Monday, February 10, 2020

Updates

A lot has happened since my last post. I'll leave it at that.

5th Learn To Skate Lesson

It was a mix of the Dutch Waltz, Moves in the Field, and Spins in my group lesson this week. I'm proud to say my two footed spins were much better was able to spin once maybe 60-65% of the time. I even got around twice several times.We also tried the lunge turn (not sure if there is an actual name) into two footed spins. Definitely better than a couple weeks ago, but still not great.

We worked more on the Dutch Waltz and I'm able to a bunch of it watered down (swizzle pumps instead of progressives, no lifting my leg up.) I'm still torn about how I feel about ice dance...I think I just have to get used to it. My coach throws a lot at us in thirty minutes. I have the least experience of the group so sometimes she talks about things that she thinks I already know and I'm like..."here goes nothing" but I appreciate that she thinks I can handle it. She wants us to do it at the show in a few weeks which scares me more than doing my program at the moment. LOL

Moves in the field is also watered down, but I feel a bit more confident about it. We haven't really discussed crossovers yet but I'm not sure how soon I would be testing this so I'm not as stressed as the Dutch Waltz. It's definitely helping my stroking through. Now if I could just keep that leg up.

3rd Private/Lovely Program

My program is officially cut! My coach did better than I could have ever done. It will take a bit of adjusting as it is not a straight cut at 1:40 and I've been listening to the original forever but I'm excited....

...what I'm not so excited about is how it was a pile of hot garbage last night. I'm totally being hard on myself, it was literally the second time doing it at all and the first time to music and in front of people actually interested. I had hoped to learn more of it, but we tweaked it and put in directions like you would a new reel or slip jig step so I guess it was productive. The lunge spin (again not sure if it has an actual name) was better than last week though I was having skate issues by the end of the night so I'm not sure if that had anything to do with it. Slaloms were also improved! Balancing on one foot still is rough so we're doing a  two footed glide as a placeholder until I can get it up. We also added swizzle pumps in a circle so I guess I did learn something new after all. I am a bit nervous about the show and it being ready in time but I am attempting to think positive. There is Champions and Nutmeg State to work towards. LOL

The Dress Saga

I have been trying to keep this as budget friendly as possible (Which is getting questionable with these private lessons LOL) so I didn't want to commit to a dress if I ended up hating skating as I have a solo dress that I have mental ping pong with myself everyday over whether I should sell it or not. However, I have a program now and the leotard and skirt were just not going to work. I had multiple people tell me to try Amazon. Hell, buy a few and return the ones I didn't like So I bought two. A black asymmetrical dress meant for dance and a navy blue more traditional dress. All together they were about $40 dollars. I should have known it was too good to be true...

I'm sure most of you are aware of the coronavirus epidemic taking place in China. While I'm by no means a germaphobe, I am very very squeamish. I have a baby that is young and while he has his immunizations thus far...he needs more. A LOT MORE. So when I realized that both dresses were coming from China I freaked out a little. I know, I know...There is no proof that Coronavirus lives on fabric or is transferred any other way than respiratory droplets...but I'm not taking the chance. So they are in the package being prepared to be sent back. 

Next, I scoured ebay. after almost getting another dress from China (Need this outbreak to end because I could get a custom in my measurements for at least half the price) I found a black dress for 35 bucks. It's longer than I thought it would be, but I'm going to keep it because if I don't wear it for Lovely, it would be a perfect dress for when I finally take that Dutch Waltz for a spin for testing or what have you.

Then the most recent thing has been that L let me borrow four dresses to try on. Two didn't fit. One was not as flattering as I hoped (It's was so pretty on the hangar. It makes me want to lose fifty pounds STAT) and the fourth I'm going to borrow because I think with a body suit underneath and some make up, that it will work at least for my show and March Competition. It doesn't really fit the theme of my program, but it's a really pretty dress so I'll take it for now.

 I'm convinced that I'm going to have to buy something more than I was planning on spending. I've had a couple offers in the 100-200 dollar range for custom ones that I could stone myself and really compared to my solo that is cheap...but I need some extra cash before I do that so I'll use the borrowed/black dress for now. I've actually considered sewing one at this point, though I doubt that would be cheaper. LOL maybe a new hobby? Stay turned I guess.

New Skates?

