Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Waltz Hold

Waltz hold in ice dancing is tough on the lady. Well, it's tough on this lady.

Let me describe how waltz hold works. The lady and the gentleman (in USFSA's quaint terminology) stand facing each other. The lady puts her left hand against the gentleman's shoulder. As Dance Coach says: "AGAINST the shoulder not ON the shoulder!" So the lady pushes against the front of the left shoulder, her fingers lightly resting on top of the shoulder. The man places his right hand on the lady's waist. He pulls her towards him; She pushes away from him.  The lady's right hand is held in the gentleman's left hand.

This looks nothing like the ballroom dance waltz hold I learned in the 60's. For one thing, the waltz hold in ice dance is more like a construction project than anything else. With the man pulling the lady forwards, and the lady pushing the man away, the two are locked together, holding the same distance from each other in the dance.

The lady (me) has to keep her arms stiff, but not rigid. And she (me) also has to keep herself facing the center of the man.

And then she has to skate.

The first problem was when I was learning Waltz Threes. I had to conquer 'noodle arms'. When I'm learning something new, I can only concentrate on one part of the body at a time. Yes, that part is the part with the skates on it. I'd forget and my left arm would noodle. I'd drift  towards Dance Coach instead of being the neat 6 inches away I'm supposed to be. One day he chest bumped me and said "Stop that! Keep your arm stiff!" All I could think was, "What do people think is going on out here?" But, yes, I now keep my arm stiff (but not rigid) and the proper distance is maintained.

The second problem was when I was learning forward stroking in Waltz Hold. Back stroking in waltz hold is easy for me. I'm going backwards, Dance Coach is looking over my head. In forward stroking, I am going forwards, and I am supposed to look over Dance Coach's shoulders to make sure we're not skating into anyone.  In forward stroking, I"m looking straight at Dance Coach's chest. To look over his shoulder I haver tilt my head to the left, to the right, to the left, to the....Dance Coach breaks hold and starts laughing so hard he has to bend over and grip his knees. "Don't do that! You look like a prairie dog!"

And a meme was born!

It's those little moments of professional discourse that make skating so worth while.

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