Simonenko's interview with Tutberidze `Projecting the upbringing on the sport results discipline'

IceAlisa

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Because each student is treated as irreplaceable in other NA ballet schools vs. Vaganova et al? Just recently they had surprise weigh ins in class at SF ballet. And my former high school classmate died from dieting hard for Boston ballet. Severe dieting is horrible but is very widely practiced. My ex dancer friend said the hair stopped growing from the lack of nutrients.
I've also watched how little some principal dancers eat following class and rehearsal. Studies show that professional ballet dancers have low bone density. These are the cruel realities of ballet and certain sports.
 

kwanfan1818

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Last time I looked, SAB was in NYC.

Most of the other schools in North America are dependent on their placement rates in *and* outside of their own companies, while at SAB, Vaganova, Bolshoi, and probably POB (if students survive that school :scream:), this is a given, although gravy, because it's been the 98% path to get a job in those companies. If they don't have a good placement rate, the the best students not at SAB won't attend, and then they don't get to skim the cream for their own companies, and they don't get tuition money, and their programs shrink, then their summer programs and those bucks suffer, etc. and it's s downwards spiral.

That's not to say that there aren't cases of students being disposable, and SFB likes to market itself as the best company in the US, which some students buy, given the company's recent successes, especially on tour, but, on the whole, NA schools, and even RDB, Royal Ballet, and HNB schools can't afford to act like the four at the top.
 

IceAlisa

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That's why I said other NA schools. SFB has been dumbing down a lot of the dancing, is that what they mean by quality? Almost walked out of their Giselle once. None of this would be tolerated at Mariinsky unless your name is Somova.

Royal Ballet has some great dancers from the US, btw. And it seems Vaganova and Bolshoi accept foreign students for a certain price. As does Perm--what bigger sacrifice than to move to Perm from a Western country to study ballet?
 

kwanfan1818

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And other NA schools don't treat their students as disposable on the whole, because some of them bring in cash, and most of them are precious commodities they need for their "hired" metrics. When PD's go to college, and not one of the ones with top ballet programs, like Indiana University's, which Violette Verdy ran until her death, it's hell on the metrics.
 

IceAlisa

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The ones that I knew at SFB were ever so disposable. In fact, disposed of. Not sure what you mean by "on the whole?"
 

altai_rose

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Yeah, Tutberidze did not need to spill the gossip about her former students to the press. It's TMI and rude. But then again, I can see how she would feel frustrated--if what she says is true, ignoring your coach after you leave is incredibly rude...
All I know is that Tutberidze is not my cup of tea. And though iron discipline is necessary for success, I do not think such absolute hardness is required. Yes, sometimes teenagers want to throw a fit and have somebody call them and tell them they matter. So freaking what. Of course it is all a matter of degree.
For me, it's interesting that there's a discrepancy between the image of Tutberidze in most of this interview (stern, cold, iron discipline) and the numerous photos and videos of the team laughing, dancing, having fun, and cheering each other on during training. And there's no shortage of young Russian skaters flocking to her camp. Quite frankly, I think that the "iron discipline" and "absolute hardness" picture is probably exaggerated.
Everyone who succeeds at this level has made great sacrifices. The difference between those who are so regimented and controlled that they have few other interests or life skills, not life tasks skills, and who haven't the practice of creating friendships outside of their insular world, have it a lot rougher than those who don't. There are coaches like Moskvina, Ade, and Gauthier (and maybe Carroll) who specifically say that their goal is to prepare their students for life during and after skating. That is not what Tutberidze is describing as a recipe for success.

She is teaching children, though, and bringing them up through the ranks, dealing with them through puberty. Most of them are done right around the time they would normally transition into adulthood, ie, post university age, and she's relatively new at this, unlike the long-time Pairs coaches, who are working with students who transition into adulthood under their watch as they compete and peak later. Her school is more like the Vaganova academy or Bolshoi school or SAB, where they can afford to lose most of them, thinking there's always another one to replace them, so she can keep with the formula and not care about this crucial transition.
Well, I don't think that Tutberidze "doesn't care" about the crucial transition; she just hasn't had to deal with it yet in either her athletes or her daughter. I would expect that her views on coaching/preparing students for life will change in the next 10-20 years. Actually, I think that most coaches/teachers (and lab professors...) are more stern and discipline-focused when they're young, and then mellow out when they grow older and gain more life experience themselves. :)
 

IceAlisa

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I was thinking that TAT was a lot more maternal but still extremely overbearing as a coach. She didn't drag her students across the ice like Eteri but she did expect complete control. I don't know what TAT was like as a young coach.
 