Remember that time I bought skates from Target? Remember that time that I didn't get them sharpened? Remember that time I got them a half size bigger so I could wear a thick sock them? Well, I've been making them work (again, trying to not break the bank) but last night L let me borrow a pair of her old skates (the proper size for starters) and OH MY GOD. In Irish dance terms, it would be like having black ballet slippers from payless to Rutherford split sole soft shoes (I always wore the green padded Cavans) I don't think these are like the most expensive you can have (I never did top of the line with Irish Either, though all hard shoes were at least $130 dollars) but they are such an upgrade! Maybe it was totally psychological but I had an easier time spinning, and turning, I COULD ACTUALLY STOP. The ice just felt different (maybe the blades are sharper than my old ones.) The only thing that was a bit rough was one of my skates got loose during my privates so instead of stroking an edge, My skate would scrape and I would awkwardly stop but despite that I felt a difference. My legs are wrecked today but I kinda need them...L is going to give them for a deal. I wasn't planning on getting new skates already, but...yay?

Okay, I think that's it for now.

Kay



Sunday, February 2, 2020

5 songs I would use for a program part 1

I've been listening to songs and making up dance routines to them for years. Now that I'm skating and I'm able to have some say in what I do for programs, I thought it would be fun to list what I would consider a "dream program".

Here we go!

1.St. Patrick by PVRIS

You ever hear a song that makes you think of a time in your life? This is one of those songs for me. I even know what I would wear. Sadly, I will probably never skate to this because there is no clean version that I am aware of at this time.


2. Intermezzo from Calvaria Rusticana'

I danced to this my junior year of high school and played it at music camp in college. This piece is so beautiful...but too long for the level I currently skate and it would be a crime to cut it.


3. Lamour Toujours (I wish real peace)- Gigi D'Agostino

I have been a Gigi fan since the 7th grade! This one is already cut and ready, I'm just saving it for when I can do harder stuff.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYdLCXsCx6g (I can't find this video through Blogger)

4. Nobody but Me by The Human Beinz

Hey Office fans, remember this one? I think this would be fun down the road, but it's fast and I can only have a program 1:40 seconds at this point. Maybe in a couple years?



5. Hijo De La Luna

This one pays homage to my favorite gymnast Aliya Mustafina (It was her floor routine music when she won worlds in 2010). It's a bit more traditional than a few of the others I've listed here and it's not super fast. I may put it on the table for next year (Though I'm wondering if I should have some variety and not all dark emo pieces).




I'm off to eat badly!

Kay

Saturday, February 1, 2020

...and then I shared practice ice with Nathan Chen.

That's right. NATHAN FREAKING CHEN.
This guy!

but I'll get to him in a minute.

Due to the Superbowl, I don't have skating tomorrow night. They opened the junior session to us adults, and I was going to make it work when I got a text from coach mid day yesterday. She asked if I wanted to meet for a private today instead and after sorting it out with mom to babysit, I told her I was in!

I went to Champions Ice Arena in Cromwell which is more than I would like to drive if I have to do this on the regular come March (though 40ish minutes on a Saturday isn't the worst ride), but that's not the point. The place was HUGE. It had two rinks on two different floors, food, a skate shop, dressing rooms, etc. You had to pay to even step on the ice, but I felt it was reasonable enough.

Now I  have been to public skate before where there might be a lot of people, but at least most of them are just clomping along. This...this was like the Oireachtas practice room except not as loud because no hard shoes. There were people spinning and jumping and moving EVERYWHERE.

My friend (Let's call her L moving forward) told me that Nathan Chen practices at Champions, but I figured a world champion would get private practice time. Nope. He was there zooming around working on things. It was pretty neat to see in person. Most people seemed used to it, but since it was my first figure skating session, I was starstruck for a bit. (I was the one not bending my knees enough in the pink sweatshirt if you are reading this because you googled yourself or something LOL)

So anyway, after being intimidated by all the lessons going on and not knowing if I was allowed to warm up or if I had to wait until exactly the start of my session, I eventually got the nerve to get on the ice and I skated (I think I'm finally past clomping) over to my coach. We worked on stopping again briefly (because I need a backwards snow plow stop in this program for Adult 3 and my forward ones are still funky) before we started my program! AHHHHH!

I think she and I are going to work very well together because the bit we worked on today is going to be awesome. It's lyrical on skates. It's got a long way to go as I have to get the flowing arms working at the same time as I'm skating (and I'm nervous about falling so I feel like I'm holding back a bit. I think I need to just go for it and deal with hitting the ice so I can be better for it) but I left my lesson feeling encouraged. My coach told me today that I'm skating now and that it has flow and I don't think she'd say that if it wasn't true. I also think I'd be on the ground a lot more if I was doing bad, so that has to count for something, right? 

