Ice skater insists on dressing for comfort
Olga Sharutenko’s ice skates may have lost their shine and be covered in duct tape, but the international skating star will not part with them for anything.
Sharutenko is one of the lead dancers in the Imperial Ice Stars and plays two roles in its new production, Nutcracker on Ice.
Skaters normally buy new skates every one or two years. Sharutenko’s are six years old.
‘‘They were made for me by an incredible maker in the US,’’ she said.
‘‘They are very durable and although they are slightly ruined inside and are bashed on the outside, they are unbelievably comfortable.
‘‘ When they start to get that comfortable we call them slippers.
‘‘It doesn’t matter what you have to do to on ice, you feel incredibly comfortable and confident in them.’’
Ice skates traditionally have a wooden sole, a hard leather boot and a metal skate.
The boot provides support for the skater’s ankles and helps control the moves and bear their weight during lifts.
The hard leather makes new skates painful to wear.
‘‘They are heavy and hard and you have to do certain work on them,’’ Sharutenko said.
‘‘You have to do the steps, you have to do the movements and start to jump and spin and do the lifts.’’
Sharutenko began taking figure skating and ballet lessons as a youngster and, when she was seven, decided to focus on skating.
She joined the Russian national team in 1995 and became junior world champion in the same year.
She has won more than 30 international medals with skating partner Dmitri Naumkin.
In 1998, the pair prepared for the winter Olympics, but Russia did not choose them.
That prompted Sharutenko to leave the sport, and she became one of the original members of the Imperial Ice Stars.
Sharutenko said competitive figure skating and theatrical ice dancing could hardly be compared.
‘‘ It is a huge difference. Right from the beginning it’s created in a different way.
‘‘ Obviously in sport you have to follow all the rules and the frames. There is no way you can step left or right without checking if it is within the rules.
‘‘In the theatre, it probably is quicker because it is more condensed. We spend about eight hours a day, six days a week on the ice when we are creating the show.
‘‘You start to create with some idea of the vision and the music. We try to interpret the music by telling the story, because the music is the main key [to] how the emotions get into your characters.’’
Sharutenko said the show was not created as a ballet on ice.
‘‘[ Creative director Tony Mercer] always takes the music and tells you, ‘When the composer was creating the music, he had his own vision, his own story’.
‘‘He starts to create a story which he thinks will go best with the music and the figure skating.’’
Nutcracker on Ice, St James Theatre, July 11 to 15. Tickets from Ticketek.
Ice slippers: Olga Sharutenko with her six-year-old ice skates.