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Thread: Ilinykh and Katsalapov: The goal is Sotchi

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    Keepin' it real gsk8's Avatar
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    News Ilinykh and Katsalapov: The goal is Sotchi

    Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov caused a stir when they won the title in their debut on the international junior scene. More

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    Moving up the testing structure Kypma's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great article! Due to school I wasn't able to follow junior internationals much this year, but these two seem to be a couple to look out for next year.

    I am however confused on one point -- the article states that
    They are motivated because they plan to compete at the senior level in the upcoming season.

    "We have to learn this most difficult dance, the Golden Waltz," sighed Katsalapov. "We've been working on it for a month now, and we have still so much work ahead of us."
    I thought compulsories wouldn't be part of senior competition next year, no? If that were the case, why spend so much time perfecting the Golden Waltz, especially since it was just competed this season?

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    Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program Tinymavy15's Avatar
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    They are fantastic. They have amazing leg line, speed and connection. It seems like they are right on track for a Gold in Sochi, just think where Virtue and Moir were in 2006 (won junior worlds, moved up the seniors that following season).

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    Medalist Ituriel's Avatar
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    Golden Waltz will be a part of the new "short dance" for the next season.


    They are a wonderfull couple. They have technical skills, mature expression, and beauty, the perfect combination for ice dance

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinymavy15 View Post
    They are fantastic. They have amazing leg line, speed and connection. It seems like they are right on track for a Gold in Sochi, just think where Virtue and Moir were in 2006 (won junior worlds, moved up the seniors that following season).
    It's really interesting to see how quickly people accept this as the new paradigm. I'm tempted to do so as well, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ituriel View Post
    Golden Waltz will be a part of the new "short dance" for the next season.
    This is speculative at this point.

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    I have never heard of this pair before, so by checking youtube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vjobRSN3Sk

    Oh my, they are really amazing!!!

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    General assessment

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaana View Post
    I have never heard of this pair before, so by checking youtube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vjobRSN3Sk

    Oh my, they are really amazing!!!
    Normally, I refrain from commenting on junior skaters until they actually hit the senior circle but given the amount of hype surrounding this particular pair, I will make an exception and offer my $0.02.

    Based on this performance at the recent Junior Worlds, it is clear that this team is by far the most promising team in the junior ranks at the moment. Historically, winning the Junior Worlds or the lack of it, isn't a good predictor of success at the senior level. Davis/White never won it for example while plenty other World Junior champions fade into obscurity as they move into the senior rank.

    I see in this young couple, who is 16/18 respectively a wonderful smoothness about their skating. They have very strong skating skills, which is the first thing that caught my eyes - I'd say at a level that is perhaps higher than what you would expect of a Top 10 team at the senior World today. The quality of their edges and the effortless movement across the ice, in comparison to the Top 10 Senior teams today, is perhaps the strongest predictor that this team could be Top 10 material should they attend next year's senior Worlds, far more relevant than any junior titles they may have won because skating skills is basic foundation of ice dance, everything else builds on top of it.

    In terms of the specifics and other important qualities, I see a team that still has a lot of work to do, certainly not ready to challenge for a World podium anytime soon. Technically, there is a lot of space between the partners. Most of their dance holds are open holds, perhaps a little excessive use of hand to hand holds and their closed holds weren't as tight as they could have been. This is one of the reason why they could achieve greater than average speed but it comes at the expense of the overall intricacy of their composition. That said, the technical issue identified here should not be too difficult to correct.

    The more significant issue that I see and this will likely be more difficult to address / breakthrough is the interaction and chemistry between partners. When I look at them, I see two skilled single skaters skating together, however, they haven't yet convinced me they know how to move together as a dance couple in their expression, use of subtle upper body movements and other attention to details and cues that would convey their chosen music. Their music in this case is the Schindler's List, a very well known story for people with Jewish heritage. Except the obvious gimmicks such as the gunshot sound at the end however, forgive me to be blunt, they have completely missed the subtlety and the complexity of emotions that this particular selection demands. In Ice Dance, the woman is typically the focus and the man is supposed to present the lady in a way that enhances her presence. He is at a level where there is still barely any expression on his face, let alone a fully engaging upper body. The mismatch between the man and the woman is a common problem in Ice Dance due to the disparity of skills between the female and male partners. In almost all cases, the female partner is stronger both technically and presentation wise. However, that disparity can't be too obvious otherwise, it will become a distraction. It is not sufficient that the man is strong technically only, that's only half of the job. Given the greater disparity of quality among male ice dancers, a strong male partner will really stand out. Case in point, Olivier Schonfelder has always been a technically strong ice dancer but his lack of upper body expression has seriously held their team back for over a decade. Likewise, Maurizio Margaglio who had wonderful expression that complements his partner was widely considered an awful partner technically, just ask Barbara Fusar-Poli how many times he had to splash across the ice and pulled her down with him. I think Katsalapov will have to find a way to bring out that chemistry with his partner so that he won't become Olivier Schonfelder #2. Going against Fedor Andreev who is like the white knight to the crown princess of Russian Ice Dance, Jana Khokolova, that difference will be especially glaring. Khokolova was right about one thing, Andreev may be weak due to his lack of competitive ice dance experience but he does have this charm that is very difficult to teach. In Ice Dance, it is often the charm that wins over the technician.