IceAlisa

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Sorry for the double post. Meandering through FSU I came across this article by Katrina Hacker (remember her?) that talks about skills she learned as a skater that translate into success in real life.

I recognize many of them: using mantras and breaking down big tasks into smaller parts. I use this anytime I am faced with a long workday that requires a lot of steps like driving to different clinics with full schedules.

So skaters are learning many essential life skills when they compete. They are just called something else.

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-157...oughness-from-competitive-figure-skating.html
 

jenniferlyon

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Yeah, Tutberidze did not need to spill the gossip about her former students to the press.

Frank Carroll did the same thing when Gracie left. The story about her throwing her Team USA jacket in the trash is very similar to what Tutberidze is saying here about Adian Pitkeev. IMO, this kind of talk makes a coach look petty and immature. When a 20-year-old skater is acting like a bratty kid, the last thing they need is a coach who lowers him/herself to that same level. Somebody needs to be the adult in the room.

It's interesting to hear about the role of the Russian skaters' parents. During the Soviet and early post-Soviet periods, the parents didn't seem to be around much. Some skating schools didn't allow parents to watch their kids on the ice. Other times, the skater trained hundreds or even thousands of miles from home. It sounds like the situation is a lot different now.
 

kwanfan1818

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So skaters are learning many essential life skills when they compete. They are just called something else.
I don't remember Hacker training under Tutberidze or a system similar to hers, but I have no idea if her parents behaved as Tutberidze thinks is optimal.
 

IceAlisa

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I don't remember Hacker training under Tutberidze or a system similar to hers, but I have no idea if her parents behaved as Tutberidze thinks is optimal.
I am not talking about Tutberidze or her methods. :confused:
 

hanca

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Thank you, @TAHbKA , as always, for all the hard work on translating. As for the interview....hmmmm. I do appreciate honesty in a person; I don't tend to appreciate a person who has so little good things to say about so many people. I don't get it with agendas.
She has so little good things to say about people who left her. I suppose she is a human and she felt hurt. (although most of them left her more than a year ago, so one would think she had pleny of time to get over it).
 

barbarafan

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Frank Carroll did the same thing when Gracie left. The story about her throwing her Team USA jacket in the trash is very similar to what Tutberidze is saying here about Adian Pitkeev. IMO, this kind of talk makes a coach look petty and immature. When a 20-year-old skater is acting like a bratty kid, the last thing they need is a coach who lowers him/herself to that same level. Somebody needs to be the adult in the room.

It's interesting to hear about the role of the Russian skaters' parents. During the Soviet and early post-Soviet periods, the parents didn't seem to be around much. Some skating schools didn't allow parents to watch their kids on the ice. Other times, the skater trained hundreds or even thousands of miles from home. It sounds like the situation is a lot different now.

Either that or Tutberidze is full of bunk and trying to blame parents for the problems she makes..Some of the posts in these threads have indicated parents are not allowed at the rinks during practices and the rinks are like Vegas...whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. This is good if things have really changed. I thought at the time of Gracie's meltdown someone posted that Frank asked Gracie what he shoud do with her jacket and she responded "give it back"(I guess to us figure skating) and he put it in the trash instead. Who knows what version is true.
 

Kasey

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I was thinking that TAT was a lot more maternal but still extremely overbearing as a coach. She didn't drag her students across the ice like Eteri but she did expect complete control. I don't know what TAT was like as a young coach.



So skaters are learning many essential life skills when they compete. They are just called something else.

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-157...oughness-from-competitive-figure-skating.html

From what I have noted, TAT is more maternal IF you are producing results that she deems acceptable, and can otherwise be insidious. I recall Griazev having issues with her because of his underachieving.

As for the "life skills" argument: I know nothing on my own, although I will relate it to other sports and say that there seem to be more successful transitions to "regular life" from sports like baseball and football than there are hard-luck stories, BUT---there are still those hard luck stories, and these are people who enter the elite level of sport as adults. For sports dominated at the elite level by children (skating, gymnastics), I can imagine that being much different. I think I recall reading somewhere that Trankov's thesis for his degree in psychology was on how elite sports didn't prepare young athletes for regular life, because of all that is decided for them in the course of their careers. Just throwing it out there, as it would be an "insider perspective".
 

