Saturday, September 8, 2012

Learn it Yourself

There comes a point when I'm learning a new skill, that what I need to do is practice it with little experiments (Like body position, or arm position, or variations in leg position) mixed in until I find something that works for me. When I'm doing this, I occasionally find it useful to have a coach watching, and making a comment occasionally. Mostly these moments arise spontaneously in a lesson, and very useful they are.   Below is an example.

So, mentally I grasped the mechanics of the progressive, but not the implementation. In a lesson, I'm working on the down, up, down (get my foot forward and across) bit, but I have too much weight on my crossing skate. I turn to Todd, "Can't I just sort of hover my free skate over the ice so it looks like it's touching? And fake the glidey bit?" I give this a try and the blade somehow enters that mystic zone where the blade is not so much touching the ice, as it is flying over the ice in the boundary layer where the ice and air meet.

It's a Perfect Progressive (for a beginner).

"That's a good one," Todd says.

I look up at him in surprise. "No one ever said anything about the blade feeling like this. This is more like Kevin Costner giving his daughter butterfly kisses in The Untouchables*. It's much lighter than I expected." As a result of my trying things out, I have confirmation from a coach that I'm finally doing the right thing. I've been able to do them ever since.

*Since Todd was less than a year old when The Untouchables came out, the movie reference probably makes me sound insane.

Anyway, this "Learn it Yourself" moment only really happens after I've been working unsuccessfully on an element and not moving forward on it. There's something I'm not grasping. Something missing. I've found that if I talk my way through the element to the coach, and do some variations while the coach is watching, I get the input I need.  This is different from other parts of the lesson that are coach directed; This part is 'me' directed.

Anyway, today Dance Coach and I worked on progressives. He's happy. Then he wanted me to do crossovers.

I can't. All I've got left are these clunky forced things, rather than power generating crossovers with the strong second push I used to have.

It's like once I learned to do proper progressives, that's all I can do. My pretty crossovers have disappeared.

I guess they went on vacation to Vegas. They'll show up again when they shoot their duckets!


  1. Just think of the crossover as a progressive without the leg extension part. So count two beats for crossover and a quick three for progressive.

    1. According to dance coach, there is NO difference!! :) :)