Image Credits: @Vicasya

  • Jun
  • 22

Vacasya NL: ‘I feel like the princess from Frozen when I skate’

Author Image Mervin LR

Already being touted as one of the premier Artistic Roller-Skating talents in the country, Chennai’s Vacasya NL sure seems ready to continue her upward trajectory.

With a relatively obscure sport, current and future generations of Indian Artistic Roller Skaters have a proverbial empty frame with the pure white canvas staring at them, yearning to be adorned with the colours of success.

The current cast of India’s elite Artistic Roller-Skaters are staggeringly low; however, a burgeoning crop of exciting youngsters may offer a way out of the labyrinth they find themselves in and helps to turn the tide in the Artistic Roller-Skating landscape in the years to come.

One such girl with exceptional talent is Vacasya NL. The body control and graceful movements strike the viewers first when Vacasya NL begins to skate. It becomes all the more impressive once you see how quickly she can move her feet on the wheels. She provides an impressive equilibrium of style and substance.

 

 

Hailing from Chennai, Vacasya has rapidly become one of the best prospects to come through the renowned Shenoy Nagar Skating Park – the only rink where Artistic Skating being professionally taught in the city, where the skaters gather every evening and wow the park-goers with their grace and finesse.

Vacasya’s growth have been exemplary over the past few years, the 19-year-old skater won two bronze medals at the 2018 Asian Championship followed by a 25th rank finish at the 2018 World Championships. The young champion is a seven-time National Champion along and two times national bronze medal winner. Ranked No.1 in the country, she is also inducted into the Mission International Medal Scheme (MIMS) scheme by the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT) scheme.

The young skater always wows the crowd with her impressive performances and it would be silly to bet against her trajectory continuing to trend upwards.

 

EXCERPTS

 

In India, not a lot of people know Artistic roller skating and it is an unique and a rare sport for people to participate in. How did you enter the world of skating?

It was by chance that I got introduced to this beautiful sport! My cousins live right opposite to the rink we train in, and it is the only rink in Chennai where Artistic Skating is taught professionally. I saw few skaters perform some incredible spins and jumps and was amazed. I wanted to try them out too, and that is exactly how I entered the world of Artistic Skating.

 

Why Artistic roller skating, and not another discipline? What made you want to try your hand at competitive Artistic roller skating and what point did it sink in that you could be really good at it?

Artistic Skating as the name suggests is a combination of sport and art. It tests your endurance, strength, flexibility, and agility while at the same time demands fundamental body grace, theatrics, performance and various other show aspects. I started getting into the competitive field when I was 8 years old and managed to enter the international arena when I was 17 years old.

The sport by itself is very unique but has a lot to learn. Me as a person who is very competitive and loves to be unique, I feel like this sport is the one for me.

 

 

 

Artistic roller skaters are mesmerizing, in large part, thanks to the element of dance that they incorporate into skating, a combination of dance, gymnastics, and roller skating which makes the sport even more joyful to watch. What is the toughest aspect of being an artistic skater and what do you enjoy the most about it?

As an Artistic Skater, the most difficult part, according to me is to put out an effortless performance. Like I said earlier, my sport demands a lot of endurance and strength to sustain on specific techniques during the program, which eventually tiers you out given that, our programs are power-packed for 3 and a half minutes straight. But we cannot afford to even show the slightest of difficulties while we perform as chances are we are going to be penalised for it.

Maintaining a graceful body with the required facial expressions throughout the event is the most difficult aspect as an Artistic Skater. While on the other hand, I feel like the princess from Frozen when I skate. Be it training or competition, when I get on to the floor with my skates, I start to live in my own world. It is almost like an escape from the real world when we skaters start skating!

 

Sport on an elite pathway requires dedication and commitment; aside from providing funding and transport for training, how did your parents support you emotionally pre-competition?

The mindset especially before competition is very important. My parents just made sure they engrained one thing in me. “I compete to win. I don’t compete to make others lose” – I feel this is something that helped me a lot to be mentally prepared to face any competition.

 

Teenage years are probably one of the most difficult times in our lives; we can imagine a lot of your time was dedicated to training - how did you ensure a good studies-training-social life balance?

I loved to skate and be on the competitive forum. Missing social events, did make me feel sad at times but they were all compensated when I won a competition season. As far as studies rare concerned, I guess I was lucky enough to be able to understand the concepts after just one thorough reading.

Most of my exam preparations would happen in flights and other training camp locations. But once I read something I understand it, and once I understand it, I generally tend to not forget it. I managed to score about 90% in all exams both school and college.

 

You have been training for years at Shenoy Nagar Skating Park in Chennai which is the park has one of the largest roller-skating facilities in the city. Please tell us a bit about what makes your club so special?

It is the only rink where Artistic Skating is professionally taught. We have about 5 international medal winners and a total of 7 international participants who train in the club currently.

 

 

 

People who used to spend a lot of time at roller skating rinks, say that friendships were born there, that they fell in love at the rink or came there looking for consolation after breaking up or catching up with old friends. Have you ever experienced something like that, for example making friends you still stay in touch with?