ChiquitaBanana

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Sorry for the double post. Meandering through FSU I came across this article by Katrina Hacker (remember her?) that talks about skills she learned as a skater that translate into success in real life.

I recognize many of them: using mantras and breaking down big tasks into smaller parts. I use this anytime I am faced with a long workday that requires a lot of steps like driving to different clinics with full schedules.

So skaters are learning many essential life skills when they compete. They are just called something else.

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-157...oughness-from-competitive-figure-skating.html


Re my later post : I am talking about skaters going through a control-freak coaches, where they have no words to say. Totalitarian. Of course, elite sports give excellent long-life skills to athletes, sucha as dedication, concentration, etc. I am (and few others) about being taught by coaches like Tutberidze. And I know some really tough coaches who had world champions, all the skaters wanted to get into their groups because they would raise champions. They did. But how many were broken down along the roads. And Even some of the champions pnce told me they would never let their child going through what they went, despite their Olympic and Worlds medals.
 

VGThuy

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I do think those who grew up with having a sort of disciplined, regimented hobby (even if that hobby ends up being the center of their lives) that requires children to learn organization, responsibility, and follow-through and have them experience highs and lows thus learning to deal with disappointments, whether it be ballet, sports, music, performing, debate, etc., would definitely have transferable skills to be successful adults. It's when there's a lack of a healthy balance and/or some sort of abuse where I think there are problems for the person later on in life when trying to adjust to life afterwards. When I say abuse, I'm mostly thinking about emotional dependency on the structure that may prevent people from learning to be flexible and adaptable and overwhelming dominating adult figures making every decision for you and determining your self-worth. I do think there's something to be said about teaching people social skills when they are younger. Social skills are also gateways to success both professionally and socially.

I think all people have a time in their life where they HAVE to transition from one identity/activity they used to be known for or used to revolve their lives around to another. It can be really jarring for a lot of people and some times lows happen. Sometimes depression happens. It's not unique really, but I'm sure the rates are higher with people who have been truly dedicated to their craft when they were younger. I think this is where a support system is really important as they will instrumental in helping ease that transition and even preparing for that transition even before one would think about leaving.
 

IceAlisa

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From what I have noted, TAT is more maternal IF you are producing results that she deems acceptable, and can otherwise be insidious. I recall Griazev having issues with her because of his underachieving.

As for the "life skills" argument: I know nothing on my own, although I will relate it to other sports and say that there seem to be more successful transitions to "regular life" from sports like baseball and football than there are hard-luck stories, BUT---there are still those hard luck stories, and these are people who enter the elite level of sport as adults. For sports dominated at the elite level by children (skating, gymnastics), I can imagine that being much different. I think I recall reading somewhere that Trankov's thesis for his degree in psychology was on how elite sports didn't prepare young athletes for regular life, because of all that is decided for them in the course of their careers. Just throwing it out there, as it would be an "insider perspective".
Trankov thesis flies in the face of Hacker's experience and it's just that, a thesis. Did he conduct a study to support/not support it? How's Trankov doing in real life, btw? And for a lot of child's life, the parents make all the decisions until a certain age anyway. I picked my son's preschool, elementary school, food, clothes, ice hockey, piano lessons (where btw he is being told what to do and not asked his opinion.) I took away his video games for not turning an assignment last week. Recently, I took him off dairy at the suggestion of my naturopath colleague to help his eczema. I did ask him just now what he wants for his birthday...:shuffle: But I don't think he has much control over his life at the moment.

I see no evidence that the majority of elite athletes, for instance skaters end up dysfunctional messes after they retire. And for those who do, there is a variety of complex psychological reasons, not the inability to do their own laundry or cook.
 
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Kasey

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Trankov thesis flies in the face of Hacker's experience and it's just that, a thesis. Did he conduct a study to support/not support it? How's Trankov doing in real life, btw? And for a lot of child's life, the parents make all the decisions until a certain age anyway. I picked my son's preschool, elementary school, food, clothes, ice hockey, piano lessons (where btw he is being told what to do and not asked his opinion.) I took away his video games for not turning an assignment last week. Recently, I took him off dairy at the suggestion of my naturopath colleague to help his eczema. I did ask him just now what he wants for his birthday...:shuffle: But I don't think he has much control over his life at the moment.

