Saturday, December 10, 2016

A carrot on the string.

Every skater needs something to aspire towards.  I found this youtube video of up and coming Canadian Junior Champs Marjorie Lajoie & Zachary Lagha flowing effortlessly through the Westminster Waltz.  This of course is a difficult Gold test level dance.  A bit of unobtainium for an old geezer who still hears the click of death occasionally while doing the Rhythm Blues tuck behind steps.  I'd probably hear that click more often if my hearing was better.  Some skaters dream of getting a double Axel or a triple-triple combination, but at least for now this is my carrot on a string.  It's just as far out on the horizon as the aforementioned jumps.  Don't know if I have enough years of skating left in me to get there but I certainly can hope! 

I cribbed the following notes from Skate Canada's description of the dance (  The patterns for both the man's and lady's steps can be found there as well :

  • Waltz 3/4
  • 54 measures of 3 beats per minute
  • 162 beats per minute
  • Optional
  • The time required to skate 2 sequences is 58 sec
The Westminster Waltz is characterized by stately carriage and elegance of line. It should be skated with strong edges and a softly flowing knee action. An upright stance without breaking at the waist is essential to its stately character.
The dance is commenced in Kilian hold that changes to reverse Kilian hold between steps 5 and 6. Steps 1 to 3 form a progressive sequence. Step 3, however, changes to an inside edge after 2 beats so that step 4 may be directed with a lilt and quick body weight change towards the center. Steps 5 and 6 form an inside open mohawk. At the start the man is on the woman’s left but, during the turn, both rotate individually, thus the man exits from the mohawk on the woman’s right. Step 7 should be highlighted by strong edges and good carriage. Step 8 should aim toward the side of the ice surface then step 9 should continue around the lobe.
On step 10, which starts as a cross roll for both partners, the woman turns her three in front of her partner. After the turn the partners join in closed hold, then almost immediately change to open hold for steps 11 and 12 which are cross behind chassés skated on a curve. Step 13 for the woman is an inside forward swing rocker where the swing is held for 6 beats before the turn on count 1 of the second measure. Step 13 for the man is an outside forward swing counter with the same timing. At the moment of turning the partners must be in hip-to-hip position. Step 14 must be taken from the side of the preceding foot.
On step 15 the man follows the woman’s tracing as she turns an inside three on count 4. Steps 16 to 20 are skated in closed hold. Step 16 is a cross roll for both partners. Step 17 has a very moderate progressive movement and afterwards both partners step wide for the start of step 18. Step 20 begins as a cross roll for both partners.
On count 3 of step 21, the woman turns a three aiming for the man’s left shoulder. On count 4 she steps onto a left backward outside edge and extends her right hand across to her partner’s right hand to assume reverse Kilian hold. On step 22 the man assists his partner in shifting across in front of him into Kilian hold in preparation for the restart of the dance. Care must be taken in swinging the free legs on step 22 during the RFO so as not to interfere with the transition of hold. A one-beat change of edge onto an RFI is skated at the end of step 22 to assist in changing the lean for the restart of the dance.
  • Eric van der Weyden and Eva Keats
First Performance
  • London, Westminster Ice Rink, 1938


  1. They are super adorable, George. Thanks for sharing this enjoyable video. I love the term "unobtainium" too; can I borrow it? Have to share a funny story from one of the last times I took a dance test (which was several years ago). I tested after all the many kids skated, and had to ask them to turn the music up--because of course my hearing isn't what it used to be! Luckily the judges thought that was really funny and passed me. Those tuck behinds, by the way, are my nemesis too!

  2. Beautiful deep sure edges, that was fun to watch.

    1. Yes they are fun to watch. I've been watching some of their other videos from various competitions. Each one improves on the last.