Elladj Balde was born in Russia. His journey as a figure skater started at six years old in Montreal, Canada. His mother's enormous passion for the sport was something that she had always hoped to instill in him from a young age. Through Elladj's 20 years of competing, it is this passion that has stuck by him and pushed him to persevere through his entire competitive career. It is also this passion that allows Elladj to stand out as a unique performer as he moves forward in his performing career and beyond!
How has your skating career evolved?
Elladj: Throughout my own personal competitive career, I was constantly struggling with adversity and times of low self confidence. My mind was so concerned with the stress of technical execution that I wasn't allowing myself to do what I love; Perform. As many of you know, it is in this performance arena where I was able to find my stride as well as my individual purpose as not only a skater but an entertainer to audiences. The day that I decided to connect with my passion and embrace the artist inside of me was a turning point in my life as well as my career. I started to feel in control of my destiny and in turn, my technical training didn't feel so draining and I started to enjoy the journey of competitive figure skating. In this sport, I didn't always have the outcome I wanted, but with dedication to my individual purpose I am able to walk away a mentally stronger human who is satisfied with what I have contributed to the sport. With a strong base of loyal fans all over the world, I am also able to live out a fruitful show career as well as many wonderful performance and choreographic opportunities that I have always dreamed of being involved with!
What is a career highlight for you?
Elladj: I recently finished working with Cirque du Soleil. Being able to be involved with the choreography team on creating a show of that magnitude was such an incredible learning experience for me. Figure skating has allowed me the opportunity to travel to so many different parts of the world and it has also connected me with wonderful people. I am so grateful for this aspect of what I do.
What is Skate Global and what inspired you to create it?
Elladj: Skate Global is a multi faceted platform that provides assistance and training methods to young figure skaters all around the world. We bring a fresh new outlook and approach to figure skating training seminars through first hand knowledge and mentorship, creative development tools and mental empowerment techniques to build confidence behind the performance. The number one goal of Skate Global is to give back to the community by inspiring students with valuable knowledge that can propel young athletes to success both on and off the ice. I truly believe that the lack of balance between technical execution and artistic development is something that is preventing a lot of figure skaters from enjoying their journey and harnessing their own uniqueness within the sport. My decision to start Skate Global came from this very issue that I experienced myself in my own career. I decided to create company where the focus is just as heavy on mental strength, artistic connection and performance quality as it is technical execution. I have assembled the best figure skaters in Canada to be a part of our Skate Global Star Faculty Team. We are here to bring out the best in young skaters and give them that boost of inspiration and confidence that will ignite their fire so they can continue to grind day to day in pursuit of their dreams.
Tell us about the Art of Performance workshop.
Elladj: The Art of Performance is definitely one of a kind! We lead students through a weekend long workshop that details every aspect of the word performance. From in depth faculty chats where we share our own ups and downs in the sport to mental strength techniques, skating skills, dance classes, off ice training, parent chats and coaches seminars, students will leave armed with vital tools to success that they will not receive anywhere else. I have also developed a signature class for the weekend which is called The Art of Performance. It is in this class where I have developed unique exercises that are designed to empower athletes to make room for finding their unique voice and artistic connection.
What do you hope skaters get out of working with Skate Global?
Elladj: At the end of the day it's about remembering why you love what you do and maintaining a connection to that. The energy at the end of our workshops is something that absolutely blows me away. We see students return to training on Monday with a newfound energy and attack that is fueled by this new perspective. We have also seen massive shifts in some of our elite and high level athletes as they operate from a new mindset.
What is the future of Skate Global and what do you hope to achieve with it?
Elladj: In the future we would like to do multiple Art of Performance workshops around Canada each year. Our goal with Skate Global is to draw more awareness to the benefits of performance and artistry both mentally as well as physically.
What do you see for your future in figure skating and what type of impact would you like to have?
Elladj: I have always desired to make an impact on the world. I never quite understood how I could combine my passion with this goal until I created Skate Global. I want to encourage young figure skaters to remember why they love this sport so much. I want to foster their creativity and elevate their perspective on what they can do with their talents.
What is your favorite thing about being on the ice?
Elladj: My favorite part about this sport is being able to showcase my personality and charisma while connecting to the music I am performing to. This is what carries me across the ice. It inspires me to be able to move an audience emotionally by connecting with them through my performance. This exchange of energy is something that will forever ignite my love for what I do.
What do you think the figure skating world needs more of?
Elladj: Truth, Healing, Artistry, Performance
What do you think the figure skating world needs less of?
Elladj: Rivalry, Negativity
Check out Elladj and Skate Global at www.skateglobal.ca. On Instagram @skateglobalinc. Art of Performance 2020 dates will be releasing very soon so make sure you stay tune and follow them on social media!