So earlier this week while I was pulling my skate out of my bag, it momentarily caught on something. I tugged and it popped out and nearly took my nose off. Luckily, no blood; it just resulted in a minor scratch on my face. Phew! I have a hard enough time explaining any aspect of skating, never mind accidental self-mutilation, to folks outside the skating world.
Apart from trying to injure myself even before I step onto the ice, skating is going well. Doug headed back home yesterday, but before he left we managed to get in a series of lessons stressing pattern, staying on edges, body position and lean, and partnering. And though we had a few falls and some blade-clicking, no blood was shed there, either. Hooray!
To those who don’t ice dance, it sometimes looks as though skating with a partner is easier than skating by yourself. In general, I’ve found soloing vs. skating with someone to be equally challenging. Sometimes it is helpful to have someone there to steady you, and in the pattern dances your partner’s steps helps you figure out where to go.
But woe betide the hapless ice dancer who leans on her (or his) partner! That kind of pressure is way worse than the occasional fall. Imagine a sailboat slowly tipping over, with all the terrified passengers scuttling about in a futile effort to right the boat. Those passengers are like my body parts! Where’s the Coast Guard? Arghhh!
No, it’s super important not to be the weak link in the great skating chain of Being. I am happy that my two years of solo work has really helped with my alignment and posture. While Laurie pointed out that some of my edges are still tentative, I am getting better at correcting this. And my left side is much stronger than it has been.
In the past couple of days going solo, I am back to lots of circles and alternating patterns up and down the ice. I am really working on finding a really good gliding position: keeping my hips aligned and moving forward, knee/ankle bend, and my weight father back on my skates. And I am starting to work on how to use my free side extension more effectively to create momentum rather than inhibit it. Finally, I think I will really focus on my feet for the coming month, trying to see how this affects my balance over the skate. I am working on this off-ice as well, so will post more later.
But here are some things about the pattern dances that I need to continue to practice solo:
- Foxtrot. Opening tuck behind needs to stay on curve (practice bringing foot in and not letting outside edge shoot off the circle). Lobe curves around so that my three is headed towards the boards. Nice big engaged edges on the progressive and after.
- Tango. Don’t flatten or change edge too soon: the change happens on the one beat edge, not at the end of the two beat. On the cross three, continue to push yourself through the cross in the same direction (deepen, don’t flatten through the cross push). The end of the swing roll accents the rhythm and should be one of the highlights of the dance. Nice steep hill into the mohawk and then remember the down up down.
- Paso. Extensions and push through the entire opening section. The forward leg should be completely extended on the slide-slide (this is near-impossible when I have my right leg forward, since I have a hard time pointing my toe). Extension and push in the steps following the breakout. Extensions and push on forward sections. Hip alignment on crosses; again, do this with definite weight-transfer and immediate ankle bend onto the new skating foot, not by extending back.
I got some practice time in at the university ice rink (home of the Minnesota Gophers). Was happy to run into some old and new friends there! George pointed out that it’s hard to see the captions on these pictures, but just try putting your cursor over the picture.