Last Saturday's lesson took place at the beginning of the public rather than at the mid point. And of course both the ice was smoother and the initial population was smaller. The population density remained at a tolerable level for the duration of the half hour that defines my lesson. I think this timing will become permanent since none of the other Saturday students are attempting dance and so for the most part can take their lessons in "quiet" parts of the rink even after the ice tourist population swells. I'm the only Saturday problem student needing acres of real estate! Coach K and I worked on the Canasta Tango. I can now (most of the time) remember the steps (in the correct order!) but K had to draw a curve on the ice with her water-proof marker so that I'd finally "get" where on the ice the first swing roll, the following edge step and the slide chasse were supposed to be. Pattern dances are unflinchingly specific in terms of timing and placement. After drawing me a picture I finally got it.
I still haven't skated this dance or the Dutch Waltz to music--I have the music but haven't bothered with it yet. Now that I know the steps and sort of know where I need to be on the ice I can start figuring out how to move the various songs from the CD, where they currently reside, over to my iPod shuffle. The shuffle might not be the ideal gizmo for this since I don't think music can be organized into separate files like on other iPods and, if I'm not careful, the shuffle will indeed live up to its name and "shuffle" the order of the music. I probably need to go to an Apple store and have a "genius" explain it all to me. Ain't technology grand?
After about 20 minutes of running through the Canasta Tango I asked K to help me with step-behinds and back cross rolls. She watched while I demo-ed my step-behind and gave me some pointers on how to make it smoother. We then worked on back cross-rolls. I soon could do a scratchy version of those and with further practice have since discovered that my getting more confident with the cross-rolls has had a positive effect on the step-behind as well. It's always a plus when learning one element spills over, in a good way, and helps with a related maneuver. For those not familiar with back cross-rolls here is a youtube clip of a good skater doing some:
These are hard to practice on anything but uncrowded ice since you really can't look over your shoulder(s) while doing them. So far I haven't picked off a munchkin pushing an EZ-skater, but increased practice involving back cross-overs, swing-rolls and cross-rolls may force my hand and push me towards the vastly more expensive free-style pick up sessions or into taking time off to attend the early morning publics which have very low traffic. The FS-sessions would cost more money, while the the early work-day publics would "cost" more in time off from work--the eternal "quality time" trade off--which is more cost effective?