jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Towards a more efficient Kilian

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Today I realized that on the Kilian I’ve been primarily using my shoulders and hips, rather than my feet and ankles, to create edges. This made it really hard to do the left inside edge before the choctaw, as I was letting my free hip ricochet forward and then back on the sequence before that much-beloved turn (progressive, cross in front, cross behind).  This, and crossing behind ABOVE rather than BELOW the knees and blocking myself, has given me a false sense of how to create edges. Scary. This has made this compulsory dance feel at times like a form of punishment.

So today I tried to think about creating the edges with my ankles, which makes it feel as though I’m doing the dance on a straight line. I kept in mind that the body movement over my skate should follow the line of my foot rather moving side to side (thank you, Ari). I also tried to avoid the false extensions created by the upward lift of the free leg, rather than the natural extension of the push (thank you, Laurie).

Voilà, il est plus simple. My physical therapist, Megan, said something yesterday about my aggravating my hip misalignment by putting too much power into certain muscles. These overwhelm already-stretched-out ligaments, causing damage and pain. I was actually knocking myself off balance. This is another lesson on trying to do these dances with an economy of effort and efficiency of movement, borrowing a philosophy from my son Dylan’s “legendary” cello teacher (thanks, Mr. Howard).

My overall goal is to better my technique so that some kind of expression can actually happen. This is exciting but also a little scary, since I have to let go of some ingrained perceptions. So my adage for the season: “Does it feel right? Or does it simply feel familiar?”

Author: Joskates

Don't see me on the ice? I may be in the classroom or at the theater, or hanging out with my family and friends.

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