In The Loop had the opportunity to talk to USA’s Andrew Torgashev, the 2015 Junior National Champion, 2018 Junior Grand Prix finalist, and 2019 Philadephia Summer International champion. He talked with us about his programs, role models, art, and more.
Andrew currently trains in Colorado Springs with Christy Krall, Ilona Melnichenko, Erik Shultz, and Joshua Farris.
You’ve already competed at the Philadelphia Summer International Competition, and received the gold medal. How was the competition as a first outing for your new programs this season?
Andrew: It was a good outing and it was exactly what I was expecting. The goal was to compete for the first time and show where I’m at in the season. I accomplished my goals for this competition and I will use the momentum from Philadelphia into my next competitions.
Can you tell us a bit about your new programs, “Bloodstream” by Tokio Myers and selections from Tosca? Is there a story behind choosing this music for your programs, and what is the creative process behind choosing and building a program to you?
Andrew: So I found Tokio Myers by just watching America’s Got Talent and watching him perform made me want to explore more of his music. I found Bloodstream and it was an exact match to what I wanted my short for this season to be. The story behind this program is pushing against what I’m “suppose” to do and doing what I want to do. I feel like lots of times in figure skating we are centered around judgment and critiques, but this year I wanted to show that I don’t care about the “norm”. I wanted to do something different and memorable. As for Tosca, I’ve loved the opera and have wanted to skate to it for a very long time, but I have been waiting for the right time. I believe that this season is the perfect time to push myself to mature and fill out my skating even more. My music is chosen based on my feel to it. Sometimes I’ll listen to a song once and I feel it and I feel the movement through it, that’s how I know I could make a program to it.
How did you come about self-choreographing your programs? What was the best and what was the hardest part of that process? Have you ever choreographed for someone else, and would you be interested in doing more of that in the future?
Self choreographing this year has been very challenging but it has definitely given my creative side a chance to open up. Of course a lot of credit goes out to Sam Chouinard who took what I had with my short program and turned it into something spectacular. I haven’t formally choreographed for anyone else, but I’d definitely be interested to choreograph for other skaters.
What was your favorite moment while building your programs?
Being able to have the opportunity to create new and creative movements, kicks/tricks and learning a new love for artistry. It’s almost as if I slip into an alternate reality where the only things in existence are music and myself. I really prefer to choreograph early in the mornings when there is no one on the ice, or even at the rink.
Could you talk a little bit more about your SP from last season, “Open Arms” by Journey, which we read was dedicated to the victims and survivors of the Parkland shooting - what it means to you and what you hoped to convey with it?
The Parkland shooting was a horrible tragedy that happened a few minutes from my house. There’s so much politics that go into these issues, but I’m not a politician that can make change on that level. I’m a figure skater, and I wanted to use my platform to bring awareness to the incident and the issues that come along with it. The message for this program was, “I welcome the victims with open arms”.
You’ve received a lot of recognition for your expressive and compelling skating. What do you think is your biggest hurdle when it comes to skating, and how have you been working on it?
I believe jumping and competing consistently has definitely been an issue. Ever since I started working with Christy Krall full time in Colorado, we’ve been overcoming these issues every day. I am more confident than ever in my abilities now.
How has your parents’ ice dance and pairs skating experience influenced your skating?
Well, it is a big part of the reason I got into skating in general. They both had extensive knowledge of training and being successful, I feel like I’ve learned a lot from them.
Who are your role models in figure skating? Do you have any role models outside of figure skating who help you stay motivated?
Patrick Chan, Denis Ten and Evan Lysacek are definitely some skaters I look up to. Outside of skating, I’d say just being in the same gym with paralympians at the OTC really motivates me in different ways. These guys/girls don’t let anything stop them from training and pursuing their dream. It’s very inspirational.
What is your favorite element or piece of choreography from either of your programs this season to perform?
Hands down, [the] Short Program footwork.
How do you motivate yourself with respect to figure skating, and balance your life with your training?
It’s very hard sometimes, but I have to take a step back and remind myself what I’m pursuing. Then it becomes very clear how and why I need to motivate myself.
If you could have the skills of any figure skater in the world, who would it be, and which of their skills would you want?
Tomoki [Hiwatashi]’s acrobatic abilities.
You frequently post paintings on your Instagram. How did you get into art, and what does it mean to you? You’ve also mentioned that you prefer spray painting as a medium - is there a specific reason for that?
I got into art just by being creative when I was younger and it kind of carried on. I never was great in art class and didn’t have much artistic talent, but it’s a challenge and I really enjoy it. Art has become such an important part of my life in recent months. I learn a lot about myself in the artistic process, it’s all about trekking into the unknown and being creative/experimental. It has definitely carried into my skating and daily life as well. Spray paint has just been very fun to work with and I love the effects I’ve learned to do with it, but I’m learning more about acrylic and resin art. Stay tuned on @torgashevart for those updates.
As opposed to creating art, is there any art styles that you love as a viewer? Any particular artists you enjoy?
I love pop art, street art, geometric realism and lots of tattoo art. Some artists I admire are Alec Monopoly, Timmy Sneaks, Degas, Picasso and many more. They all are amazing artists and inspire me when I look at their work.
If you could let the figure skating fan community know one thing about you, what would it be?
I love to explore just about everything. Skating, nature, art, food, culture, etc. I love learning something new and experiencing new adventures. Of course, big shoutout to my amazing fans, love you guys so much and thank your for the heartfelt support.
You can follow Andrew on Instagram here.