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.

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Stumble Samba!

Long lesson this evening to make up for the one I will miss this Friday when the session is cancelled. As it’s a public holiday here there was only one other couple on the ice so we got a fair bit down.

Coach started with some arm movements and other things that once more demonstrated my extreme lack of co-ordination! Coach included some small section of the Viennese Waltz which involved a cross behind, cross in front going backwards, which, given how much I like cross behinds (i.e. not at all) went surprisingly well. We then moved onto twizzles, and I actually did start to do something vaguely resembling them on one foot, hanging on to coach’s hand for dear life. Can’t honestly say I’m close to doing them on my own, but apparently they were turning properly without looping or skidding. Left foot much easier than right (still tapping free foot down there). My balance is a bit off – have to remember to keep my weight over the skating foot.

We then moved on to some general exercises, which was great,¬† because I actuallly enjoy doing drills and also feel I really need to practice some basic things like turns away from the dances. I actually thought this part of the lesson went pretty well. It was exercises on the circle, doing crossovers then mohawk, back crossovers then step to forward. Repeat. Then the same in the other direction, and then again with three turns instead of mohawks. I was pleasantly surprised that the three turns went reasonably well, because I normally have a block on these when I’m away from the barrier. I mean they’re not brilliant – I’m sure they still look like tentative beginner turns, but they didn’t feel scary or unstable, so that’s a good thing, and I would also call it progress.

Moving on to the dances, we started with Swing Dance, which I hadn’t done in a while, but that felt okay. The mohawk is back to being in the wrong place on the rink, but I think that can be fixed relatively easily, and as I said, I hadn’t done it in a while. Still need to curve more on the chasses, they’ve gone flat again.

Fourteen Step needs neat feet, according to coach and I cannot disagree. It’s very untidy at the moment, but that’s very difficult to fix when the dance is so fast. So it needs lean, edges, and tidiness. One good thing is that I’m consistently doing the outside mohawk now, to the extent that I can now do it even when it’s a little ‘off’, whereas before I would have just baulked if it didn’t feel quite right. Now if I could just get the damn cross behind – I miss it Every.Single.Time.

Skipped Foxtrot at my request (I think it could do with a little break so I can come back to it fresh), and moved on to Silver Samba. We did some work on the difficult bit (i.e. the second end pattern before the re-start), and boy is it difficult! There’s lots of cross in fronts, cross behinds and whatnot (yay….), and ‘wobbly’ would be my best description of how it all is at the moment, although it did improve during the course of the lesson, particularly once I remembered to keep my hold strong (that whole section is all done in backwards killian). As for the rest of it, the ‘easy’ (relatively speaking) bit, meaning the second long axis, is okay, and I think the first end pattern is coming along, although I’m not confident on the hoppy crossovers yet. I was a bit more confident about the three turn following on from the exercises earlier in the lesson though, so that really helped. The harder side, with the multiple same directionback¬† chasses in a row, with slips/slides, is still a bit of a mess. It will probably get better when I can remember the steps on my own. I did stumble my way through one full sequence with coach at the end of the lesson though (stumble being the operative word for the end pattern!), so that was some sort of achievement.

Happy with the lesson on the whole, and having a full hour really gave us time to work through things.

Edging Away – Practice Monday 11th April 2012

An hour’s solid practice today. Didn’t make much progress, but did a lot of practice.

Spent quite some time on back edges. Every time someone breaks these down for me in a new way and we start from scratch again I feel like I move further and further away from actually being able to just do them. Today was trying to get the push in the right direction, even if I then went around the curve on two feet. And looking up. But I didn’t do that. Just can’t put everything together at the same time. I can do the edge, or I can go in the right direction, or I can push. Add in the distraction of trying not to be run into/run into anyone and they’re hopeless pretty quickly.

Tried spinning for the first time in ages. Nope, still can’t spin. I think this is something that is forever destined to remain a mystery to me. I can’t even see how one can possibly spin. I can squeak out two revolutions of a two foot spin at most.

Three turns. Good if I’m hanging onto someone. Useless otherwise.

Mohawks. See Three turns.

Fourteen step. Getting better (so long as not done to time).

Beginner Twizzle Exercise: this is the two foot version, doing a 360. Think I am sometimes getting the right spot on the blade now, which is good and not too scary. Had some help trying these on one foot as well (actually more like double three turns, rather than twizzles as such). Came tantalisingly close to getting the balance right, but tending to drop my free hip at the wrong moment and not being quite over the skating foot. Fun to try the not-really-twizzles as there’s no actual pressure to get them right at this stage.

So a mixed bag. Looking forward to the day when I begin to make progress again!