So today Laurie and I were working on alternating swing rolls again, breaking them down and trying to get to the nitty-gritty of why these have continued to challenge me. Some of her corrections were quite familiar.
- Preserve your lean through the entire circle.
- Keep your body aligned and don’t let your hips stick out.
- Your upper body lean is like a rainbow.
- Practice making a real “S” shape on the changeover.
- Accentuate your inside edge before the push.
- Bring new foot in with toe turned in and the heel angled out.
Although I am sure I’ve been told this last one before, I was struck by how hard it was for me to do. I have not really been aware of this before, but when I bring my feet together, I have a tendency to keep my free foot in a turned-out position. I really had to concentrate to get my feet to turn in. But once I did, it was an immediate improvement both for edge and stability. We then tried the same thing on progressives, with the same positive effect. Then on those stop-action cross rolls (when you bring your feet together, then push under to cross). Wow.
My PT Sarah has prepped me for this revelation. She is always telling me that it is okay to turn my feet inwards, instead of always trying to turn out. I have a hard time allowing myself to do this, after many years of trying to achieve something that looks like a good turnout.
In skating, just like in ballet, being able to turn out is prized. For me with my tight hips, having a degree of turnout always seemed to be the golden ring. But now I’m having to get my head around the idea that doing the duck walk all the time is actually not a good idea.
Oh, it’s good to have flexibility. But flexibility works both ways, out and in. And I suspect that rather than just fixating on muscle flexibility, what I really need is a little mental and emotional flexibility. Turn it in, Jo.
Okay, time to stop kicking myself (even if I do it with my foot turned out) and to start watching videos of Bob Fosse. Ah, those turned-in positions! Those jazz hands!