Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dec 17 Practice: Starting the Canasta Tango

Coach yelled at me in Russian today. Yes, I do feel like a real skater now.

At the beginning of the lesson Dance Coach told me to do my edges around the hockey circle.  I asked, "Na lay'va eel-lee na pra'va? " (To the left or too the right?). He's delighted. "You have the right pronunciation. I teach you in Russian from now on."

Right. That'll happen.

So we start to work on the Canasta Tango, or as Moves Coach calls it, The Nasty Tango. I know the pattern of the dance, but because we're skating on pre-christmas public we really can't get the power and speed needed. So Dance Coach and I do a reduced size pattern and work on the fiddly bits: The end of the dance, the transition to the presentation glide, the slide chase' (apparently just sticking your foot out front isn't good enough).  We do this despite a little boy of 6 who blithely is right in our way, no matter what we do or where we skate.  We do scare a few people by passing within inches.  But that kid, he's unscareable.

Then Coach stands aside. "Do the Tango by yourself. We work on power," and for the next minute I'm being chased around the rink by Coach roaring at me in Russian. Yes, the Russian does make me skate with more power, but I'm laughing so hard I could only do one pattern before I have to stop and catch my breath.   Coach thinks this is funny too. Then it's back to work. What do the public skate people think is going on?

With the Dutch Waltz over Coach is upping the standards he's set for my skating elements. I'm doing stuff now, better than I ever skated before, and it's no longer good enough.  This is inevitable. The one thing about figure skating, is no matter how good you get, there always more to be fixed.

We finished of as usual with some elements in Foxtrot Hold. The last thing is forward cross rolls. I feel perfectly comfortable with these solo, but with a partner I suddenly felt really, really short.  Ten years ago I was 5'4". Now I'm 5'2". I'd better learn my dances or I'll be too short to get a partner.  All the Russian yelling won't help if I turn into the amazing shrinking woman.

Viktor Petrenko-World & Olympic Gold Champion and Coach

He's got the whole Russian Coach glare down. I bet
he doesn't even have to speak, much less yell. Psychic arrows
of disappointment are direct fed into the student's brain.


  1. A picture of Viktor Petrenko! Be still my beating heart (had a mad crush on him in my teens/esrly 20s - yes I'm old enough to remember him as a competitive skater)!

    I don't think I could cope with a Russian coach. There have been ex-Soviet coaches at both my rinks and from observation they're all like you describe your coach. I'd end up giving up. I need someone who will coddle me and my insecurities!

    Bunny Hop.

  2. Viktor Petrenko does not take a bad picture. The man is amazing.

    My ex-Soviet coach is a sweetie, but he's serious about my skating.