Cross at Cross Behinds

Really good lesson with Coach1 this week. One of those times when something a coach says suddenly makes everything fall into place. In this case it was “pressing down in the knee bend”. I’d of course heard “more knee bend” before (many, many, many times) and pressing down as well, but for some reason that particular way of phrasing things really helped my back swing rolls. They were more stable and even something approach the correct shape. Actual progress was made.

Picking on more small things in the basic dances now. A few small corrections on Canasta Tango, mainly on the end pattern and the re-start (although this is not the problem it used to be). Was also pleased that the mohawk in the Swing Dance turned out to be repeatable. I assume the next step is getting it in the right position on the pattern. Fiesta Tango is still quite dodgy. The end pattern is not particularly steady, and as for the cross behind….well it’s an issue.

And as it was an issue I decided I would ask Coach2 to help me with it. Oh my goodness, even more of a disaster than cross behinds are usually. Even stuck my toe pick into the ice (although I didn’t go down), which I haven’t done in forever. Needless to say we are completely changing the technique, and I just can’t get the hang of sliding my boot down my leg so it’s already crossed at the point I put my blade onto the ice. Just freaks me out. So a long way to go on that.

On the up side, back edges are showing incremental improvement, although of course I couldn’t reproduce the lightbulb moment from the back swing rolls when skating on my own. But apparently they were a bit more aggressive (or as much as anything I do in skating is aggressive), so that’s good. It’s mainly the outside ones that are the issue, the back insides are sort of coming, in that they get a bit bigger each week – just need to sort out the push between steps.

Anyway, pleased with the dances, not sure where I’m going with cross behinds, jury is out on edges!


Going Backward

So since my last post I’ve added Coach2. At the moment Coach1 will keep concentrating on the dances, whilst Coach2 has the unenviable task of trying to get my back edges and turns in order. Whether Coach2 survives this experience without going crazy remains to be seen.

Coach2 is currently reasonably happy with my forward edges, which I already knew just needed some solid practice and a few reminders regarding technique. I think they could still do with a bit more push, but they’ll do for the moment. Now the challenge is to translate what I’m doing forwards into backwards. If only it were that simple.

I think the back inside edges will come first, although again they need some work on the pushes, which I’m still afraid of doing properly. And haven’t even attempted the full circle at the end of the row yet. As for back outsides, “needs work” doesn’t even begin to describe them. Still, Coach2 is currently still trying to come up with new things that might, possibly, work. The jury is still out as to whether these will ever come good.

Moving onto turns, Coach2 is changing my mohawk technique so that they’re done all on bent legs, rather than rising in the middle.This seems to help, as I’ve started getting the mohawk consistently in the Swing Dance now. As for three turns, still pretty crappy, but I’m hopeful that they will improve with practice. Still having issues with holding the edge going into the turn, rather than just turning immediately.

Moving onto dances, we’re working on smaller tweaks for Dutch Waltz and Canasta Tango, which is a good sign, such as position of the body in the cross roll at the end of the Canasta, and in the restart. Swing Dance is slowly coming. Have almost eliminated the braking before the mohawk, although the speed continues to bother me for now. We’ve also done a bit of work on the Fiesta Tango. Now I really don’t like the mohawk in that, as I know things will be bad if it goes wrong. But at least it’s progress from the first two dances. Other than that, the basics are going reasonably well, with a noticable improvement in forward crossovers in particular.

So the theory is that one day I’ll pass that edges test and then be able to move onto the dances. I think others have more faith in that idea than I.

Back to Basics

So, the first lesson with new coach went quite well.

As expected, we worked on a lot of basic stuff, which was a good thing, as that all needs to be right for everything else to follow. I also quite like just doing edges, chasses and so on every now and then, as it’s sometimes nice to do some easier stuff well (or relatively well anyway). Was also the first time in a long time I was skating with partner who wasn’t a coach, so there was a height adjustment there, but this didn’t go anywhere near as badly as I’d feared.

We started with outside and inside swing rolls in killian hold, mainly working on getting the hold solid, and a little bit on extension. Moved on to edges in waltz hold, forward and backward – more corrections to hold (mostly mine – applying pressure where needed, arm position). Chasses went pretty well, even backwards, which could have gone horribly wrong, as my backward chasses are normally ridiculously shallow. Did some progressives in open hold, which were okay, considering it’s some time since I actually practiced them, though we only did them in the ‘good’ direction. Followed up with some crossovers in killian (never have managed progressives in a closer hold).

Ran through Dutch Waltz a few times, which went fine (it would bloody want to be – I’ve been working on it for long enough!). Had some small corrections of course, but nothing major.

Finished with cross rolls – these still need a lot of work, but that wans’t news. Backward cross rolls was where the big revelation occured. New coach suggested I flex my free foot before placing it, and oh my goodness, it got rid of all the scary toe pick jab, and they started to even feel vaguely stable (not stable enough to want to do them on my own, but less grip of death). Wonderful!

There was also a little bit of work on back edges, but less said about this the better (no change there then).

Anyway, pretty happy with how it all went.




Show Me Your Paso Doble!

Was feeling so tired Friday morning that I didn’t feel like tackling anything particularly difficult in my lesson, so after a warm up Swing Dance (went okay – did the mohawk both times, but the timing was rubbish!), I actually asked to do some edges.

Just some tweaks on the forwards edges, mainly because I kept failing to bring my feet back together before the next strike. Backward edges, whilst much improved, are still in no danger of being ready to test any time soon. The actual edges are at least there now, and I’m not putting my foot down in the middle any more, but they’re shallow. Coach tried adding in the arms to help, but as soon as that happens, I can’t do anything with my feet. I had hoped I might be able to work towards passing the test, so I could then test dance, but no, that still isn’t going to happen. Never mind.

So did some more work on Fourteen Step. Now need to work on getting down in the knees more on the runs, but fairly happy with the rest of it. I am certainly at the point now where I feel like I have more time to think, which is good, and means I can start working on things like remembering to look up!!

On Saturday morning, which I normally only use for practice, coach had a cancellation, so got an impromptu lesson on…Paso Doble. Yes, much, much more advanced than anything I’m currently working on, but Paso Doble means two step in Spanish, so that must mean it’s easier than Fourteen Step, right?

No. Not so much.

The actual steps themselves, taken in isolation, are not that difficult. They’re almost all steps that are already done in the early dances up to Foxtrot. But then you put them in a different combination, and make them really, really fast (obviously we weren’t doing any of this at anything approaching the proper speed, or indeed any speed). So there weren’t really any steps I couldn’t already do. There are, however, an awful, awful lot of cross behinds, all but one going backwards. Yay. Like I don’t hate cross behinds enough already. And the slippy slidy steps were all over the shop – could not get them to run backwards/forwards to save myself. My blades were sliding uncontrollably sideways, and I have absolutely no idea why (no, not due for a sharpening). So that bit was a bit shit, to put it midly. The easy part was actually the mohawk in Foxtrot hold – suprisingly stable. That was the easy part. And there is, apparently a hold more uncomfortable than Foxtrot hold – it’s Foxtrot hold going backwards, but with partner more to one side. Awkward doesn’t even start to describe it. Anyway, got to the point where I managed one full pattern. I’m pretty sure it was completely unrecognisable as a Paso, but lots of fun to work on none the less.