Saturday, November 16, 2013

Adios Muchachos

I went to the ice rink for my fourth ice dance lesson this afternoon. My lessons take place during a busy Saturday public session so things can get, well, a bit "busy".   Today the place was heaving with ice tourists, birthday party urchins and klingons.    

(klingon\ noun; the lowest level of ice tourist.  Generally dragged to the rink against their will by frenemies or extended family.  Usually found with death grip (clinging onto) the dasher boards, nervously taking stiff walking steps on rental skates).

My lesson is scheduled for 2:30 pm and the session starts an hour earlier.  This gives me plenty of time to warm up and plenty of time for the crowd to turn the ice into a rutted combat zone.  Coach Kelly had been at the rink giving lessons since 7 am.  When we skated up to each other I could tell she was hesitant to attempt a lesson in the midst of the crowd.  But I said "we're here, let's do it".  We eased into the traffic with me demonstrating back outside swing rolls and Kelly giving me correction.  I almost got collected by a three foot tall person with an E-Z skater aimlessly going against traffic.  Fortunately no blood was drawn and I did get some good tips from Kelly about timing of the swing which wasn't obvious to me.  This is why it pays to have a coach!

After that we launched into the Canasta Tango.  I had attempted to skate it on my own in traffic and hadn't made much headway.  I told her to just skate me through it so I'd get an idea of where the dance was supposed to be on the ice and after that I wanted to follow her and watch her slide chasses and the cross roll at step 14 in order to mentally capture a good model to mimic at at quieter session next week.

To say it was hectic is an understatement.  As we flowed through traffic my brain recorded a bizarre kaleidoscope of snap-shot images:  one ice tourist went down hard and banged the backside of her head on the ice.  It took several minutes before the ice monitors could move her off-ice.  Then there were people's expressions as we cut through the crowd in dance mode.  Some smiled as we passed, others looked on in puzzlement.  Kids were cutting in and out as we skated the pattern.

We next worked on the step behinds for the Rhythm Blues.  I could do the two in which the right foot crosses behind the left but the middle one where the left foot crosses behind the right is going to take some work (and probably a couple shots of rum).

At the end of the lesson Kelly gave me a CD with dance music covering ice dances from the Dutch Waltz to Rocker Foxtrot.  I listened to it in the car on the way home and my first impression was "What Dreck!"  I don't think that our rink has up-graded dance test music since the '70s.  I remember being turned off by some of this same music back in my University of Delaware days.  Fortunately the music for The Fiesta Tango (which I'll approach much later) is a tune I like:  "Adios Muchachos" .

Here's a version way better than the rink's pathetic version.

Americans will probably better remember Louis Armstrong's version (When we are dancing and you're dangerously near me, I get "idears", yea "idears")

This may help me survive the Dutch Waltz and Rhythm Blues music selections--something to look forward to....


  1. You brave soul. And I feel you on that step behind in the R&B. I can do the right foot behind, but trying to do the left foot behind is not happening. Yet.

  2. I suspect that sooner or later we'll both be brave enough to put weight down on that right inside edge!

  3. Q: I'm sitting here wondering to myself if I misstated which edge I'm having trouble with--ice dancing is bad enough without dialing in dyslexia! I need to put on my skates and see what's up with those steps...! I hope to get out to a quiet public tomorrow afternoon.

    1. I just looked at the pattern. So for me, being on my LFO and then stepping behind to be on my RFI, I'm ok. Not great but ok. It's when I'm supposed to immediately step behind with my left foot to change to a LFO edge that I can't quite do. The pattern says optional for that step, but I feel like them's challenging words! I must do it!

    2. Challenging words indeed! If this was easy klingons would do it.

  4. You are brave for attempting to dance on that public session, I figure once you are on a quieter session you'll be able to focus on your steps a little better and everything will fall into place. On the other hand if you had a bunch of real Klingons clearing your way with batliths or any other Klingon weaponry then most of your traffic problems would be solved. :) My old dance coach would occasionally "Rottweiler" for me when the session was especially crowded, he would skate a head of me as I did the dance and shoo people out of my way.

  5. My greatest fear is tripping over "little people" while skating backwards. They populate an area below an adult's sight line and can be next to impossible to see before you're right on top of them. It's sort of like I'm the Titanic and they're small but v. dangerous ice bergs. I'm of the opinion that skaters in that three foot tall category should be required to wear warning beacons that flash their locations at all times.

  6. They should have to wear warning beacons like this?

    I don't advocate the use of the flamethrower though.

  7. I agree, the flamethrower wouldn't be a plus for ice quality. Also we'd need to coach the Minions to do their "Be-Doo" thing more to the timing of a nice Wiener Waltz: 1, 2, turn, 1,2, turn...