Brazil continued to expand its presence in the international figure skating community this year by sending its first man to compete in an ISU Championship. Kevin Alves, 16, accomplished that feat when he finished 19th at the Four Continents Championship in Goyang, Korea in 2008. Alves followed up his debut two weeks later with a 35th place finish at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.
“My goal for this season was just to get a lot of experience and see what it was like to skate with the best in the world,” Alves said. “Next year, I hope to skate even stronger.”
Alves used to skate in Canada, placing eighth in pre-novice men in 2006 and sixth in novice at Sectionals in 2007. He was fourth in juniors as a guest at Sectionals this season. He switched to skating for Brazil for the 2007-08 season. “My mom was born in Brazil and we had talked about skating for Brazil for a while,” said Alves, who was born in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada.
Alves took to the ice when he was seven. “My sister had been skating and I went to watch her,” he recalled. “Then I saw Kurt Browning in Stars on Ice and wanted to try it. My mom bought me hockey skates but I told her I wanted skates like Kurt.”
He landed his first triple salchow at the age of 13 and is now working on his triple flip and triple lutz. “My triple flip is not yet consistent,” he said, “so I don’t have it in the program because I tore my hip muscle when I popped a triple salchow in practice two weeks before Four Continents and I need more physical therapy to recover. I can rotate the triple lutz but haven’t landed it yet, and I’ve only tried the triple axel in the harness. I’ve been working on triple salchow-triple toe combination also.”
Alves included a triple loop, double axel and triple salchow-double toe loop combination this season. His long program included a triple salchow-double toe and double axel-double toe-double loop combinations as well as a triple loop, triple toe, triple salchow, two double axels and a double lutz as solo jumps.
Robert Burk coaches Alves, who trains in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada. His usual schedule includes 3 hours a day on ice, 5 days a week and 3 hours a week of off ice work. “I’ve been with him for about eight years,” Alves stated. “I started working with Dawn Drummond, but I liked jumping so she passed me on to Robert.”
Brian Orser choreographed his short program to “Carmen” by George Bizet. “He’s been working with me for about three years,” Alves said. “He helped with my stroking before that.” Alves also used the same music for his short program last season. Shanique Lake choreographed his new long program to music from the “Spiderman 2″ soundtrack by Danny Elfman. “I usually change one program each year,” he said. “The second year, I really feel comfortable with a program and start doing it really well. I have to get it to its full potential.”
“I choose all my own music,” he continued. “I listen to programs at skating events, watch movies and listen to a lot of other music. Once I have an idea, I may search for music on the computer and then my coach of KMG cut it for me. The short program is from programs from Alexei Yagudin and Evgeni Plushenko that I watched a long time ago. I liked how powerful it was.”
“For the long program, I liked the music from the first Spiderman but it was overused,” Alves noted. “When I saw the second Spiderman, I thought I could use it. I was kind of torn between that and the 300 this year but Spiderman was better for skating. I’m using the Spiderman Suite, Doctor Octopus Suite, and Venom Suite.”
For a gala program, Alves is thinking of using “The Face” by Ryandan, one of his favorite groups. Off ice, he listens to a large variety of music from alternative to rhythm and blues to rap. One Republic is another of his favorite groups.
Alves is a junior at Richmond Green High School, where he takes the main curriculum and business classes. He also takes a show time/musical theatre class. “I was auditioning for ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ before I left for Four Continents,” he said.
He also models and acts. “I’ve done about a hundred photo shoots for Sears. I’ve also been in three videos. One was for the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children, one was for a Motocross video game, and the other was for a program called The Adventures of Gabe and Allie.”
“I would like to pursue a career in real estate and also coach as I would like to stay within the sport that I enjoy very much.”
“I don’t like to relax,” Alves said. “I like to go out and play sports – football, baseball, basketball, soccer and tennis. I enjoy being active and definitely thrive in the competition.”