I think if I were going to do this again, and I probably will as the show and next competition approach, I would stay for a full hour instead of a half hour as we were just starting to get somewhere and then first session ended. She also wanted to video tape me which is a terrifying thought, but I'm sure to see my issues and progress I will have to suck it up. Sounds like we will do another lesson next week in Watertown where things are much more chill.

Maybe next time I'm at Champions I'll have the nerve to ask Nathan Chen for a picture? Probably not, but a girl can dream...

Kay


Monday, January 27, 2020

4th Learn To Skate Lesson and 1st Private Lesson

Super productive skate yesterday! Now that the prep for my competition is over, I was able to move onto some new skills. (Still need to practice those stops, but did everything else in the warm up) It was kind of a modge podge lesson as we are all kind in different places and wanting to do different things. My coach decided she wanted to give us a taste of all the different disciplines so we learned the beginning of the Dutch Waltz (Ice dance) While I definitely think I will need to go over it a million more times, It was a great opportunity to learn chasses, slaloms, and proper stroking technique that I need for Adult 3 (Sounds like that is where I'm headed next) One of my classmates and I learned a watered down version of the first moves in the field test too. This is one of the things I will need when I start skating in levels that you have to pass tests in order to move up. Sounds like cross overs are coming in the next few lessons, but skating on one foot has become the new struggle so cringe face.

Then I had an impromptu private lesson. My coach and I were discussing my Lovely program and she explained that she could teach it to me in a couple mini lessons and she was like "we could do one right now, I don't have anyone" (It was during the practice session) and ten dollars later we were 
rolling. My music isn't cut yet so we spent the lesson working on backwards skating (which I had planned on practicing anyway) and it's quite improved! Slow with balance checks, but I'll take it for now. :)

I did have a bit of time to practice on my own at the end and while I mostly worked on what was covered in my group lesson, I watched a video about spins earlier in the week where you march to gain momentum before you spin and it worked. Still needs work, but at least I got the feeling this time. My ankles were killing me when I left so I guess I worked hard.

In other news, sounds like I'll be doing another competition at the end of March in Cromwell. If all goes according to plan I'll be doing compulsory and freeskate this time. Lovely will be making it's debut before that though at the Watertown Skating Club's end of the year show. 

I ordered a dress on Amazon...stay tuned (It's coming from China)!

Kay

Saturday, January 25, 2020

The One Where Kay Gets A Program

Story time!

Back when I was planning my wedding, I had a very clear idea in my mind what I wanted my wedding dress to look like. White. Lacy overlay. Vintage looking. I tried on many dresses that day and left with something complete different. Spun Gold (so like think like sparkly cream). Taffeta. Princess looking. I wasn't upset. I was in love with my wedding dress. I still wish I could wear it again.
I feel like pictures don't do it justice
What does this have to do with skating, might you ask? Well probably since the day I emailed saying that I wanted to skate, I've been listening to songs for possible programs. I had like 7 or 8 ideas but many of them were ones that too fast or that I didn't want to waste on basic moves because the song was important to me. I have one already cut that I want to be able to spin and jump too so maybe I'll use it someday. I ended up settling on John Denver's Take Me Home Country Roads because I figured it was slow and the song was pretty. Those of you who know me well will also note that I HATE country music, but John Denver is a rare exception. The song was a bit on an inside joke too. So I figured that was what I would do. My friend suggested I ask my coach for suggestions and I'm so glad I did because she sent me ten choices and I was able to narrow it down to two myself before she helped me come to a conclusion. So without further ado...drumroll please...

My freeskate for 2020 and maybe longer is Lovely by Billie Eilish and Khalid. Now before you do this: 

Let me explain. I picked this song from the choices I was given for several reasons. One, as a mainstream dancer my absolute favorite genre of dance was lyrical. It was all about dancing with feeling to the words of the song. I was often in featured in special numbers and it's the one type of dance from my old days that I still miss. It was definitely my wheelhouse.
My favorite dance number of all nine years
Second, this song is just heart wrenchingly beautiful. Like the lyrics are painful. Is it weird that I'm pumped to leave it all on the ice? (Hopefully not because I fell) Still have to decide the angle I want to use for a "story" or motivation but I hope that I am able to do it justice.

Now to find a dress.

Kay

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

5 Ways Skating is Like Irish Dance and 5 ways It Isn't

As promised, here is the post where I talk about the similarities between the two sports. It was supposed to be like that fan fiction trope where it's five times of something and then one final opposite (For example "5 Times (insert character here) almost died and the 1 time they actually did) Since I'm certain there are more than 5 comparable things...I'll just keep it even.

