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Thread: Tarasova on working with Asada

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    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
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    Tarasova on working with Asada

    http://ptichkafs.livejournal.com/51239.html
    This is an exerpt from an interview Tarasova gave Vaitsekhovskaya before her mother's death on working with Asada again.

    TT: Also, Mao Asada came to me.

    I know. I was greatly surprised to see you work with her again. It seemed that after the Vancouver Games, you did not intend to continue working with her.

    That was my intention, that’s true. Then, though, I got two letters from Kyoko, Mao’s mom. And… In short, having read the letters, I realized it is completely wrong to put your own ambitions above professional growth of a uniquely talented person who needs your help. I said they could come.

    The problem is that I only had three days to put together and choreograph two exhibitions programs and a short. I took my time preparing for those three days. I was very nervous. Lena Vodorezova even said she’s never seen my like that. I took my former student Ira Nikolaeva as an assistant. With her, I talked through every single step Mao had to take on the ice. After I was done with the programs, Lena Kustarova spent two full days going over them as well. I really wanted to work with her because I could see that over the last few years Lena has grown into a real master. After all this, we all knew in detail what exactly we would do when Asada finally did come to Moscow. On the first day, we put together the whole short program, from the first to the last move, with consideration for all new rules and regulations. Moreover, we had three versions for each element so we could easily choose the ones that fit best. I was very happy with the work we managed to do in those three days.

    Do you regret parting ways with this athlete in spring?

    I never have any regrets. The problem is not with Asada. The problem is that I cannot dedicate my life to her fully. My mom and my husband are very sick. I cannot afford to come to the ice ten times a week, and another ten times to off-ice training. Without this commitment, it won’t work. I only come to the rink when I’m asked to. I know I can give someone the necessary push, point out their mistakes, or perhaps choreograph a program or a footwork sequence. I don’t just do it for the athletes; I do it for myself as I want to keep a hold on my coaching profession.

    Asada and her mom were very happy with the work we did in Moscow. However, as they were leaving for Japan, I insisted they look for a Japanese coach.

    Why?

    I think Japanese skaters should work on the basics with Japanese coaches. Languages barrier prevents a coach from imparting certain nuances on the athlete. Training often demands a special eye-to-eye contact. Japanese culture is very different from ours, as are their views on many things. There are things you’ll never be able to explain unless you grew up in that culture as well. No interpreter will do the trick. Perhaps I’m talking like a coach of a previous generation, but that’s my opinion.

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    Tanguera feraina's Avatar
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    Very interesting interview! Thanks for translating.

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    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Thanks for translating and posting Tat's interview Ptichka. It's always interesting to hear her thoughts about working with skaters.
    Sorry to hear she has had such a tough year and best wishes to her.

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    she takes the audience on her journey of emotions Layfan's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for this. Tarasova sounds like quite a lady. My heart goes out to her for her mom and her husband - hope he is doing okay! What she said about coaching Mao was very straight forward and it sounds like she acted with the skater's best interests at heart.

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    Thanks for the interview, and for translating it.

    Two things I found interesting, or actually three:

    1.) I've always known Mao's mom is a huge fan of TAT, which has been the main reason why they've worked together, but it was nice to see it confirmed by Tatiana via the letter from Kyoko. (:^)

    2.) I feel the same way as Tatiana, for the most part, about how coaches & skaters from the same country/culture should work together, not only for language's sake (language is key!), but also for the little nuances that only another person from the same country & culture could understand. But that said, I am grateful when they do share their gifts, because the result can be outstanding!

    3.) the eye-to-eye contact that Tatiana mentioned being crucial immediately brought to mind Japan's views on such, which is looked down upon -- http://www.all-about-teaching-englis...etiquette.html


    I wish both Tatiana & Mao well, and the rest of their team, including Mr. Sato.

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    Thank you for sharing and translating the interview, Ptichka. Her professionalism is evident in this interview and I absolutely love what she's done with the short and exhibition programs this season.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptichka View Post
    I think Japanese skaters should work on the basics with Japanese coaches. Languages barrier prevents a coach from imparting certain nuances on the athlete. Training often demands a special eye-to-eye contact. Japanese culture is very different from ours, as are their views on many things. There are things you’ll never be able to explain unless you grew up in that culture as well. No interpreter will do the trick. Perhaps I’m talking like a coach of a previous generation, but that’s my opinion.
    The languages barrier sounds like a strange explanation or an excuse. Many skaters work with coaches from foreign backgrounds and sometimes a coach and a skater speak to each other in a language that is foreign to both of them. Including Japanese skaters.

