Saturday, November 5, 2011

Nov 5 Lesson Post: Ladies and Gentlemen, the Dutch Waltz

For every lesson, Dance Coach manages to appear out of nowhere while I'm on the ice stroking around waiting for lesson to begin. Suddenly there is this Russian guy skating next to me saying "Ready to skate?" How does he do that? Are transporter beams involved?  

Today was all about the Dutch Waltz (DW) as I am testing next month. Since I take lessons on public, think of it as Dutch Waltz Obstacle Course as we have to avoid other skaters and the cones.   When I started out learning it, the DW was the way Dance Coach got me back on my feet after a year off the ice. Now it's my entry into ice dance.

The DW is the simplest ice dance. It has 5 elements: Progressives, forward stroking, swing rolls, skating in hold, and the presentation glide. In the DW the hold is called the Killian. The woman's left arm crosses the man's chest, his right arm is around her back, the skaters hold each other's hands. They do the same steps at the same time. It took me months to get this dance down. It's not hard but I was relearning skating, learning new skating skills, and my poor brain was overwhelmed. Now I can do it fairishly well. Will I pass the test? Cross fingers.

But today we're on a moderately crowded public skate, and we did the dance at the speed Dance Coach seems to feel is acceptable for a Master's Level skater (translation: elderly skater) We did it 10 times.  I nailed every single element. (Had some boo boos on timing that Dance Coach fixed). My legs were trembling at the end of the lesson. Then Dance Coach said the ultimate skater's compliment:

"You have nice knees."

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
She chortled in her joy.
My coach I have pleased,
I have 'nice knees'!

How many adult learner skaters never hear that? or only hear "Bend that knee!" 

But I know what he was really happy about, it's not just the knee bend, it's the whole skating package.  I was in the right place on the blade, and the extension was good, plus my power, edges, checking, carriage, and control. Put it all together and you have a skater with 'nice knees'.

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