So Trankov vs. Hacker, one with one point of view and one with another. I have no idea how much research he did for his thesis, I know I did a hell of a lot for mine. I am not siding one way or another, so no need for anyone to get butthurt; as I said, I just threw it out there as it was another point of view from a successful skater. And it does seem that he is doing quite well in real life. Personally, I think that most children grow up unprepared for "real life" and should go through basic training after graduating high school ;)
 

starrynight

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From what I have noted, TAT is more maternal IF you are producing results that she deems acceptable, and can otherwise be insidious. I recall Griazev having issues with her because of his underachieving.

As for the "life skills" argument: I know nothing on my own, although I will relate it to other sports and say that there seem to be more successful transitions to "regular life" from sports like baseball and football than there are hard-luck stories, BUT---there are still those hard luck stories, and these are people who enter the elite level of sport as adults. For sports dominated at the elite level by children (skating, gymnastics), I can imagine that being much different. I think I recall reading somewhere that Trankov's thesis for his degree in psychology was on how elite sports didn't prepare young athletes for regular life, because of all that is decided for them in the course of their careers. Just throwing it out there, as it would be an "insider perspective".

One of the big differences in elite sports is that you have a team of people around you motivating you, making sure you have the best environment to succeed, everyone doing what they can to support you and your goals. It's all about you. Which couldn't be more different from real life.

But aside from that, I personally find the idea of pushing children into sports that they don't want to do to be completely pointless. It's not like school where we all have to civilise ourselves and get qualifications for a job and an income so we can have a good life. Unless you reach the very, very top in sports there's nothing to be gained from it - unless the child finds the process personally fulfilling and enjoyable.
 

IceAlisa

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Who is being pushed into a sport they don't want to do?
 

Dobre

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Out of curiosity--and I am only a fraction of the way through reading this novel--do we have an idea of how many boys train with Eteri? This line about the-boys-won't-do-it-for-an-idea-only-for-someone-else (she implies the parents) makes me wonder whether there are not enough boys there for a natural sense of in-rink competition. A lot of boys will do a lot to one-up one another.

@TAHbKA, you are amazing. I can't imagine how much time you spent translating.
 

altai_rose

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Out of curiosity--and I am only a fraction of the way through reading this novel--do we have an idea of how many boys train with Eteri? This line about the-boys-won't-do-it-for-an-idea-only-for-someone-else (she implies the parents) makes me wonder whether there are not enough boys there for a natural sense of in-rink competition. A lot of boys will do a lot to one-up one another.
From fskate.ru, she has 12: Kvitelashvili (b. 1995, Georgia), Tarasenko (b. 1997), Andryunin (b. 2000), Efremenko (b. 1996), Erokhov (b. 1999), Egorov (b. 2001), Skirda (b. 2002), Gerasimov (b. 2001), Zenko (b. 2000, Belarus), Samsonov (b. 2005), Frolov (b. 2003), Rukhin (b. 2004). It's probably not 100% accurate (for example, Trusova and 2 other girls aren't listed in Tutberidze's group on that website), but overall I don't think the number of boys is the problem.
 
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zebraswan

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Yeah, several of them are not there any more, but she still has more than most coaches. Eteri says that Sergei & Adian were constantly competing against each other to the point where it was distracting them from the external competitions - probably for the attention of the coaches, I'd say. Moris was in that group too. Her younger boys are pretty strong right now, but who knows how many will make it as seniors.
 

kwanfan1818

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So Trankov vs. Hacker,
Each of whom came out of different systems. Trankov came out of three, actually: he entered the Soviet System as a child, trained under the chaotic years as it was underfunded after the breakup of the Soviet Union, and then out of the rebuild up to Sochi.
 

IceAlisa

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There are skaters who lead sheltered lives in any system of elite sports, not sure why that keeps being brought up.

Shoma doesn't even know what size clothes he wears and he comes neither from the Russian nor from the NA systems.
 

kwanfan1818

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Because a lot of us are responding to the actual subject of the thread and a very specific system that Tutberidze describes as the formula for success.

I'm sure that Uno could learn the life task skill of knowing what size he is in the time it would take him to look at the label in his clothing.
 

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