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    Custom Title hurrah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by let`s talk View Post
    The languages barrier sounds like a strange explanation or an excuse. Many skaters work with coaches from foreign backgrounds and sometimes a coach and a skater speak to each other in a language that is foreign to both of them. Including Japanese skaters.
    You clearly have no international or multicultural experience if you think language barrier is a strange explanation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by let`s talk View Post
    The languages barrier sounds like a strange explanation or an excuse. Many skaters work with coaches from foreign backgrounds and sometimes a coach and a skater speak to each other in a language that is foreign to both of them. Including Japanese skaters.
    It's more a cultural barrier than a pure language barrier. Not to say that it's impossible to overcome, but it is difficult, especily since Tat cannot coach Mao full-time and Mao wishes to remain in Japan. It would be best for her to have a Japanese coach.

    Ptichka, thanks for the translation! Tat is a professional lady indeed, and I wish her all the best!

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    Thanks so much, Ptichka! What an interesting interview. It casts a new light on last season as well as on Tat herself and Asada. Although I didn't like the orchestration of Asada's program, I appreciate the fact that Tarasova is a wonderful influence on any student, from any country, and I'm glad Asada had the opportunity to work with her, even if Tat couldn't devote her full-time energies to the process.

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    I see no excuses here. Good interview.

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    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nadine View Post
    3.) the eye-to-eye contact that Tatiana mentioned being crucial immediately brought to mind Japan's views on such, which is looked down upon -- http://www.all-about-teaching-englis...etiquette.html
    Very interesting! And, of course, Tarasova is one of the most emotional and tactile coaches out there, displaying over-the-top emotions and hugging her students half to death.

    However, there is another side to this I guess - figure skating is essentially judged by Western standards. Perhaps a Western teacher is needed to teach an Asian skater to perform in a way deemed "artistic" and "emotional" by international judges?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptichka View Post
    Very interesting! And, of course, Tarasova is one of the most emotional and tactile coaches out there, displaying over-the-top emotions and hugging her students half to death.

    However, there is another side to this I guess - figure skating is essentially judged by Western standards. Perhaps a Western teacher is needed to teach an Asian skater to perform in a way deemed "artistic" and "emotional" by international judges?
    Good point about the judging standards...but if any Asian skater is an exception in that regard, it's Asada. She is both artistic and great at expressing emotions, it seems to me, though of course being coached by Tarasova would improve her capacity in both those areas. Look how much Arakawa and Yagudin benefited from her coaching!

    By the way, if I may ask for clarification--are you using "Western" to mean anyone non-Asian (meaning including Tarasova) or in the sense it has often been used to differentiate Western Europe and North America from Russia (meaning that Tarasova wouldn't count as Western in this sense)? I guess this is another example of how different cultures interpret the same words and concepts!

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    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
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    I guess I meant "Western" as European-influenced. I didn't want to use "non-Asian" because there is also Africa and Latin America, while Asian countries of the Middle East can be considered part of "Western" culture as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hurrah View Post
    You clearly have no international or multicultural experience if you think language barrier is a strange explanation.
    Internet is fun to see how easily people make themselves look ridiculous. Being under 30yo I have been to 27 countries, speak 4 languages, have been residing and working in a foreign country for 6 years and I am married to the person who doesn't belong to my race or nationality and who doesn't speak my native language. I have intenational and multicultural experiences days and nights but no doubt you know better than me what you are saying about me. Probably exactly the "lack" of that experience makes me think that the language barrier is a strange explanaion, especially for professionals. How about Japanese skaters Dai, Oda, Miki who work(ed) with Russian coaches and they speak to each other in English- a foreign language for both J-skaters and R-coaches. Or French dancers who speak English with their coarch Zhulin since Zhulin doesn't speak French and the dancers don't speak Russian well enough. Or Weir and I can continue. Yes, I do find "language barrier" as an unsatisfactory excuse in the modern FS world, especially for professionals as I said already.
    Quote Originally Posted by mishieru07 View Post
    It's more a cultural barrier than a pure language barrier.
    And why did other skaters/coaches' of international backgrounds business relationships became possible and succesfull? My guess is both TAT and Mao had the personalities barrier and they both were not broad-minded enough to overcome it.
    Tat cannot coach Mao full-time and Mao wishes to remain in Japan.
    That's true. And it sounds like a reasonable excuse for TAT but not so reasonable for Mao. Her "I want to live in Japan only" is a stone age stuff for the modern FS world.

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