jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Strategic amnesia


So this past week I had two awesome lessons. Again!

How many is that? I have lost count. But it’s like birthdays, who’s counting anyways?

What counts is the total awesomeness of the lesson. Laurie noticed that I seemed to be locking or jamming my hips. She told me to think of the femur as rotating ever-so-slightly in the direction of the edge. Sharp intake of breath! (No, that’s excitement, not a coronary about to happen.)

Ari noticed that I never really straighten my knees. He had me work on engaging my quad muscles because, well, that’s what straightens the knee (duh). I have to do this on my skating side as well as my free side. It seems remarkable that I can’t do this yet on both sides at once; when I focus on my free side, I seem to forget about the skating side, and vice versa.

“It’s just like the American Waltz,” Ari said, trying to be helpful. Of course, I have repressed all memories of how to do the American Waltz, just as I have relegated the European Waltz to the category of Things That I Have Done in My Past That I would Really Rather Not Remember (shortened version: The horror! The horror!)

But back to positive thinking. Laurie told me not to keep dwelling on how I’ve been doing things wrong. If I can manage that, it helps free up some brain space so I can concentrate on my rotating femur and engaging both my quads.

Wow, I feel really tall now. And my edges feel really much more natural.

So the question is whether I can remember these positive developments, even while I try to forget some of my old bad habits. As awesome as all these new things are, I wonder if I’ll remember how to do them the next time I’m on the ice.

To do: head up, lats down, core engaged, lean in circle, create “space” in hips, femurs rotate slightly, ankles flex, legs straight (when doing the American Waltz and other straighten-the-leg challenges).

Not to do: look at ice, raise shoulders, hips go back, weight falls out of circle, femurs locked in hip joint, stiff ankles, legs sorta bent.

What was it that Hamlet’s dad–yeah, the ghost–said?

Adieu, adieu, adieu. Remember me!

(Hey, I just had the best idea for Halloween…)

If this list doesn’t help, I’ll use sticky notes!

  • inside edges with natural, femur-rotating movement
  • progressives with natural, femur-rotating movement (and no undue upper body rotation)
  • swing rolls with natural, femur-rotating movement
  • three turns with natural, femur-rotating movement
  • forward outside three turn, edge pull, rise to straight knee (still on inside edge). Don’t forget about the quads.
  • same thing, only from forward inside mohawk. Don’t forget about the quads.
  • forward inside three turn, edge pull, rise to straight knee (still on outside edge). Quads.
  • Outside-outside mohawks, stay on circle, practice bringing free leg in on a diagonal to instep. On left outside entry, imagine an obtuse rather than acute angle of leg to hipbone.




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 “Strategic amnesia

  1. Hooray for awesome lessons! Way to go! Your memories (nightmares?) of the European Waltz sound like my exact sentiments for the brackets-in-the-field moves. Ha ha ha! I hope your body remembers all these positive developments!


  2. Eva, I have not experienced the full force of bracket terror (have only been playing with them) but I know what I’m in for. Courage and fortitude–or at least some amnesia–will get me through. Thanks for all your encouragement–I really appreciate it!


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