The rink reopened today after the Christmas break. Not sure the rink was completely ready to reopen, as there were sections coned off near the barriers at one end where they clearly hadn’t finished doing maintenance. Upon closer inspection there was a sharp dip right next to the boards (i.e. a 5cm hole). Nevertheless, there was skating. We arrived early, as the normal Skate School session was not on due to school holidays, which turned it into a regular figure skating session, followed by the usual Monday evening dance session.
I can’t say it was my best skate ever. It wasn’t the break that was the issue – it was only a week and a half after all, and that usually doesn’t affect me (let’s face it, there’s not a lot to affect…). Just wasn’t in the right frame of mind. I think the return to skating had snuck up on me before I was ready.
The fresh ice did feel good to skate on though, nowhere near as hard as it usually is, so it felt more secure. I wish it was like this all the time!
Warmed up with some forward edges then did the Novice Foxtrot as an exercise (i.e. very slowly, just doing the steps). For those not in the know, the Novice Foxtrot is a beginner dance unknown outside the UK, and is ‘just’ progressives followed by swing rolls all the way around the rink. Fitting in the end pattern is tricky until you get the hang of it (and sometimes after you get the hang of it). It’s relatively easy when done slowly, but ridiculously difficult when done to the music, which makes me grateful that I will never have to do it to the music again. Unlike Rhythm Blues, however, which is also not in the Australian ice dance syllabus, I’m still happy to do the steps as an exercise, as it’s quite handy for practicing things like doing proper progressives and moving the arms into the correct position. Once I’d done that I did some three turns and mohawks near the barrier to get my eye in (or feet in, or something like that).
Moved on to practicing the edges for the Preliminary test. As I’ve no doubt said before, these are just rows of edges across the rink, starting as three consecutive lobes, followed by a full circle (with cross over at the half way point if needed), then two lobes coming back the other way, followed by a full circle on the other foot. My forward edges are fine in this regard (as they should be, given how much work I did on them with previous coaches), although they’ve been better in the past. My backward edges are still a disaster zone, and I really do despair of them, given how long I’ve been working on them – which must be going on about five years, admittedly with a long break before we moved countries. They just don’t feel safe – there’s really no other way to describe it. If they felt in any way secure I’d be a lot more confident in them. Did have a minor breakthrough with the back insides when told to lift my free hip, which made the lobes larger, but I fear these may not be ready for testing quickly (particularly as I was meant to have them test ready by Christmas, which they clearly are not).
Anyway, we moved on to doing the mohawks from the Swing Dance and Fiesta Tango. It does bother me that we never really do the Fiesta as a dance, we just do bits of it, which makes it much more problematic on the rare occasions when we do run through it in full. We do Swing Dance more often, but that’s easier to do in halves and put together.
Looked briefly at Fourteen Step, which we’re still doing hand in hand. I think I will make it an aim to try and look at doing this in proper hold by mid-year. Also looked at European Waltz three turns. I do not like the speed the builds up in that dance, or even just doing three turn, step forward on the circle. I just don’t like throwing myself into a three turn without being sure I’ll come out the other end.
As the session was quiet, we did the Dutch Waltz and Canasta Tango to the music, which went much as usual. I think we’ve now been doing these so long that I feel a bit stale, and it’s difficult to make further progress. Of course, maybe if I could get past that wretched Preliminary test, I’d be able to test these and put them behind me, but for now we have to keep them in order.
We also did a few other little things, like forward cross rolls, first in open hold, then in killian and then in foxtrot hold (hard!), and finished the session with some Russian stroking in killian hold, which I hadn’t done in ages, and actually quite enjoyed as a result.
All in all, not a great skate, but I guess it was adequate, and also very necessary with a lesson coming up on Wednesday.