    Russia only has two spots for Worlds next year in Ice Dance. There are at least 3 couples who will be fighting for these two spots. One is the team who finished the highest at Worlds this year for Russia and they are young too. Another one is a former World medalist and European Champion who has the advantage of pecking order (usually, very important in Russian Ice Dance) and an unpredictable / unorthodox new partner with very unique circumstances. Either of these two teams could have a strong claim on those two spots for the Russian World team. Where does that leave I/K? Can they gain enough exposure for Sochi if they miss the World team in 2011? I don't think anyone can conclusively predict who will make that 2011 Russian world team in Ice Dance, therefore, it seems to me, it's a little too speculative at this point to make any kind of prediction for this young team, who is the youngest of all 3 possible contenders in Russia and that generally means a slotted 3rd spot nationally.

    All things considered, I don't think a rosy prediction for this young team would be prudent at this time.

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    The more significant issue that I see and this will likely be more difficult to address / breakthrough is the interaction and chemistry between partners. When I look at them, I see two skilled single skaters skating together, however, they haven't yet convinced me they know how to move together as a dance couple in their expression, use of subtle upper body movements and other attention to details and cues that would convey their chosen music.
    I have an opposite opinion on this point. It will be the easiest thing for them because usually it comes with years passing by. Don't forget they're still teenagers (BTW Elena was 15 during those competitions), what chemistry are you expecting from them now?

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    Quote Originally Posted by wallylutz View Post
    Where does that leave I/K? Can they gain enough exposure for Sochi if they miss the World team in 2011? I don't think anyone can conclusively predict who will make that 2011 Russian world team in Ice Dance, therefore, it seems to me, it's a little too speculative at this point to make any kind of prediction for this young team, who is the youngest of all 3 possible contenders in Russia and that generally means a slotted 3rd spot nationally.
    This young team got higher scores at Junior Worlds than Bobrova/Soloviev at Worlds, their scores for the OD were higher than Knokhlova/Novitski's. I think it means a lot. They have all the chances not only make the top 2 at Nationals, but even win, beat B/S and K/A and become #1 Russian team. It will all depend on their consistancy and new programs

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    Of course, I/K didn't win their own Russian Junior Nationals. Hell, you could point out that B/A outpointed D/W in 2009, but the reverse happened in 2010.

    I think what startles me is not so much that people think they have potential,, but the apparent unanimity in that THEY will be the ones to beat in Sochi. Most people recognize that making predictions this early is a mug's game but it seems like so many already believe this narrative to be true based on what happened last time: Two talented junior teams make the leap to seniors, have a meteoric rise and one wins gold at the next Olympics. And that ignores all the things that allowed V/M and D/W to rise as they did beyond the sheer scope of their talents.

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    Keepin' it real gsk8's Avatar
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    I thought compulsories wouldn't be part of senior competition next year, no? If that were the case, why spend so much time perfecting the Golden Waltz, especially since it was just competed this season?
    The decision about the CD will be made at the ISU congress in mid June. However, right now it looks like that the "short dance" will replace the OD, and the CD won't be a separate part of the competition anymore. But the Golden Waltz is part of the new short dance for the 2010-11 season, so the skaters still need to know how to perform it.

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    Is Ilinykh-Katsalapov FD 2010-2011- Don Quixote?

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Keisha posted this link to their a discussion of their new program with their coach Zhulin:

    Zhulin, Ilinykh, Katsalapov in training:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85TZMShjLBE
    Is Ilinykh-Katsalapov FD- Don Quixote?
    The musical section is a piece of this year's Schindler's List FD.
    Last edited by dorispulaski; 05-31-2010 at 02:34 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fashionista View Post
    I have an opposite opinion on this point. It will be the easiest thing for them because usually it comes with years passing by. Don't forget they're still teenagers (BTW Elena was 15 during those competitions), what chemistry are you expecting from them now?
    I expect a great deal because many suggested that they could be Gold Medal contenders in 2014 Olympics. Since you want to set such a difficult goal, please forgive me for being demanding. I am not terribly concerned about her given her young age and notice, in my comments, I largely gave her a free pass and focused mostly on him. He is going to be 19 this year and only 1 year younger than Scott Moir when he and his partner, Tessa Virtue won Free Dance at the 2008 Worlds. Watch Scott Moir in this clip:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBVli...ext=1&index=15

    Ignoring any technical issues, the upper body expression of Scott Moir at 20 is at a level far above Nikita Katsalapov at 18 going 19.

    As for your assumption that expression and chemistry necessarily improves over time, that's false. Everything requires hard work, whether it's technical or presentation. Experience helps with both over time but it is not a guarantee the change will be sufficient. The fact is, presentation is not easy, especially for male ice dancers - when they have to do it at the same time with all those technical difficulties they are being asked to do.

    Here is a clip from Virtue/Moir when they were 14/16 or about two years younger than I/K : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W02hROo1cXI

    Even at such young age, V/M came across as skating as a couple on ice. I/K does not even at 15/18. That to me seriously undercuts any comparison between the two.
    Last edited by wallylutz; 05-31-2010 at 01:27 PM.

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