The most difficult in synchro? The balance between the technical part and the quality!
Andrea Gilardi at the last national championships in Italy. / Credits: Hot Shivers
Discover now the interview of Andrea Gilardi, head coach of the Hot Shivers teams. This Italian synchro expert looks back at the last national championships where his teams took the gold medals.
A few days before Christmas, Italian national championships took place in the Agorà Ice rink in Milan. Junior and Senior athletes of all specialties of figure skating competed to get the title of national champion. For the synchronized skating segment, there were five teams in the Junior category and two teams in the senior division and all of them demonstrated improvement from the last competition two weeks ago.
First, the energy spread from Christina Aguilera in Ladybirds Junior's short program. They showed a lot of work done in the choreography and presentation, while Ice Diamonds Junior showed heavy emotions. In their "Welcome to the black parade", the message of the song was very well passed. Rhythm is the keyword to Flying Angels medley of "Cuba" latin passion and Rome accent, a bomb! "Girl on fire" was the music of Shining Blades Junior short program.
For the Junior free segment, the teams choose to change rhythms:
Ladybirds mixing graceful music and a more energetic one ("Wonderwall" by Gregorian and " Flight of the silver birds" by two steps from Hell) showing a nice capacity of morphing during the program.
Flying Angels skated a delicate medley of Peter Pan OST, suddenly there were sixteen Tinker Bells on ice... Opposite were the Shining Blades being adventurous "Pirates of the Caribbean"; Hot Shivers presented a "Burlesque" side of their team while Ice Diamonds' "Raising the Augusta", from the motion picture "Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children" expressed the particularity of the movie.
Flying Angels Senior also showed two sides of their team: one funny and light with La La Land short and a mighty fierce one in Assassin's Creed free program...
It was really nice to see performances and emotions so different well portrayed by the same teams.
In both categories and segments, Hot Shivers teams dominated the competition showing very well choreographed programs and a strong will to get the gold, particularly intense were the short programs on the notes of "Con te partirò" (Junior) and "East of Eden" (Senior).
Interview with Andrea Gilardi, head coach of the Hot Shivers teams
What are for you the most important things to care about while working toward an important competition like Nationals?
Andrea Gilardi: The most important and difficult thing is managing between technical merit and quality of the performance with respect to the time given to be ready for competing. Even if you have a team which has strong skating skills, it's futile to create a program which is too complicated to be skated clean in a short amount of time. In cases like these, it's better not to add too many difficulties and present a good performance, getting back to train higher difficulties after every competition to let the program evolve during the season and thus get better results.
You train also single skaters, is that different in coaching?
In synchronized skating, I’m entirely responsible for the teams so I can manage training. This allows me to focus on specific areas which are lacking something. It can be the technical part or the interpretation. For singles, I'm only one of the coaches so depending on how much time is given to me, I need to create a long-term program to get the skater to express his or her best abilities also it depends on which kind of athlete I have.
The right choice of music is fundamental to let the skater(s) express their best. What inspires you in this quest?
For sure, the music culture I developed over the years and also my experience as a choreographer and coach help me a lot. Here again, there is a difference between choosing a music for single skaters or teams. In the first case, the music must be cut out on the athlete, it needs to be a tune that expresses the best traits of the person's skating. For teams, of course, it's necessary to have in mind their style but at the same time, there's a need to exit from the comfort zone and change rhythms to avoid to be marked as the team that only know how to do one kind of program. This season, my skaters will have to confront themselves with different kinds of music: Junior with a medley of "Burlesque" soundtrack and Senior with a medley of "La La Land" songs.