And then there is another complication: learning to do the same things going backwards. All of us have spent the time since we learned how to walk going forward. We know how to move in that direction -- where to move our feet, where to look, how to stop. Going backwards is not something we do often; it feels strange; and of course, it is much scarier because we don't have eyes in the backs of our heads. But much of the challenge of learning to figure skate is that you have to learn to do things in many different directions -- left and right, inside and outside and forward and backward.
The two major goals I'm working on both entail a lot of work on backwards skating in different ways. First, I'm trying to get ready for my Adult Pre-Bronze Free Skate Test. This is the official name for the very first, most elementary free style test. In order to pass it, I will need to demonstrate that I can do the following:
- forward and backward crossovers
- two different half rotation jumps - I will be doing the easiest jump, the Waltz Jump, and probably the Salchow
- a two-footed spin with at least 3 rotations
- a one-footed spin with at least 3 rotations
- either a forward spiral or a lunge (I'll do a spiral). Spirals are those pretty, Arabesque-looking moves that figure skaters do.
As I've noted before, one of the unadvertised benefits of becoming an adult figure skater is joining the community of really wonderful fellow adult skaters, most of whom I would never have become friends with otherwise. Today I got to do part of my practice with my good friend Patsy, who is a far more accomplished skater, and especially, ice dancer, than me. We decided to work on some back swing rolls and chasses. As you can see, her extension, the deepness of her edges (the "lobe" she is tracing) and her ability to keep her free leg straight are all way better than mine. Also, I must learn to look up, rather than at my feet. But if you want to improve, practice with someone better than you, right? At this time last year, I was still just trying not fall when I tried them.
Here are Patsy and I doing back swing rolls:
And here are back chasses: