The Woman Of The Week
"Synchronized skating has taught me that a team has amazing power."
Credits : Kaisa Arrateig
New year, new section! In our new "The Woman Of The Week" feature, we will explore the life and passion of a different figure in synchronized skating each week. Today, we kick off this series with a very special guest, Kaisa Arrateig, Coach of the Helsinki Rockettes in Finland.
Kaisa entered the world of synchro 27 years ago. A resident of Helsinki, she enjoys cooking, walking, reading and spending time with friends and family. She also splits her time with another sport…football. As the mother of 2 children, (Emil 8 years old and Eliot 6 years old) Kaisa also has to put on her football fan jersey. Between her family life and coaching of one of the best teams the world, we are grateful that she has found time in her schedule to sit down with us and answer a few questions.
You & Synchro
Jura Synchro: How did you discover synchro?
Kaisa Arrateig : I have skated singles since I was 3 years old. In 1991, synchro started to grow in Turku, my home town, and my friends and I decided to start a team together. For about six months I did both, but quickly decided to quit singles and focus solely on synchro.
What is your background in the world of synchro?
I skated in Filiae Aboensen and Festa Aboensia (32 skaters on the team :)) in Turku for few years. Then I did a university exchange program in Gothenburg and was given an incredible chance to skate with Team Surprise for a year.
What is your best "synchro" memory and why?
2001 Rockettes winning silver in Helsinki. It was the first medal and tasted like gold. Of course, the first gold medal in 2008 was fantastic. Also, one of our biggest moments was winning the 2010 Worlds on home soil. That atmosphere there…Wow!!!
If you had to pick one of your programs that affected you the most, which would it be and why?
I have many, but one of the most emotional programs was “Evita” in 2004. Programs that focus on portraying a lot of emotions are my favorites, like “Ave Maria”, “Why” and “Heaven or Hell”.
What did this sport teach you?
Synchronized skating has taught me that a team has amazing power. Take nothing for granted, and accept luck when it finds you.
What advice would you give to young people who want to start synchro?
a) Enjoy it! Skating is fun.
b) To be great synchro skater you must be a “multi-skilled”. Great athletes make great synchro skaters.
c) Never stop working on your basic skills.
Do you have any rituals before a competition?
I always give a hug to each of my skaters.
When your team takes the ice at a competition, and you hear their name being announced, what is going through your mind?
“Please… just go skate!!! Trust, enjoy, you can do it!”
Can you tell us a bit about this team?
The Rockettes are a team with really skilled skaters. The athletes have great personalities, and they are really dear to me. The Rockettes have an incredible work ethic on the ice, and they have an amazing ability to perform under pressure.
May you describe your programs this season?
Short program: Symphony of Passion
This is a program about strong emotions! Edith Piaf wrote this song for Marcel Cerdan, who was the love of her (really tough) life. We are using this powerful song performed by Patricia Kaas. "Hymne à l’amour" is recomposed for us as a new version, and it brings a modern twist to an old classic.
Free program: Radio Waves
Radio Waves is a program with good vibes. Just like looking for the perfect music when surfing the radio channels. In our interpretation, the Rockettes take you through many different emotions. There is serious news, a lesson for rhythm, beautiful classical music, and remix of Janet Jackson. There is a lot of great music on the Rockettes Radio in 2019!
Are you presenting some new innovative element(s) in your performances this year?
The whole concept is innovative, but in terms of elements, we are presenting 2 level lines in the creative lift. We are also performing two different lifts where the lifters are not holding.
What’s your goal for this season?
To skate our best at the Worlds in Helsinki and win a medal.
What are the Rockettes strengths this year, and what would you say is your weakness?
Our skaters are really skilful in many ways and we have two strong programs.
At the same time, we are still a young team and we are always learning.
How can we recognize one of the Rockettes’ programs? Do you have a special style?
Our style is style! The Rockettes make difficult things look easy. The team is telling a story with their whole bodies and souls. You can recognize the Rockettes by our beautiful skating and the innovation in our programs.
Finland and Synchro
In your country, how is the development of sport going? What is made to promote this discipline of skating?
In Finland we love synchro. We have many clubs and coaches doing great work with all age groups and levels of teams. I would say the best promoters are our high level teams, which are well known in Finland.
In your opinion, how can this sport evolve in Finland?
We are getting new good teams every year.
What do you think about the organisation of the Worlds next April in Helsinki?
It will be a great event, I’m sure! Unfortunately, the KHL (Kontinental Hockey League) might be playing hockey at the bigger rink, and the old rink was sold out in an hour, so not everyone was able to get tickets. I’m sure it will be very a well-organized event, and I am working really hard to be there competing with the Rockettes.
Thank you to Kaisa Arrateig for sitting down with us, and we wish her and the Rockettes a very successful season! Next week, Jura Synchro will take you to Great Britain for our next segment of "Woman of the Week"!
Article by Remo De Tomi
Photography by Kirsi Laine
Editing by Catherine Ruta