Tarasova and control
So, when it comes to the student/coach relationship, is Tarasova 100% in control? Sasha mentions that Tarasova chose Swan Lake even though Sasha wasn't into it at first. On the Campbell's review thread, Tonichelle indicated that Tarasova's team takes care of costumes. It's apparent that Tarasova wears the pants in the Sasha/Tatiana relationship (or in this case the fur). I assume that she has had control of her other pupils as well. Interesting in the case of both Sasha and Yags as they seem like independent thinkers. I'm surprised that they have been accepting of her style. Or, maybe that is just what they needed. Anyone know anything about Tarasova?
Seems to me I read last year that Sasha had designed some of her costumes, notably the purple one with the plunging neckline front and back. She also changed costumes so often that you rarely saw her in the same dress from one competition to the next.
Has TT put a stop to that?
Last year someone posted translations of segments of Tarasova's book as well as interviews with her. I did not get the impression that Tarasova was a "control coach" but rather a firm coach and a coach who most wanted her students to express themselves from the heart on the ice. In order to do the latter, you need to give the student some room to make their own choices and mistakes. I watched TT a little bit wihile Sasha was skating at Campbell's and right when she had finished. Tarasova is nothing if not passionate about her skaters. The woman next to me was moved to tears by Tarasova's reactions to Sasha's skating, as if TT was spiritually out there with her. Not that other coaches don't feel tha t way too; they just aren't as expressive.
When Sasha was with Nicks, a lot of people said Sasha was running the show and not listening to Nicks and that what she needed was someobyd to take charge. It seems that Tarasova did take charge in a way Sasha needed, not by negative control, from my impression, but rather by trying instill in Sasha, "This is your life's work. This is a priveege that few in the world can do. Get serious and respect both the sport and your athletic gifts. I will work with you every stip of the way."
I think the difference is a coach that works WITH a skater vs. a coach that just tells the skater what to do. True, Sasha did not want to do "Swan Lake" but it was because she felt it was overused and didn't think she could get into the music. Tarasova told her she had chosen unusual cuts of the music, which she did, and Sasha said that once she heard the music and Tarasova's vision for the LP, she fell in love with it. IMO, part of a coach's job is to take their years of experience and wisdom and use it to bring the best out of a skater.
Sasha, Yags, and Kulik are all strong-willed people. I can't see any of them staying with a controlling coach. I think it's probably semantics. That is, the difference between strong supportive guidenace and control. IMO, Tarasova seems like the former. For example, after Sasha's problems last season, Sasha wanted to go back to doing more off-ice training as she had done with Nicks. Tarasova got her a great off-ice trainer. Apparently Sasha felt she would benefit from doing more full runthroughs. Tarasova altered the training so that Sasha now does at least four full runghroughs a week. As for costumes, this is only the first competition of the year and who's to know if Sasha didn't have input into the design? Other dresses may show up later in the season. Sasha is also taking a nutrition course via correspondence through Kent State, so she is keeping up her own interests.
Finally, although there's no telling what the future holds, whatever Tarasova is doing with Sasha certainly showed positive results at Campbells. One "professional" reviewer focused only on a couple of insecure landings and a one hand Beillmann spiral done on, HORRORS!--the flat, while ignoring the beautiful edges on the sequence of arabesque spiral, fan spiral, and the catch-foot turning slide spiral, as well as throughout the program, not to mention the program as a whole. Of course that's that's this reviewer's preogative. This same "professional" reviewer also completely dissed every ladies program at Campbells except one where only two jumps were completed and which had a numer of other problems as well. This reviewer said that program showed "a lot of promise." If Michelle, Sasha, Jenny, or any of the other top ladies had done such a program, this reviewer would have ripped them apart. But I guess for certain reviewers, depending on who you are, it matters more what the reviewer thinks you can do than what you actually do on the ice.
But I digress, the point is Sasha has chipped away at her problem areas and improved. Whether she can hang on to these improvements as the season progresses through Nats and Worlds is something we'll just have to wait and see about. But from what I've seen and read, I don't see Tarasova as controlling. Firm, opinionated, demanding discipline, yes; but also dedicated to her skaters, genuinely fond of them, and someone who seems to be interested more in what's best for the skater than her own ego. Egos in top FS coaches tend to be big--just as they are in top skaters--but I don't see ego as a necessarily negative thing. Ego, drive, and ambition can make for great ahievements in any area, if it doesn't get out of control and spill into megalomania. With Tarasova and all the top skaters, male or female, I think ego is a positive thing. And I think Tarasova is a very positive coach for the right skaters.
I agree rgirl...
Also, Sasha has done excelet when you consider where she is coming from.
Kept on Working
First time on the world scene....4th place, not bad at all...
Best season to date.
Tarasova is a master at recognizing, encouraging, stretching, and packaging skaters' artistry. It seems to me that Cohen and Yagudin found a teacher whose expertise and taste they respect enough to put themselves in her hands, because she can help them develop most in the area in which they are most interested. It is quite a tribute to Tarasova that such great talents have such trust in her, Kulik included.