Saturday, October 29, 2016

It Takes A Village! Pre Bronze Dances Passed!

It takes a village.  You hear that a lot.  It was definately true in this case.  Our rink recently lost our only ice dance coach Kendall Tupper LeClair.  Last summer I took a couple of group classes she taught and we learned the basic steps of the Dutch Waltz and the Canasta Tango while I attended.  At that time I didn't know I would be finding a dance partner and persuing taking dance tests.

A few months ago I started working on ice dance regularly with Mike Otis.  He's a member of our club and also a USFSA judge who skated from time to time.  I am happy to say I think he is thinking about skating as much as judging these days!  He partnered with me for my Preliminary dances on June 3, 2016.

We have been self teaching ourselves the Swing Dance, Cha Cha and Fiesta Tango (which I just learned about 3 weeks ago) without any regular coaching.  Mike had already passed the Swing Dance some time ago and he knew most of the steps of the other dances - and we often referred to our Ice Dance book and YouTube!

Each of us had some lessons apart from one another privately and we had a handful of last minute lessons trying to smooth out the rough edges (literally) close to test time.

I thank you all.  It really does take a village:

Kendall Tupper LeClaire                    - Lilac City Figure Skating Club, Spokane WA
Julie Nixon                                         - Lake City Figure Skating Club, Coeur d' Alene, ID
Peter Sasmore                                     - Redwood City, CA
Ryan Yearous                                      - Missoula Figure Skating Club, Missoula, MT
Marie Furnary.                                    -  McCall Figure Skating Club, McCall, ID

And to my many YouTube mentors ..... especially to

Kseniya Pomomaryova & Oleg Altukhov (their website)
Fiesta Tango  YouTube direct

And to

Daven Lee and Nick Hart

.... Now that I am done with all the THANK YOU's.  Here is our test.
Below that are MY judges critiques.  I did not post Mike's.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Skate By The Lake - McCall ID

I've been in McCall since Wednesday.  Getting some much needed ice and lesson time with coach, Marie Furnary.  I'm not a morning person.  Thursday I skated at 6:45 am.  Friday we skated at 5:45 am (and this is mountain time .. 1 hour earlier than home!) Tomorrow we have 15 minutes of practice ice at 6:00 am and test at 6:50, 7:04 and 7:18 respectively.

I hope we pass our tests.  5 in total.  We are both testing this time - except the Swing Dance.  I am the only one being tested as Mike has already passed that test.

Here was our last lesson and run throughs -

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

We Get Up


This is US figure skating's new campaign both to recruit skaters demonstrating that this is a sport that will make you tough and able to succeed in many things if you can conquer "the ice" -  also sending a strong message against bullying.  The campaign just happened to appear on my Facebook page on the very same day that I had an exquisite fall while skating pairs doing side-by-side flip jumps.   I could not resist the opportunity to jump on this bandwagon and put in my two cents as an adult skater.

First from US Figure Skating WeGetUp on Facebook or

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Lap Dance ???

That got your attention didn't it?  Ha!   Hank and I had our regular pairs lesson today.  While we are "off season" ... we are back to working on the fundamentals of skating, tracking and trying to learn some new things. Two of which are new carry lifts that we can use in our Christmas program.
One is not really a lift but a two footed lunge for the man and a 1 footed lunge for the lady with the left leg bent backward behind the man !!!  #2 is a carry lift ... I will now refer to as the "lap dance" !!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Monday Mambo ...

Well, not exactly.  It was the Monday Cha Cha.  We worked on the Swing Dance and the Fiesta Tango too buy the camera was off.

We are working on all three of these dances and making about as much progress as the ice time we are putting into it. 3 hours a week minus all the time we spend talking about it and that doesn't leave much practice time.  It's like watching a football game, fast forward through all the instant replays and commercials and you get about 12 minutes per game of the ball in play!  And apparently one of us was having fun video-bombing!

_   I had a great MIF lesson with Berkley today but I didn't put my camera out during the freestyle session.  I really wish I had.  We spent the entire lesson working on Power Circles.  I basically learned that I don't know how to do proper crossovers most of the time. We are looking for the RUMBLE on each stroke and on both feet.  I am guilty of the crossed under foot just going for a ride.  I can push, but to get my weight over the right part of the skating foot and really press into the ice on the crossed under foot (both directions forward and backward) - that is going to take some time.
Next week I will publish some video of the exercise she gave me.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Give Me A Break ....

... from Swing, Fiesta Tango and Cha Cha!

The thing about ice dancing especially at my level is you aren't doing much "off leash" so to speak.  You are so busy tethered to each other, counting 1-2-3-4 and most of the dance is facing forward except the Swing Dance and a brief (but scary) Mohawk on the Fiesta Tango.

It felt good to let my hair down today ... although in contrast I put it up in a bun!  Last time I skated with Hank my pony tail was slapping him in the face !

We had a great practice.  No lesson today but I started and ended the video with pix of us with our pairs coach Chris Anders.  I give him a lot of credit for dealing with a couple of old dogs fighting the good fight on old age!

1/2 the practice was not recorded - but we had some good SBS Camel spins and stroking and tracking exercises during our warm up.

We tried the fun "crocodile" spin today.  We are working on getting the Axel lift up with me on 1 foot.  It didn't happen today, but I am practicing more off ice and hopefully it will come.  We'll have a lesson on Tuesday and start thinking about music for our Christmas program December 10th.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Gold moves in the field practice

 Starting to get weekly lessons working on these gold moves in the field. I'm a long way off but I hope to take the test in about six months.  Double three turns and brackets are the hardest part but all of the moves are difficult for me.  My core strength and balance especially on my left foot and edges needs a lot of practice.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Working on the Cha Cha

Sunday afternoon public session on our smaller rink... this was a first for me.  Complete with disco lighting! We did the best we could.  Today I really dissected the video and I can clearly see I have some major posture issues when it comes to ice dancing. I tend to lean forward on each step rather than skating  "through the hips".  My extension is weak, my slaloms are more like Stem- Christie's from the old skiing days.  Without a coach I have to rely on my own instincts after viewing my videos and comparing them to those who can dance well.  I sure hope to find one soon that I can get regular lessons from.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Frustrated but determined

 The eight and nine step on the cha-cha I has me really flustered. I get it I just can't make my body do it… Yet

Friday, October 7, 2016

Finally A Lesson In Ice Dance

We have finally gotten a lesson together in ice dance.  I seem to be the one with the PROBLEM !!

Cha-Cha steps 8 and 9 are not happening for me.  Lifting the left leg on the 2nd beat and doing a 1/2 beat L R afterwards is eluding my cognitive brain/muscle memory.

As for the Fiesta Tango ... I'll let you enjoy the wreck!


 I didn’t skate at all since last Thursday so I guess I get what I deserve in the lack of progress department.  I am just so frustrated over...