jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Leprechaun dance


Okay, so I can’t remember where I put my phone or whether I closed the garage door. (Luckily, there’s an app for that! Oh no, it’s on my phone!)

But today I heard a song on the car radio, Donna Lewis’s “I Love You Always Forever” and immediately thought of a program by Yuka Sato in a professional competition. I remembered her nifty footwork sequence accelerating through the refrain.

I looked it up on YouTube, and it is from 1996! And she is wearing an adorable bubble-gum pink dress that goes perfectly with the infectious pop beat.

I also found a lovely program that she did this year to “Clair de Lune.” I am happy that she is still skating, and I really like the choreography that she uses here–especially that opening sequence of edges. That long back outside edge has filled me with new “edgy” ambition!

But enough about skating legends. How is my skating going? Well, it is less beautifully organized than Yuka Sato’s.  In fact, it is somewhat disorienting, kind of like that Donna Lewis music video (which I don’t recommend actually watching if you are prone to anxiety–just listen instead).

Overall, I think I am making progress. I am figuring out how to lean in the right direction. I am actually pushing under on some of my cross strokes and crossovers. And some of my mohawks actually have bunny ears. And I’m getting better at isolating my free leg from my skating leg. Laurie is having me practice what I’ve been calling the “leprechaun”: moving my free foot in and out of correct position without displacing my skating side.


Even better, I am mostly (though not 100%) pain-free! Still have some stiffness in the hips and occasional knee issues on the right. Oh, and let’s not forget that ongoing problem with my left foot and right ankle. And on and on. Will save that for another post when I’m not quite so bouncy and more organized.

Lesson notes:

  • back crossovers: arm positions less forced, more into circle
  • backwards perimeter stroking: really curve that inside edge on the step out after the cross
  • inside mohawks: pivot foot
  • MORE SPEED: use lean and ankle bend to create edge, don’t stick hip out
  • mohawk, back outside three, forward inside three, toe tap to inside: figure out how to make these turn quickly, turn out your free leg on back outside three. Try variation with push back after the mohawk
  • swing roll, change edge, mohawk, step forward and repeat: practice bringing in free leg and then doing a power pull before allowing free leg to swing through.  Lead with opposite arm, then switch.
  • outside (foxtrot) mohawks: use back rather than hips to figure out where to put new edge, lean on outside exit edge
  • back crossover, push directly over and from the hip (not backwards)
  • clockwise forward progressives: make sure head is facing in correct direction (slightly into the circle in direction that you are going)
  • back cross strokes: don’t turn out skating hip (turn out from free foot), start push as free foot moves down (don’t wait until it is down)


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.

4 thoughts on “Leprechaun dance

  1. I like the leprechaun analogy, Jo. Ah, if only it were that easy on the ice! Congrats on your progress on becoming pain-free and for achieving the “under-push” on the crossovers and cross-strokes. That is not an easy task! I’m cheering you on and can’t wait to hear about all the progress you’ll make throughout the summer!


  2. Thanks so much for cheering me on, Eva! I’m following your progress too–and inspired by your awesome skating (and baking) energy!


  3. Hmm I don’t even know about the bunny ears on mohawks. I’ll have to look at some tracings and see whether I can figure that out. Mostly pain-free is a good place to be: I’m hoping against hope that “entirely pain-free” is still achievable. That new program of Yuka Sato’s is beautiful! And she looks so happy in the old one, really shows the joy of skating. I got to meet her at Detroit Skating Club once and she seems a very sincere and lovely person too. The newer program is especially inspiring to me because some of the elements are easier– though of course not easy to do them the way she does– but I can dream.


  4. We all can dream! So jealous that you got to meet so many famous skaters, including Yuka Sato and (sigh) Ben Agosto! With regard to the “bunny ears,” that’s the tracing part where the different edges cross. I often have a one-eared bunny because I turn and transfer too early. Hoping you’re feeling pretty good these days too!


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