OK, the district championships are over and while they were great fun to watch, coach Mike says it's time to get back in the harness (figuratively--I'm not advanced enough for the jump harness). A couple posts ago I outlined the first half of our FS-1 test program. You can refresh you memory by clicking on the link in the preceding sentence if you don't want to scroll down a noodge. Last Saturday he gave me and my three foot tall classmates the rest of the moves. The kids quickly caught on but I realized that I'd need some practice time to knit all the parts together without ploughing a furrow. With only a couple of lessons to go the heat is on. So it was off to a couple of public sessions earlier this week.
Recall that our program left off with us doing a forward spiral and dropping into a lunge. The last half picks up at that point. We rise from the lunge, do a couple of forward inside edges and then a forward inside Mohawk which places us in position to do our required outside and inside back edges. From the last back inside edge we step around and do a waltz jump, then a couple of back cross-overs, step into a two-foot spin and finally stop with a presentation pose. The required elements for FS-1 are the forward pivot, back inside and outside edges, the waltz jump, the half-flip jump, a forward spiral and the two-foot spin. The lunge, forward and back cross-overs, forward edges, Mohawk, etc. that knit the program together are from lower test levels and are not graded--which is a good thing. That blasted ccw Mohawk cost me a broken radius last year. I'm rigging the order of my forward edges to set me up for a cw Mohawk instead! We'll see if Mike buys it...
Monday afternoon I got to the rink and saw one of my classmates. Lydia, smiling as ever, quickly got down to practicing the program. I was distracted by a couple of adult skaters and instead of working on the program I got involved in learning the steps for the chassé which of course has nothing to do with the business at hand.
Now the several figure skating books that I have attempt to explain the chassé but either they don't get the job done or I'm a poor reader because I could never quite figure out what now seems to be a simple sequence of a stroke, followed by lifting the skating foot followed by another stroke by the original pushing foot. This is followed by the same steps but with the roles of the feet reversed: push, lift, push; push, lift, push. I circulated the rink practicing this over and over, mesmerized by the rhythm of thing. I guess it was one of those elements I just needed to see done on-ice. All this was a nice revelation and definitely worth learning, but before I knew it the session was over and I'd accomplished diddly-squat in terms of practicing the program! Yes, I'm easily distracted, sigh... Why is it that when you have a test coming up that almost anything but the assigned task seems so irresistible?
Fortunately for me, Tuesday also offered a late afternoon public session and I was able to get away from the lab in time to take advantage of it. Equally fortunate for me, neither Lydia or my adult skating buddies were present this day and with the rink almost deserted I got down to work. I was able to run through the entire program several times and iron out a few question marks that were part of my faulty recall when making notes after the lesson. And it appears that my half-flip jump is slightly improved. I think at this point if I can get the required six revolutions for the two-foot spin I just may be able to pass this thing. Towards the end of the session I knew it was time to get off the ice as my ability to execute deteriorated. At least I had the satisfaction of a couple of good run-throughs before my performance started to go pear shaped. I'll get another shot practicing all this on Friday afternoon.
The remaining missing puzzle piece is the music. This coming Saturday Mike will no doubt introduce that. I'm not sure how I'll be able to practice timing the program to the music after the lesson unless I can download what ever he selects to my iPod shuffle. Our test will take place on the last Saturday of the month, the 27th. On the 1st of May the rink closes for two months. It would be nice to escape FS-1 and have the last couple of skates before the annual shut down just to enjoy skating! We shall see.