Today I’ll start with the music: a medley of songs from Charlie Chaplin films, played by a group called Ensemble Vivant, that I heard on the radio this morning. I really like their version of “Smile” (just about 6:00)
Chaplin’s films always have that wistful moment that makes you want to cry even when you’re laughing.
Skating, on the other hand, has the opposite effect, at least for me. Some of my more pitiful practice sessions involve one hilarious move after another. Like when I push from a right back inner edge to a left back outer edge. Wah! There goes that arm again! It’s endless slapstick out here–and I don’t mean hockey.
It’s impossible for me to feel truly sad about my skating these days. I am finally figuring out how to lick some of those habits that have held me back, and making good progress on basic skills.
I am going to talk about three “big picture” things that I’m trying to do differently these days, two of which involve the relationship of the free side to the skating side.
One is to keep my free side engaged and free hip “closer” to the skating hip. I have this tendency to drop my skating hip, which pulls me off my edge. This can be very subtle, just enough to make the edge less efficient.
Picture taking a walk hand-in-hand with a toddler who seems very happy to go with you, but then suddenly goes all reluctant and limp. That’s my free side, throwing a tantrum. Nothing to be done–except pick it up and carry it lovingly around.
Two is to keep my weight over the pushing side longer, rather than dropping immediately to the new side. This involves continuing to support my body through the skating hip (again, the toddler analogy applies) even while bending and pushing. I find that that I have the most trouble doing this when pushing from my right side. This is probably related to . . .
Three, which is to put more oomph into my right side. I’m only now discovering that I’m not really over my right side edges some of the time, or if I am, I’m not really engaged and into the ice. This is especially true on that funny right back inside to left back outside push, when my push goes limp. (Another way to think about it, courtesy of Ari: I shift my weight and pick up my old leg, rather than actually pushing onto a new edge.)
All three things are not new, but seem like particularly good things to be doing right now, plus learning how actually to cross my legs (more on that at a future date). I’m actually using my right foot to push backwards now.
So exciting. Learning to skate = discovering body parts that you didn’t know could be so fun! Like this happy baby.
And these happy skaters!
- basic idea: where does your free leg goes on forward outside edge? (illustration with dotted line).
- cross rolls, using that concept.
- Starlight Waltz, introduction through chassés. On cross roll to American three, keep weight over right at the end of the roll, then bend and set down new foot on same circle (don’t drop in for the three).
- Chassés: use foot to push directly onto new curve (not flat). Good edges throughout!
- back inside on circle with straight free leg: work on maintain circle and speed and not wobbling.
- back outside eights: practice moving free leg and head in precise 1/4 stages.
- forward inside three, back outside three on circle. Practice threes with free leg crossed in front
- forward mohawk, push (keeping free leg in front), back outside three. Use feet to push and allow rotation on new edge.
- mohawk, back outside three in circle. Strong check out of back three.