jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Drawing on the ice


Remember Harold and the Purple Crayon? I’ve been thinking a lot about how those books can help me get a more active glide in skating. I imagine my blade being like Harold’s crayon, drawing edges and lobes.

That encourages me to keep my blades in constant motion, rather than in the halting stop-action of pushing onto an edge and trying to balance over my skate.

Over the holidays and into the first week of 2017, I was hard pressed for skating time: travel, rinks closed for the holiday, and then periods of Work Excess Ice-Related-Deprivation (WEIRD, for short). I would skate for a few days, then be off just long enough to lose some muscle tone, focus, and confidence. For instance, I was gone for some of last week but skated yesterday and today. Not only do my tired muscles feel this effort, but mid-afternoon, I was ready for a nap! Sigh.

Still, skating remains my happy place. I can be really stressed out about other things in the world when I step out onto the ice, and just a few short minutes later, I am only stressed out about whether or not I am sticking my hip into the circle and the annoying way my hair falls out of my ponytail and OMG why can’t I point my right foot?!! The rest of the world with all its bad habits just melts away.

One of the things I appreciate most about this is that I can get some of the benefits of this skating mindfulness even when I’m not on the ice. I just have to close my eyes and imagine that purple skating crayon drawing all those beautiful edges. Useful trick during long plane rides, while waiting for the train, and whenever I start to get a little tired of all the insanity out there.

I have notes from a number of lessons that I will share here, plus a song from jazz singer Jamie Cullum that my son introduced me to: “But For Now” (listen for the cello!) I considered it as a possible choice for the Foxtrot at Adult Nationals 2017, but alas, Doug and I won’t be there after all. Maybe another year? In the meantime, enjoy the music (especially the cello) and I’ll enjoy imagining those purple crayons (a.k.a. skate blades) drawing all those beautiful patterns on the ice.

  • alignment of right side: hip, knee, ankle
  • alternating three turns on half-circles (work on checking the back inside edge after the outside three with skating arm inside the circle and the free leg outside)
  • mohawk push back, push to new circle, back outside three (more speed, bigger circles)
  • swing roll edge pull, change edge mohawk, change edge, edge pull, cross front, step forward to repeat on other side
  • double threes without a deep edge in between threes: move towards twizzles
  • power threes
  • outside closed mohawks, back three
  • alignment: practice standing on skates with feet together
  • cross rolls: practice moving free leg with one hip at a time isolate; cross feet, bend ankle
  • cross behind (let old ankle bend and deepen into the edge)
  • swing rolls forwards: initiate lean into the curve, think about curving on the set down
  • back swing rolls: skating side lead, then relax

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 “Drawing on the ice

  1. What a great visual with Harold and the Purple Crayon! We have that book upstairs. 🙂 Those are great lesson notes – the alignment seems to be the key to success on all those exercises! Sad to hear that I won’t get to meet you at Adult Nationals this year. Maybe next time?


  2. Draw on, Harold! Eva, I’ll be rooting for you at AN from afar. Definitely will try for another year. And if you’re ever planning to be in the Twin Cities, let me know; l’ll send you ice info!


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