With that bit of admin out of the way, I suppose I should mention that I was testing the Cha Cha, a Pre-Bronze level dance. To me, the Cha Cha represents the last of the "easy" pattern dances; i.e. no turns and no backwards skating. The end pattern is a little tricky with a cross in front immediately followed by a tuck-behind step. These precede a sweeping inside swing roll, the momentum of which can take the dancing couple perilously close to the boards in the far corner as they attempt the two cross steps that mark the repeat of the dance. But as long as one doesn't rush those steps, the dance itself is straight forward. Having said all that, Coach A. constantly implores me to smile like I'm actually enjoying all this rather than hanging on for dear life--particularly when we're gliding passed the judges. I occasionally humor her and manage a grimace. Maybe when we test the Tango all this smiling and smirking can be put to rest...
Ice dancing seems to be on an up-tick at our rink. Reviewing the final schedule I was gratified to see that ice dance testers outranked free style testers by a ratio of over 4:1.
Ice dances from Prelim to silver were being tested with the dancers split into three groups. I arrived at the rink an hour before my group's warm up time and was informed that things were running about ten minutes ahead of schedule. Coach A., my partner for the test, arrived shortly after that. We were called to the ice at 12:58 for our six minute warm up. I'm testing on the "masters" track (I'll take all the leniency I can get). I need more like twenty minutes to properly warm up--and that should be followed by a sandwich, a beer and a nap. Six minutes! I don't know what I'll do when I have to warm up for the harder dances which follow this Cha Cha.
Actually, they gave our group more like eight minutes since we were (a). ahead of schedule, and (b). one of the skaters was stuck in traffic fairly close to the rink. She did make it.
So, after our brief warm up the testing began. I was way down the skating order for my group and was scheduled to skate next to last (7th out of 8 skaters)--so much for the warm up! There was a little drama when an early skater in our group had a spot of brain fade and "checked out" after two patterns of the Fourteen Step (higher level dances require three patterns plus a solo if one is doing the standard track). Her coach/partner forged ahead, correctly assuming that they were going to start the required third pattern and as a consequence the skaters touched blades and he went down hard. After he sorted himself out the judges permitted them to complete the dance. I didn't hear if she passed or not.
And then it was my turn. At least the music was familiar. During the second of the two required patterns I touched (my own) blades briefly but managed to stay on my feet. After we got off the ice Coach A. said she was pleased overall but that I had skated with softer knees during warm up. I always seem to put down my best efforts when it doesn't count! There was nothing to do but wait for the runner to bring over my scores. Much to my relief all three judges saw fit to give me passing marks--just barely passing marks--but a pass is a pass:
|"Knows the steps". I certainly hope so!|
|Can't make out what the top comment is all about. Something to do with the wide-step. At least this judge liked the fact that my timing was ok and my dancing exhibited "some lilt".|
|"Slight rushing at times". Almost got me in trouble when my blades clicked towards the end of the second pattern!|
Ta Ta and Smooth Skating!