My sport has given me the best and the worst memories in my life so far. Be it my best achievements or my worst breakdowns, my skates and the rink has been the only constant throughout. I built friendships that would last a lifetime, competed against the best of my friends lost people whom I thought would stand by me and what not?

Like I said, I cannot think of anyone or anything, apart from my parents who stood by me throughout except for my skates, coach and my beloved rink.

 

How would you describe your artistic skating s style and what is your favourite moves?

I, as a skater, find serious themes like tango easier to perform. Because I can completely focus on my techniques and forget that I have to smile or something because I don’t have to! I tend to get aggressive when I skate, and such styles are my jam! I tend to give my best in such styles.

My favourite move would have to be the travelling sequence, where you have to complete 17 turns within 10 seconds. I currently do 17 turns in 9.4 seconds.

 

This particular sport involves falling quite a lot. Do you have any tricks to get over that fear?

There is no trick as such. You just have to be able to laugh at yourself when you fall. But jokes apart, learning to have a safe fall is important. The rules are simple, protect your head at all costs and keep your core engaged at all times. Cause your core helps you balance and even if you slip, your core will help you have a safe fall.

 

 

 

As you know, we are big fans of you and your work. Your performances have such a spectacle aspect. Part of the spectacle seems to be how you dress. Does fashion play a part in what you do?

There is no trick as such. You just have to be able to laugh at yourself when you fall. But jokes apart, learning to have a safe fall is important. The rules are simple, protect your head at all costs and keep your core engaged at all times. Cause your core helps you balance and even if you slip, your core will help you have a safe fall.

 

What are the favourite places skating has taken you?

I train in Italy which is almost my second home. Apart from that, Skating has taken me to so many cities and countries that I usually wouldn’t go to like South Korea, Paraguay or even Chandigarh, Noida, Virar for that matter.

 

As a member of the national team, you represented India quite a few times. If you were to choose the three most important moments of your career so far, what would you pick?

The first time that I got inducted into the National Team. Not only was it my first time, but I also ranked first in the selection. In my first Asian performance, I was ranked first however, I ended up with a bronze after the finals. The first time that I skated in the world forum. All my idols of skating were watching me skate, and according to me, this is more than a dream come true!

 

When you’re not skating, how do you pass the time? What other passions do you have?

I mostly spend time with my friends and family during off-seasons. Watching and understanding the technical and production side of movie-making is something I love to do. Apart from skating, I am very interested in the media platform. Public Relations, Social Media Management, Broadcasts and creative content development is something I am really passionate about.

 

It is such a peculiar time for artistic roller skating to have grown in popularity, it seemed like such a significant form of self-expression. What would you say to motivate new female skaters to join the women’s pack?

Artistic skating will be the most beautiful sport known to humankind, in my opinion. We tend to feel like a warrior and a princess both at the same time. It can be very demanding but also very rewarding. It is a holistic sport which can help you create a super unique and powerful identity for yourself. So next time when someone wants to try out a sport, Artistic Skating is something one should definitely try out!

 

 

 

What has been the most interesting or challenging thing about skating for you lately? Like is there anything you’ve been working on? Future goals?

For me, currently, technique or strength or even endurance is no longer a matter of concern. I am not saying I am the best, but I at least know how to work and improve my program in these areas, in the international arena.

Grace and elegance while I skate, and generally giving an awe-feeling is something I am not satisfied with it yet when compared to international athletes. I plan on competing for the next 5 – 7 years, after which I want to be internationally certified as a judge and referee. Once I gain some experience as an international judge, I am hoping to start coaching and build an academy of my own in India which can build World Champions.

 

RAPID-FIRE

 

Do you have any pre-game superstitions?

I always use this one grey socks for all my competitions. It’s weird but yeah!

 

From the skater you have performed against, who was the toughest opponent you have faced?

In India, Pranamya Rao was my toughest competitor. Internationally, there are a whole lot of them and I think I have to improve my game a lot before I can narrow down to my toughest competitor.

 

Who are your favourite skaters today?

Rachele Campagnol, my coach, my idol, my all-time favourite. Apart from her, Daniel Morandin, Mattia Quelzzia, Luca Lucaroni, Alessandro Spigai and Rebecca Taralzi. All of them are from Italy. Like you can say, I love the Italian style and according to me they are the best and can never be beaten.

 

If you could dance with any celebrity, who would that be and why?

For me, Luca Lucaroni is my biggest celebrity crush, and I would give anything to dance with him. Apart from him, it is weird but there is this person called Hasbulla, a.k.a mini Khabib, from Russia. He is one of the cutest humans I have ever seen and I so badly want to meet him.

 

By the way, do you have your favourite movies about artistic roller skating / skaters or roller skating in general?

There are no movies per se about artistic skating. But Ice princess and Ice Castle are movies about Figure Skating and they are pretty relatable. I love watching Ice princess.

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