Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mission Impossible: The Waltz Troika Affair

Jim, as you know, recent ice dancing kerfuffles has resulted in the tragic loss to the world of the sight of ice dancers whipping around the circle doing 3 turns in waltz hold. The lack of this unique world heritage dance step, is causing destabilization between the United States and the USSR. Other small fake countries whose names we're too lazy make up (but, who represent small east European nations under the boot heel of a communist state that hasn't existed since 1991), have entered into an ice dance race to determine which nation will return 3 turns in waltz hold around the circle to its rightful place in the pantheon of world artistic presentational arts, in time for some really important made up sports event in the near future (by which we mean the Winter Olympics).

Your mission, Jim, should you decide to accept it, is to restore the skill of whipping around the circle in 3 turns while in dance hold to US ice dancers as they enter into the fray of the made up sports event (olympics--again) and defend US ice dance glory against the communist block (that doesn't exist any more).

As always, if you or your team are captured or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your mission..

This is a participation exercise for all you ice dancers. I want to see if my analysis of doing 3 turns in waltz hold around the circle is correct.  After you read my 'solution', if you have a chance to test it with your partner, please come back and comment here, with your results.

Like a couple of people who comment here, I can do the first 3 turn in waltz hold, perfectly fine. Solid edges, nice 3 turn, well balanced switch to the free foot forward+ the original foot  goes forward to the man. Then all heck breaks loose.

The problem is, the second turn, I skid.

The third turn.....even worse. We never get more than three because I'm dizzy.

So, are you a second turn skidder? Or not!  Read on.

I've had luck doing these occasionally, but like a common law wife in a biker gang, they come and they go. Then today, I had a revelation, and I was able to do them consistently. They're not perfect, but the skid is minimal, and I think I just need a little practice. But I've been here before, and found out I was wrong, so I'm enlisting you, my faithful readers into my testing cycle.

I think, I'm skidding on the second and following turns, because of two points.

a. When I get ready to do the second turn, my hips need to be square to my partner's body.
b. If the hips are aren't square, then my free leg, is actually directly behind my skating leg, instead of off to the side (7 o'clock position).

So even if I'm 'skating directly at the man',  because the hip and the free leg are too far back *it doesn't seem to take much*, as I do the turn, my butt (tuchus) actually has to race to catch up with my chest---and I skid.

I had a chance to try this a couple of times today, and it was much, much better. Getting the hip into position means I have to actively work at it (the free leg position flows from the hip position), and I'm not perfect there yet, but zip zap thunderclap, the skid was almost gone.

The alternate idea, is that it's the free leg only that's causing the problem. If I let the free leg drift behind me, it pulls the hip. If I (somehow) get the free leg off to the side, maybe that will work by pulling the hip forward square to the man.  I haven't tried this yet.

Are you a second 3 turn skidder? Do you have a partner? Are you willing to contribute to science. Try getting the hip square to the man and skate away!

Are you a non-skidder in the 2nd 3 turn department? Try the opposite. Let the hip (and free leg) drift back and see if you skid!

Do you accept the mission?

5 minutes is all I ask.

Do it for beginner ice dancers everywhere!

This blog will self-destruct in 5 seconds.


  1. I think this is the support you're looking for - what I call a Real dance:

  2. Ah, Usova and Zhulin. The masters.

    I watched the video. It gave me good pointers on foot position. Maybe I'm placing my foot wrong.

  3. Is it bad that I read the first part of this post whilst humming the Mission:Impossible theme?

    But yes, I am a second turn skidder and a third turn balker. Getting into the correct position is random, but good when it works.

  4. Wow. I'm too young. I never knew there was a MI show. It looks good too.