Monday, October 21, 2013

And so it begins.

Last Saturday I had my first private ice dance lesson.  I'm starting off at the bottom of the ISI dance ladder, learning (at least attempting to learn) the mandatory patterns for chasses, progressives, and forward swing rolls.  It seems that my life has been taken over by little maps and diagrams:

For the Chasse Sequence, after the entry steps, one holds a LFO edge for a count of two, lifts the left foot on the count of three (while on a RFI edge) and then finishes on a LFO edge to the count of four.  The pattern repeats on a RFO edge as one moves down the long axis of the rink.  At least I think that's what's going on.

The Progressive Sequence is similar but with a cross over (actually, a more refined "cross under") replacing the Progressive's lift at the three count.

For me, the Swing Rolls, each held for a count of six was the easiest.  I probably looked like an idiot going down the long axis silently mouthing one, two, three, four, five, six over and over...

So far I've been spared the typically dreadful music that accompanies low level patterns but I assume that will end soon.  In the meantime let's listen to something soothing.  If you ever get a miserable song stuck in your head, just hum the tune "the girl from Ipanema" and your misery will be over.

WARNING: under no circumstance should you ever sing the actual words from that song.  If you do then "the girl from Ipanema" will replace the first stuck song, and for that predicament there is no known antidote.

I'll not have a lesson this coming Saturday as the rink is given over to a Halloween party (free admission if you wear a costume or bring can goods for charity; I plan on doing both).  So, I get a week's reprieve before coming to grips with the  Dutch Waltz.  More then.  Ta.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Steppin' Out

FS-1 celebration is over.  I'm now coming to grips with the elements in FS-2, one of which is this 10-step dance sequence.  Apologies for the slightly crumbled copy but I needed it at first because although there are only ten steps I just couldn't keep them straight without a road map. I stuffed it in my pocket while attempting to run through the thing. The "sway" after the initial cross-over is just a left foot edge change before the open Mohawk.  The step behind (step Nr 7) isn't too bad as long as I keep the preceding Mohawk well checked and remember to bend my knees enough to keep the knee cap over the toes during that maneuver.  Not smooth yet but getting there.  Heading to the rink for the 3:30-5:30 public since I've time on my hands courtesy of our Tea Cup Congress. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Finally. I. Passed. Free-Style 1.

 Ta Da...

It only took me 32 years, but  I am persistent if nothing else.  Of course I probably should deduct all the years in between now and 1981 when I finished my Masters degree at the University of Delaware and moved to the University of Maryland before I was ready to test on the ice.  In those days Maryland didn't give a hoot in hell about figure skating and even now skating is a limited sport at UM.  Perhaps a more meaningful metric is that it took me almost exactly a year to move from Delta to FS-1.

So now I get to brag a little: how many skaters can claim they're better in their 60s than they were in their 30s?  Of course it helps to have a relatively small hill to climb, but bragging rights are bragging rights! To be honest, I did have to retest on one element: the two foot spin.  During my "program" I only got five and a half rotations of the required six revs.  Upon retesting I somehow managed stay off my drag picks long enough to squeak out the missing half rotation.

Up to this point most of what I was encountering during lessons was familiar territory.  Perhaps introduced in a diffrent order and taught in a different way from back in the 70s but still noddingly familiar.  Getting my body to do some of them again took a lot of convincing.  Beyond this point lies terra incognita.  How many rungs will I climb on the Free-Style ladder?  Good question.  I tend to take things a rung at a time so not to become too dispirited.  My current group lesson instructor told me that I'll hate FS-2, not because of how she judges my potential but more because all of her past students have struggled with this level.  I plan on engauging a coach for private ice dance lessons as well as continuing with FS in the group. With my current minimum of accumulated skills, I think now is the time to explore whether or not I have the musicallity to skate and chew gum at the same time.  We shall see!