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.

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