Monday, June 29, 2009

Motown Tango Part 2: Off ice, Transitions, and Jumps

Transitions were to be "style on ice" but the instructor insisted that style is nearly being able to connect things with transitions, and preferred for us to think that that was what we were learning

Jonathan Cassar did the clinic on Saturday, and ran the off-ice clinic. Off ice started very much like a jazz dance class with lots of isolation of the different body parts starting with the head and moving to the feet, and then transitioned into jogging front then back, lots of jumping jacks, stylized jumping jacks, push ups, crunches, and some dynamic stretching of the quads and calves. No static stretching before skating- it is no longer advised. I felt to some extent the warm up was designed to aggravate the tendinitis in my ankles, but they were still holding up, and although I was extremely tired (from a workout that is about equal to a normal workout for me, not a warm up) I was determined NOT to let it show. We then talked a little bit about transitions, and how to connect moves together.

Then we moved onto the ice, where Jonathan was joined by Ben Woolwine (I think that's the name)- who was introduced as someone who would be helping with jumps, but I don't know what sort of "credentials" he carries. I assumed he was a staff pro, but he was not on the DSC wall of professionals. We started just doing swizzles around the rink, moving our arms and playing follow the leader with Jonathan. Then we moved into doing a spiral followed by a jump of our choice. I did spiral-3-turn-toe loop, which I really liked, and when Jonathan came over he suggested I do the spiral, transition it to a catch foot and then do the toe-loop, so I worked on that a bit. Then we did Ina bauers into spins. Because of the direction that I can do a Bauer in, I was pretty much forced to backspin. There were a few people who could do true straight line bauers, but I felt better when Jonathan told us all that a curvy Bauer is perfectly legitimate, and he complimented the combo I put together (bauer-backspin) and suggested I try doing the Bauer after stepping forward from a jump, asked me if I could work on that, and then demonstrate it for the group. I worked on it from waltz jump, and after I was comfortable enough with it, added a RBO spiral to the beginning of the waltz jump. Then the group came back together and I demonstrated the RBO spiral- waltz jump- ina bauer- backspin sequence I had put together. Jonathan told me he liked the toe-loop better (I'm not sure he noticed I changed the spiral though- I couldn't do a toe loop from that), but said to the that it was a perfect example of how a low level skater (at PB I was decidedly among the lowest test, and likely the lowest level jumper) could link moves together and not need to just stroke in between things. Then a Gold level skater did a combo, that was similiar, but obviously better, and ended in a layback, and then a Novice level adult did a similar combo, that incorporated move footwork and an even more impressive layback- and he talked a bit about the progression, but how we all used the same skills spiral-jump-bauer-spin. Then Catherine, a skater from Canada who I knew from skating forums, showed off her gorgeous spread eagle, which I assume she also added a spin too, though I don't recall.

We might have done something else on the "style" or transitions portion of the seminar, but I don't recall, and then Jonathan showed off the spread eagle section of his program, to our delight. He has the best spread eagles I've seen, changing from outside to inside, and riding the inside edge for so long until it forms a tight circle where he lays very close to the ice he is on such a deep edge.

Oops- no photos from skating Saturday. Here is the Sunday group picture. The Saturday group was larger, and did not include the Czisny's.

We then moved onto the jump portion of the seminar. I'm not a jumper, and have never pretended to be. The thing I got most from this portion was probably just the time I spent with other adults. Nothing revolutionary was taught here, and I really don't think I picked up any tips to take home. What I did get, however, was a lot of jumping in. Probably more than I've jumped all year, and I kept at it to the point of exhaustion. We started with waltz jumps, salchow, and then loop. I don't recall if either Ben or Jonathan came over to me at all during the first two jumps, but Jonathan did come over to me during my loop and suggested I curve the entrance to the right (I do a stroke and then a 3-turn in pretty much a straight line. he wanted a stroke, and then a 3-turn in a different direction)- I'll ask Andy and Courtney what they think of that, but I gave it a try, though I'll admit I see no difference right now. We moved onto lutz, and as we spent a lot of time on it, I tried full revolutions, which I mostly landed two footed, nothing was said to me about this jump. We went onto flip, which I also tried full revolutions, after trying from both 3-turn and mohawk, I decided I favored the mohawk entry, and kept at it. I also never landed one, but was told by other adults it was my highest jump (maybe a full quarter of an inch off the ice? LOL) Jonathan did come over and give me some tips about connecting my arms to my entry, but it was very rushed and I don't really even remember what he said right after he had me show him two. Oops.

The last hour of ice was freeskate, however we were all SO tired that Jonathan and Ben stuck around and we mostly just chatted, and then Ben would do walleys and one foot axels for amusement (wow- walley's look hard. Not toe-walleys, which seemed much less impressive). Taking my skates off I was amazed to realize I never lost feeling in my feet, nor did I have any blisters. I had survived 4 hours, jumping for over 2. Going back to the hotel I was a sore as I could ever remember being, Red Jacket summer camp included, and was pleased to realize I do indeed have a left quad muscle- it might be underdeveloped, but I managed to work it out today.

My only complaint about the Saturday clinic was I felt that the higher level jumpers got much more attention than the lower level ones. I've heard this echoed by a few skaters, but it's possible that it was actually the VOCAL skaters who got the attention. There were one or two skaters who were particularly demanding, and they may have monopolized the instructors time, rather than the instructors favoring them. It's tough to tell. Then again, as a 20 something instructor, who wouldn't be fascinated by the 40 year old doing doubles? But even without much individual attention for the jumps, I felt the clinic to be completely worth while, and would go back for this portion again. (Especially if they kept Jonathan for transitions and brought in a different skater/coach for jumps. I've been told that in addition to being known for spread eagles, he is known for spins- which clearly Alissa already has claimed!)

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