap manouvers on them when it became known that they would go to Novi, so the vague answer to that question cracked me up. :D

ETA: I don't think splitting them up is a serious consideration (though what do I know, and ice dance is apparently where absurdity and constant melodrama thrives...), I was just amused with his answer in the context of earlier discussions on this topic here.
 
Last edited:

analia

Well-Known Member
Messages
533
Partner swap with who though...there is literally no one. Unless I guess Soloviev is available now? I don't think he matches Lena any better than Ruslan.
And yet, I guess if anyone has the experience to present a mismatched team it would be Igor.
 
C

casken

Guest
Q: Have you started working on new programs?
A: No, now we are looking for music, themes, I try to understand what is the best way to put it together.

Translation: "I'm watching videos of my old programs on YouTube and trying to decide on the best one to recycle for them."
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top
Do Not Sell My Personal Information