5 Ways Figure Skating Is Like Irish Dance

1. Swarovski Cyrstals
Yup, they are a thing here too. Not only do figure skating dresses have them (Though mostly AB) but they are also glued onto things like hair scrunchies, the skates themselves, and even the tights. Yes, that's right. It's like the stoned poodle socks but so your legs sparkle. I'm not sure how I feel about that...it's kind of how I felt about tanner with dance in the beginning. Check back with me in a few years...

2. Zucca Bags
I can still use it! Apparently figure skating is what the bags are intended for (you can put your skates upright in them. I didn't use mine on Monday (I just put stuff in a duffle bag) as my Zucca still has all my dance stuff in it, but I did a double take when I saw someone had one at the rink when I started lessons.

3. Medals, Podiums, and Result Walls
While I never got to stand on the podium for dance I got to on Monday (and it's hard to do in skates let me tell you) but I got a medal very similar to my first feis medal ever. They also post if you need to attend awards. I'm not sure if tells you the placement as I was the only one in my category this past competition, but it was kind of like waiting at the result wall.

4. Everyone seems to know each other
I have heard people joke in the Irish dance world that it's really small and that if someone in the real world says they know someone that dances you probably know them too. I feel like the same could be said for skating. When I was warming up my coach was like "here, I'll put you at ease. I know five out of the six judges." Then she proceeded to rattle of their credentials and how she knew them. My friend knew exactly who the other adult skater was without seeing the program. Maybe it's too be expected in a niche hobby?

5.Group Ensembles
There are synchronized skating teams. They kind of remind me of ceilis or figures that teams do. They are beautiful and everyone is in sync. Where they are different is that you audition to be on one. You don't represent your skating club, but your state or region when you compete as multiple skaters from various clubs are involved. Definitely something I am not ready for at the moment or would probably have the time for.

Now for how they are different...

1. More Objective. Less subjective?
Okay, I might be talking out of my butt. Since people are skating one at a time they have to give their undivided attention to you, right? I also know in order for me to be in a certain level, I have to be able to perform certain moves. It's not like "Well, I NEED my winner to have perfect turnout" or "I like skinny girls" and more like "She didn't complete her snow plow stop properly.,, so deduction. But again, newbie here...might be talking out of my giant butt.

2. Placements only determine some things.
So for you to be able to enter certain categories of competitions you have to qualify. For example top four people at sectionals go to certain categories at nationals. However, I don't have to win against a certain number of people to move up to level 2. My coach decides if I've learned all the requirements and I get to move up. Eventually that will change and I will have to test to move up (once I get up Pre-bronze and up) Think of it like grade exams but with you own special program.

3. No wigs
I mean this is kind of obvious, but they don't even really want you using bobby pins or anything that could fall out mid spin or jump. Lots of ponytails and hair net buns. Got to figure out how to glam it up.

4. Your coach is able to be rink side.
I can't speak for champ kids because I never got there but my TC had so many kids that she was often bouncing from stage to stage and even when she could stay in one place she was usually up out of the way. I was able to talk to my coach minutes before I went on and as I was warming up. Not sure if it's because there are less competitors at competitions or what.

5. Adult. Beeping. Nationals.
I have gotten the vibe that I'll probably be slugging it out in the trenches by myself for a while. But eventually when I get to Pre-bronze (I think) I can compete at adult nationals with lots of other competitors! An adult only nationals where I would be on the younger end of the competitor range. BRING IT.

Tata for now,

Kay

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Third Skating Lesson

So I did these out of order, but I was just so excited yesterday I wanted to talk about the competition first.

I had my third skating lesson this past Sunday. This was technically the 1st week of the session even though I have been at this for several weeks so the classes were a little bigger. There were two new skaters in our class (usually it is me and another lady in the basic skills class.) Both were ahead of me (one was doing twizzles and crossovers) but were very nice.

I went over what I needed to do for the competition (and I'll still be practicing snow plow stops FOREVER) but then we started new stuff! I can do swizzle pumps now! Not awkward ones but smooth nice ones. We also worked on turning from forward and backward and while the turn was no problem, skating backwards still is a bit slow going...I literally have no momentum and stop.

We started two footed spins and I am TERRIBLE! Although I learned over the weekend that left handed people are supposed to spin and jump the opposite direction so that might have been my problem. We will see next week I guess.

I think the thing I'm most pumped about is that I jumped in place on the ice and didn't die! I even jumped from front to back (not even a half rotation but I'll take it!) and still didn't die, got to hit though toe picks every time but maybe a bunny jump or a waltz jump is in my future?

Homework this week beyond my usual video review is to figure out edges on dry land and probably watching more videos lol...

Until next time,

Kay