Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Glad to see that you're taking a break from all that yummy food and drink (not to mention from all of those enchanting relatives) long enough to check what's cooking On Thin Ice.  Most rinks, including mine are closed today.  By tomorrow I'm going to need to skate all day to burn off the accumulated calories! 

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?


  1. I have to skate during public sessions because I can't afford the freestyle sessions so I can totally relate! It's always crowded and there are certain things you just can't do :(

  2. I'm hoping that the population will start to dwindle after the holidays. I know it will for the morning publics. How often I can attend those lightly trafficked sessions will depend on my work schedule. We shall see.

  3. I struggle more with the step behind in the R&B than the cross step, step behind of the fiesta tango. Go figure.

    The issue I have with the schedule is lack of weekend freestyle. I can only take "time off" work two days a week. To get a 3rd day of practice in, I need a weekend. And hockey takes up all the weekend ice time. boo.

  4. @Q: I feel your pain. I'm fairly lucky in that my work schedule tends to get me in to the lab for a few hours over most weekends. I then can use those "credit hours" when things permit during the mid-week and thus get a reasonable shot at low population ice a couple times per week. This time of year the weekend sessions at the rink are like church--packed. But in a month or so both venues will quiet down and I'll have an easier time of it during my Saturday dance lesson and also will be able to get my favorite pew (I tend to be late to church...)!