Galit Chait: "My dream is to have a big school"


November 11, 2011
By Reut Golinsky
Photo © Eva Maria Jangbro (EMJO), Lena Halonen, Reut Golinsky

Galit Chait can rightfully be called the most successful Israeli skater so far. With her partner Sergei Sakhnovski she brought World's Bronze (2002) to her country, numerous medals from Grand Prix events and placed 6th at the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City in 2002. A few years ago she moved to coaching while continuing to work with the same energy and dedication as in her competitive career. She dreams to build her own skating school one day, yet, she is not sure she wants her children to be skaters. About her students, plans and dreams from our talk at the Nebelhorn Trophy.

With Boris Chait at Nebelhorn Trophy 2009

First of all congratulations for passing your exam for ISU Technical Specialist. I have the impression that you want to do every possible thing in this world. Why would you need this job too, weren't you busy enough?
(laughs) Actually this was really interesting for me, and indeed I love to try different things in my life. To be a technical specialist is rather different from coaching, where you have technique but also choreography and many other things. And to tell the truth it was rather hard. But it should help me with my work as a coach, too. I actually started to learn this to be more educated in this field.
I've already got an invitation from the ISU for the Grand Prix Final, to be a technical specialist there. It's one of the main competitions of the season, and I'm very honoured to get this chance, this opportunity.

Let's talk about your students, Chris and Cathy Reed. How did you start working together, what do you think about this team?
They came to me because they needed a new coach, needed to work with somebody. We worked together before, so it wasn't something new for us. They came to me towards the end of the last season. Right before the World Championships we also had to change the whole free dance, because they had a deduction for their music and some other problems.
It's a very interesting team, very motivated; it's very interesting to work with them every single day. But there are a lot of things that they have to work on and we're working on now that they never worked on before.

For example?
I've put them on a very strict schedule; they should be used to be training every day, not travelling all over following the coach wherever he goes. They have work-outs three times a week, stretching once a week with the rhythmic gymnastics coach, they also work with acrobats, they have ballroom classes. All those things that you need to do to become a top dancer now, it's not just about skating, it has to be everything.

Is it a bit harder to work with siblings?
No. Also I worked with siblings before (Alexandra and Roman Zaretsky - ed.). With them there is never an issue, when they come on the ice it's just two partners, not brother and sister.

What can you tell me about their programs for this season?
The programs for this season are very different from what they've done before, and they are more difficult for them. So it might take a little bit of time for them to skate them well. The Nebelhorn Trophy was their first competition of the season; from here we are going to build on making everything much stronger. They have two Grand Prix events, the NHK in Japan and Cup of Russia.

I really liked their short dance and the music choice.
Thank you! I have a person who always does music cuts for us. So we went to him, and we looked for the music a lot, because we didn't want to use something that had been used before, we were looking for something different. Eventually we found something that nobody has, and I think the program is rather interesting.

Do you choreograph for them?
I worked together with another lady, Inessa Busevica. I also always try to find somebody who can give you the flavour of the dance. For example, part of their free dance is Indian, so I found an Indian dancer to work with them on it.

I also noticed you with Israeli pairs team Danielle Montalbano/Evgeni Krasnopolski.
Yes, I did their programs. And Kyoko Ina is their coach. They've worked with her before and she is very knowledgeable, obviously, she was a great skater, so she took them on. We all work at the same rink, in Hackensack.

Danielle was injured during Europeans in Bern, I even heard she wouldn't be able to compete, but then they came to Worlds.
Yes, she dislocated her shoulder. Now everything is OK, she just has to wear a brace around her shoulder, when it hurts.

Who are the other teams you're working with?
I have Ukrainian Ice Dance team Siobhan Heekin-Canedy and Dmitri Dun. Last year I worked with Siobhan and her previous partner, Alexander Shakalov. But we knew already that he was going to quit and that Worlds in Moscow would be his last competition. So now she teamed up with Dima, who previously skated with Alisa Agafonova. You probably saw her here, at Nebelhorn (competing with Alper Ucar for Turkey - ed.)
Together with Inessa Busevica we also coach young Israeli Ice Dance team Yekaterina Bugrov and Vasili Rogov. They are now in Romania, at the Junior Grand Prix event in Brasov, with Inessa (Yekaterina and Vasili finished 9th - ed.). They won't be at Europeans yet, she is only fifteen and he will be twenty, but they have only been skating together for one season, so it will take them a little bit of time. Other than the Grand Prix, we're going to do some smaller ISU competitions before Junior Worlds.
From Israeli skaters I'm also working with a novice team, they are thirteen and I just recently put them together.

You must be very busy. How do you find time for everything including your family which will also grow soon?
Well, for Ice Dance I work with Inessa. And, like I mentioned, we also have ballroom dancers, off ice coaches. And then you just manage...

How many hours do you spend at the rink?
(smiles) Oh, all my day. But it's exciting, to build something. I started from zero, I didn't have anybody, just one team, and my dream is to have a big school, a big program. Of course I know that it takes time. Coaches that have something like this, they've been coaching for twenty years already. But we are working on it.

I just hope you find time for your family, for your little daughter. Will she skate by the way? How old is she?
Raffaella is twenty months old. And, no, she won't skate! (laughs) Ballroom dance, maybe rhythmic gymnastics, tennis, no skating. I mean if she wants to, of course, I won't stop her, but I would rather not.

A few days ago another little princess, Gabriella, was welcomed into Galit and Francesco's family. We congratulate the happy parents and wish them "mazal tov".


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