Long ago, on a skating lesson (that seems) far far away, Ari made the comment that I seemed unable to “commit” to my left edges. Though I didn’t know it at the time, my misalignment made it hard to feel that left blade in the proper place beneath me. I’m happy to say that last Friday (yes, the day after I wrote that discouraging post about being so tired) I finally felt those left-side edges: not just stepping precariously onto the left side and hoping I could balance, but pushing, rising, and making the edge curve from the very beginning to the end.
Not consistent yet, and certainly not automatic. I have to think hard about using the gluteal muscles to pull that left leg joint into the hip (note: my physical therapist corrected me on this thought–see my comment). This puts the weight farther back on my skate than I’m used to, which makes it easier to resist breaking forward. I also have to think about keeping the foot and thigh in line with this forward-facing hip, and feeling the blade curving around the edge and the force of the blade down into the ice.
It’s working! Here are some things that this seems to help:
- Constant motion: creating a dynamic edge rather than just a static position balancing on my blade
- Using gravity: rising on the skating knee as well as bending into the next edge
- Staying over the edge (free side as well as skating side)
- Pushing to create extensions rather than just lifting my free leg
(I confess that I had to work a bit to make that spell out “cusp” rather than “crap” or “creep.”)
So this is a little mini-celebration of progress because Friday and yesterday and today for at least some of the time my legs were working in sync. I am so excited, even though this is probably not visible to most people (although Sonia remarked today that my skating seemed stronger and more confident). It feels huge. It is full of significance, physically and mentally.
So much of ice dancing is unintelligible to most people: no exciting jumps or lifts (most of the time), so what I’ve been doing here (correcting basics) probably looks even less meaningful. I would guess that unless you know what I’m trying to do, watching me might arouse the same anxiety as a tiger pacing in a zoo. (Why is she compelled to repeat that motion over and over? Is there something wrong with her?)
I am writing this to give this repetition another meaning. There is joy in my heart and ice under my feet, oh happy day. To celebrate, here’s some lovely lyrics from a song by Sara Bareilles that’s been playing a lot on the radio.
We are not perfect we’ll learn from our mistakes
And as long as it takes I will prove my love to you
I am not scared of the elements I am underprepared,
But I am willing
And even better
I get to be the other half of you
Tell the world that we finally got it all right
I will become yours and you will become mine