jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Back to compulsories


Thank goodness for Daylight Savings Time, I always say. The only downside is that by the time the year rolls to a close, it feels like it’s getting dark around four in the afternoon. That’s high tea in low light! Anyway I am happy to have an extra hour of sleep, especially after a long evening practice.

I have been working on pattern dances again: the Paso Doble, the Harris Tango, the Foxtrot, and the most dreaded European Waltz, for which I feel a deep combination of affection and loathing. The others feel like old friends that I haven’t seen in a while: vaguely familiar at first, but then after a pattern or two, it’s as if we’ve never left off.

I am working with a new partner, Doug. He is from the Seattle area, but comes into town periodically for extended visits with his family. We will have a few weeks this month and next spring to practice for Adult Nationals 2017.

The competition will be in North Carolina, and a number of us here have been considering boycotting the event because of the state’s recently-passed House Bill 2 that eliminates anti-discrimination protection for GLBTQ people and prevents municipalities from passing anti-discrimination policies. If this is not repealed, I will have to think hard about whether or not to travel there. Sigh.

In the meantime, training begins.

And it is training indeed! I have forgotten how much work it is to go around the rink more than once. Or even once, if it is the Tango with all those steps. After a few patterns, though, it all started coming back to me.

The real challenge will be how to maintain my new and improved alignment in these dances. Everything from the hips down feels really different–and mostly better–than it did two years ago. I can tell by all these tired day-after-skating-hard muscles, though, that partnering takes a lot of upper body strength that I haven’t been maintaining. Maybe I will finally get those Michelle Obama arms I’ve been hoping for. If only!

Speaking of arms, here’s fellow skater Tam showing off his marvelous moves. Pretty amazing, huh?


Lesson notes:

  • “pivot” edges: counter with free leg, head and back “spiral” around
  • “spiral turnout” on mohawks
  • tuck behind (really getting on the inside edge), heels in correct position

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.

8 thoughts on “Back to compulsories

  1. I hope you travel to NC for AN in 2017, Jo. I know that HB2 is controversial and unfair to our LGBTQ friends but I hope you’ll still find a way to make it. I plan on being there and would love to finally meet you. And holy cow, Tam! That is amazing!


  2. Eva, I would love to meet you in person and cheer you on at AN! I’ll practice MY one-arm handstand, but don’t get your hopes up!


  3. Yes, as an adult skater in North Carolina who loves your blog, I will hope you decide to visit despite that law, though I understand your reservations. (And I did my best to try to turn things around with my ballot this morning!)


  4. It’s so dark now after group and the traffic is so insane, that I feel like I’m taking my life in my hands every time I drive home. I’m tempted to just quit group until new year’s.


  5. I hear you about the sudden darkness (in more ways than one)–it saps our strength as well as makes us afraid. I hope you keep skating in group–but drive carefully, Babbette!


  6. A new partner from Seattle? It seems like I should know who that is but I don’t! Congratulations, though, a male ice dance partner at your level is a very hard thing to find! Yes I had been unsure about AN under the current political conditions, though I think life has made that decision an easy one for me now. Perhaps you could compete at Pacific Coast Sectionals– LA is always fun. Hope, though, that we will meet at an AN sometime!


  7. Thanks, Mary! We are not planning to do sectionals (competing in a non-qualifying event). I hadn’t even thought of doing the Pacific Coast version, but that would be fun. Maybe in the future! And I hope we get a chance to meet and swap stories in person.


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