I keep laughing over how different this year's Ice Show is from last year. Today I bid a farewell to our Pairs Choreographer today, thanking him for his patience and a lovely program. And it is. We have great ice coverage, he let me skate my strong elements, and I feel absolutely lovely in it. I think we're in great shape for the show.
And while the show program has been in progress, my freestyle work goes on. Coach is happy with my progress, and that just makes me want to work harder to get to the goal of some competitions in 2015. Spinning and some new jumps, and I think we're good to go.
Salchow is one that I'm really having fun with. It's a super fun jump, but super challenging. I will either not check the LFO3 enough and wing myself terrifyingly around, or I check too much and barely make rotation. Coach has me check the prints to see how I did, as ice prints don't lie.
Toe Loop, a jump that I thought I had been doing for awhile, I've actually been doing wrong. This jump is getting a makeover, and undoing that muscle memory is tough. One of the things I love about Coach is that he has a million little tricks up his sleeve to build correct muscle memory in pieces, so that when he introduces something really complex, you've got the parts already built in. But the Toe Loop was taught without correct edges when I learned it about a year ago, so I've been doing ToePick JumpThing, and not a Proper Toe Loop. The result now is that when I step through Toe Loop, I can do it right. But when I try to jump, I revert right back to ToePick JumpThing. It's in the ice prints. It's a work in progress.
Half Lutz is disturbingly similar to Half Flip, and it makes you wonder if Mr. Lutz was some kind of "me toooooo" kind of guy when he said, "NO IT'S DIFFERENT SEE MY OUTSIDE EDGE??" I'm really seeing how easy it can be to fake a Lutz, and Coach is all about making sure I have good edge habits from day 1. I'm also thanking Figure work for giving me a solid idea of where I'm at on my blades. It's not boring, it serves a genuine purpose!
Half Loop is my brand new one. We got introduced this week, and he's a toughie. I see myself struggling with this for awhile. "Half" is a bit of a misnomer, since it's a full 180. It's hard to describe. But Coach and I were working on the wall and I just observed, "It's a full rotation..." and he nodded. And then I tried it off the wall and got completely physically lost. So he gave me some Piece/Parts exercises to work on this week. I did okay on the Piece/Parts.
Also introduced were Sit Spin and Back Scratch. Again, most of these very new skills are in pieces, but we're slowly bringing the pieces together. Back Scratch also feeds into Half Loop, so everyone helps each other out this week. I'm anxious to give things another go, even if it means hanging off the boards for awhile. I hung off the boards doing mohawks for three months, so it's okay.
Figures has been invaluable lately. I feel more confident on my blades than I've ever been. I can find my balance quicker and stronger, and once safe on an edge, I can do pretty much whatever I want. I can twist my shoulders and extend my arms and smile, or I can play around with my free leg and be ridiculous, or glide forever and change edge two or three times. That strength really helped bring some life to the show program.
I had some parents tell me I looked good and strong during show practice, and while that felt really great, I had to laugh when I was in lesson the next day. Coach had me all sorts of awkward, and I had to wonder what they'd think of me clinging to him like a static'd sock and completely lost on a new jump. I had felt stuck for a long time, but what usually happens after feeling stuck is a sudden rush of new things that breaks you for awhile. It's true what they say; Skating never gets any easier, you just get stronger.