Tuesday, April 17, 2012

You don't speak Russian-you bark it

For my ice dance lesson Dance Coach came hurtling away from his young Russian speaking student, his face super-Frowny, and he started barking at me in Russian. Wow! Did he sound mad!

First thing to cross my mind? He's read my blog.

But, happily it turns out he wasn't mad, Russian just sounds that way.

Russian sounds like this
I learned "Push". Which sounds something like "Tahl-Chuck." and there's another word--russian speakers please forgive me--I think it's Tahl-chuck-kae-suh. That is apparently some variant of "Push".

I eventually want to know all the skating words in Russian, but lesson time is not it. For one thing,  his Royal Meaness is all over keeping me moving --- fast.

Don't have Power with a capital "P"? Want some? Get a coach 30 years younger than you are.

I'm stroking, and tahl-chucking my little heart out. He's just gliding along after me, being pleasant.  After 18 months of this, I hardly feel the strain and don't get out of breath.  Just don't ask me to do something new. And thank goodness he doesn't.

He just gets pickier.

Now he's working on my cross-roll on the Nasty.  He makes me do cross-rolls up and down the rink, during public. I have edges, I have rip(!), I have teeny-tiny little curves. There's probably a check-list of things I'm not doing right to boot that he hasn't got to yet. So far, if I don't know what's on the check-list I can feel comfortable and gain confidence with my skating. I appreciate that Dance Coach doesn't tell me every little thing I'm doing wrong. That would be devastating.

We run through the Nasty a few times; scaring children and teenagers. I feel bad about scaring anyone under 10. Scaring teenagers though, that's a bonus for learning ice dance on public.  Then we switch to the Rhythm Blues. This charming little dance has the evil step behinds on the end pattern. Not a problem. Coach Amazing fixed those. Evil Step Behinds are now my best element in the dance. What is killing me is the lilt/crossover, crossover and hold pattern.

We do the RB a couple of times, then third time is not a charm. I do the lilt and cross. Cross aaannndd hoollldddd. The hoollllldddd doesn't hold.  My right leg rolls to the left. The left leg that is supposed to be extended like a pretty little china figurine of a dancer, just keeps going like an Amtrak train headed for the boards. I boot out on the left leg and can't do anything with the right leg except head face first to the ice.

Not happening

Fortunately, Dance Coach decides to imitate a small civil engineering team; he hits the brakes and hauls me upwards. My first words? "Are you okay?" Honestly, he should just step back and let me fall occasionally. I fall when he's not there.

We do it again, and this time I at least get the steps right without another disaster.

The horn sounds and the resurfacer doors open as we're working on Foxtrot hold. I ask, "So what's the Russian word for 'stroke'?"

There's a long pause. Like a 15 second pause. Dance Coach stares at the ceiling while he thinks. Finally, with great hesitation Dance Coach says, "Strohk."

Right. Just like 'stroke', but angrier.


  1. When will you ask the dance coach to write a guest blog? ;)