jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Remembrances of lessons past, car chases, and the kilian


It’s been another really good skating day, in spite of a bad cold that made for canceling lessons this week. My eccentric foot exercises seem to be working already (unless I’m just imagining this out of wishful thinking), my hips are still level (!!!), and when I was working on the kilian, something popped into my head that seems to be really, really useful for me.

I had this image of my hip joints being like two balls attached by a band, with the free side hip pushing the other one along (not directly from the back, but sort of on the side and towards the back) and giving power to the skating edge. As the pattern changes circles, the leading hip and the following hip also change. The following hip puts its force into the leading hip.

I must done a dozen patterns before I realized that I had encountered a similar idea before. Like biting into Proust’s madeleine, this image took me back to a lesson I had a long time ago, probably when I first started taking from Ari. We had this lesson on three-turns in which Ari described the hips working like cars. On the forward outside edge, the following hip drives into the leading hip (in this case, the skating side) for the forward outside edge. Then the skating hip moves into a three point turn (the free hip also turns). As it does so, the hips change places relative to one another. This prevents the free hip from swinging around during the turn.

At the time, this idea baffled me and so we put it on hold. But now it’s all coming back to me. So my “ball” imagery is just a variation on that lesson, except no three-point turn. I checked with Ari, who seemed a bit mystified at my jumping up and down after suddenly recalling something he told me at least fourteen years ago. But he was a good sport and went over the whole idea again for me.

Given my hip issues, I’m not surprised that I haven’t used this concept until now. But I plan to go to town with it now. In general, which hip is leading and which hip is following depends on the direction of the circle and whether one is skating forwards or backwards. The leading hip is not always the skating hip!

Since I distinctly remember that not too long ago just balancing over my skates was a challenge, having this new idea to work with is truly exciting. Like Ari’s lesson on keeping my weight over the inside circle, this is a game-changer. Better later than never! And it works wonders for my kilian. Here’s the pattern of that compulsory dance, which I need to review.


I was so excited by this hip-ball/car thing that I made up a little set of illustrations using pool balls (a little strange, I know, but easier for me than trying to draw).

It seems to work as well with the quickstep, and I cannot wait to try this on other moves and compulsories as well. Wish me luck!

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.

2 thoughts on “Remembrances of lessons past, car chases, and the kilian

  1. Great visuals! I never thought about having the hips move like that before. Now that you showed us (rather than just described it in words), it makes total sense!


  2. Thanks, Eva. I tried it again tonight and feel like I have much more power. Hope it works for others!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s