Wednesday, November 30, 2016

En Garde!

Unlike a lot of rinks which have rules about which skater has the right of way, free style sessions at our rink tend to be like wild west cattle towns--lawless and unregulated.  Music will suddenly come on and coaches just assume that everyone in our relatively small community of serious skaters will somehow recognize (perhaps via osmosis) who's music is playing and thus which boopsie is "in program" with the attendant right of way.  Well, sorry to disappoint but a lot of us simply don't know which music goes with what skater.  As can be imagined with 20 or so fast skaters simultaneously on the ice, things do get a little hairy from time to time.  Week after week I find myself wondering why don't the powers that be institute a belt or vest to indicate the skater who's music is playing so that the rest of us know who the hell to stay clear of?

As seen at most civilized free-style sessions.

This past Tuesday I had my usual dance lesson during the latter half of a free-style session which stretches from 5:15 to 7:15 pm.  The usual crowd was on the ice but I immediately noticed that one young skater was wearing an orange vest.  Could it be?  Here on my home ice?  Well, yes!  The music played over the rink speakers and the vested skater went through her program, clearly as the Queen Bee with the right of way.  Wow.

Not only that but there was a second orange vest for the next skater such that precious seconds of expensive free-style ice time wouldn't be wasted while the exiting skater handed off the vest to the next in line.  Not every coach and skater adhered to the newly instituted vest system but, hey, it's a start. Someday brittle old men will be able to dance without quite so much body armor.

Meanwhile, dance coach and I continued to refine my progressives and tuck behinds.  The RB is getting to the point that an ice dance couple, who are streets ahead of your old diarist, told coach A. that she needs to get me to smile more.  Apparently my facial expression is a bit grim as we charge down the ice.  No doubt an outward reflection of me holding on for dear life while attempting to apply all those coachly admonishments that are racing around in my head.  If that's all they can find to pick at perhaps I am making a little progress!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Bogata by bus.

I found this tune on youtube.  I must go see if it's available for downloading.  I can see myself going down the long axis of the rink practicing alternating progressives and swing rolls to it.  It's four count beat is strong enough that even guys, like your old diarist, who have limited musicality can ID the strong beat.

As for my progressives, they're progressing.  This week's tip--Coach A told me to think "toe point" as I skim the progressing foot forward as a way to keep my right foot from dragging the heel of that blade.  I think I'm making "progress".  Anyway, enjoy the tune:

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Progressing with progressives

Depending on your viewpoint, our long National nightmare is either just beginning or just ending.  But this is a skating blog so I'll not dwell on that.

At the beginning of my own nightmare weekly lesson, I told coach A that I wanted to devote the lesson to coming to grips with progressives.  The week before she'd given me a homework assignment which included practicing progressives in an effort to more smoothly skim the ice with the progressing skate; I can do that if I'm actively thinking about just that, but in the heat of the moment (while thinking about the next step(s) of a dance) I tend to lapse back into lifting the skate off the ice--which one does during the extension part of a forward stroke, but when returning the blade to the ice for the progressive I tend to put down the heel of the blade rather than the entire length of the blade.  I soloed my current status for her comments and then we skated together doing just progressives down the long axis and again while skating the RB pattern.  Even while consciously thinking about it my progressives were still pretty much hit or miss.

Coach A then introduced the following drill for this week's  practice assignment:  start a progressive from a forward swizzle--sort of a cross and tuck.  Basically, one does the swizzle and while keeping both skates on the ice, one slides the progressing skate forward (think two foot glide) and in front of the skating foot, and at the same time tucks the skating foot back and to the outside for the extention.  At first this felt very precarious and she had me to try it at the boards.  Before the lesson time was up, I was able to do this drill on the circle.  Counterclockwise currently feels steadier than clockwise but with practice that should sort itself out.  I must remember to keep a bit of space between my two feet so to avoid clacking the blades together!