I've advanced a lot, so for this first lesson in a month, I ask for an 'all backwards lesson' to fix the bad habits that have crept in without a coach to fix them. So we start with backward stroking, then back edges, and power threes. I blow Dance Coach's mind. The last time he saw me do any of these, I was hesitant, slow and wobbly. There's still plenty of stuff to fix, but I have power, control and no fear. Right now, I'm finally at the stage where I can get into some real skating skills.
Then he asks me to do back crossovers. I start with counter-clockwise. They're big, strong steady back crosses (thanks Cruella!) with good arm position, no hunching, and some speed. His jaw doesn't exactly drop, but he's obviously surprised. I do a couple of rings around the center circle, then skate up to him and say, "Wanna see me do alternating back crosses?"
He pulls his lower lip. I can sense his Russian mock mockery coming up. "If you think you can do them."
I lay down a rink's length of advanced alternating back crosses. My eyes are twinkling. "Did you see what I did wrong?"
"Of course, your extension..."
I laugh. "I'm sure that's true, but didn't you see for clockwise crosses I do an underpush? Rather than a crossover. I can't break the habit."
His eyes narrow. "Do it again." Then he makes me do it on the circle. "It's not obvious when you do it alternating,..... but it shows when you do them on the circle."
Anyway, he makes me do alternating 'side bends' where I do two footed back edges as if I'm going to do a back cross, but don't actually do the cross. At the last second I go in the opposite direction and get on the correct edges for the next 'cross'. After a few of these, with him grunting instructions at me I can finally do clockwise back crossovers correctly and not fall back on the underpush.
Still, for a few minutes, it was fun to mess with Dance Coach's head!