Rafael is a champion figure skating coach. He currently coaches 2008 new WORLD FIGURE SKATING CHAMPION, three times Canadian Figure Skating Champion and 2006 Olympic bronze medalist Jeffrey Buttle. Buttle just won the WORLD FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIP on March 22, 2008 in Göteborg, Sweden. Buttle has again used the Armenian music from the soundtrack of Egoyan's Ararat movie for his final 'Free Style' dance. You can watch this dance on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1T2E94-w4UE . Buttle had won the Canadian men's Championship held in Halifax (January 20, 2007 - with the highest ever score in Canadian Championships) dancing to the tune of the Ararat movie soundtrack"Grroong Ousdi Gou Kas" followed by the frenzy of a most energetic "Kocharee" with davoul and zourna that brought the audience to its feet (two standing ovations). Mr. Buttle was wearing one of his favorite costumes "Ararat" for the performance (see: http://www.jeffbuttle.com/news.php ) and even had Kotcharee steps choreographed in the performance. You can see the performance on video here: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x110xy_jeff-buttle-2007-canadian-nats-fs . Jeff Buttle also won Silver in the "Four Continents Championship" on Friday Feb 9 ... He danced to the soundtrack of 'Ararat' movie soundtrack (by Michael Danna) in 'Free Skating'. Jeff Buttle website had this to say in 2007 about Arutunian: "This season, Buttle is spending some of his time training with Raphael Arutunian at the Ice Castle International Training Center in Lake Arrowhead, Calif. He says he appreciates Arutunian's aggressive approach to competition. "It's good to have something on both sides of the spectrum," Buttle says. "I feel like I'm more confident. It's good that I'm able to discuss the elements with Lee. Then on the other side of the spectrum, it's Raphael telling me, 'You can't miss that.' I feel I'm becoming more consistent because of that." (see [] ).
Mr. Arutunian has also worked with 5 time World Champion Michelle Kwan (he started with her in 2003 Kwan was having problems with her skates, and her choreographer, Nikolai Morozov, told her that Rafael could help with her boot problems. Rafael then gave Michelle a few pointers on her actual skating, and after a few sessions, Michelle asked Rafael to be her coach. Rafael was stunned when Michelle asked him to coach her, saying, "Anybody would be surprised. It's Michelle Kwan, right? Everyone wants to just talk with her, and I'm working with her. I think I am the luckiest man in the world." Kwan said: “I had spoken to Rafael many times before. He has that technical thing about him. He's just intense. The intensity is hard to keep up with." You can see still photos of Rafael with Kwan on: http://heatherw.com/mk/outside/prac.htm Rafael had Kwan dance to the tune of Aram Khachaturian's Spartacus ballet when she won the US Championships in 2005).
Ms Kwan dropped-out gracefully from the US Team in the February 2006 Winter Olympics due to injury. Mr. Arutunian also coaches young Japanese national Miss Mao Asada, 2005 Junior World Champion. You can view and hear Mr. Arutunian in this “You Tube video” at minutes 1:55, 2:40, 4:29, 5:33, and 7:40. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tf5ExKnAnJo .
Rafael Arutunian (sometimes written Arutiunian or Arutyunyan) has also coached (from 1989 to 2003) and brought to fame Russian figure-skating champion Alexander Abt (silver medal at the 2002 European Championships). His summary biography and photos are posted on: http://www.icecastle.us/coaches/rafael.html
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