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Intermediate MITF Jun. 21st, 2010 @ 05:14 pm
Whew!  I did it, I did it!!!  Tested Intermediate MITF today, and passed by all three judges, and with .3, .4 and .5 over the passing total!

As usual, was quite nervous.  Not nearly as bad as sometimes, but it still felt like a torture, and got mega-nervous before brackets.  Brackets are my mental challenge - fell on them as recently as 2 weeks ago.  Fall on those always screws up my confidence, which makes me stiffen up, which of course makes brackets so much harder to do.

In fact, brackets can get me so messed up mentally, that after the last fall, I was actually forbidden by coach to practice them on my own.  I went even further than that, and the past two weeks, did not skate at all between the lessons (though this is not saying much, as I was practicing just once, sometimes twice a week since November anyway).

Thankfully, the rink where I tested had "unlisted" freestyle for test skaters on the other sheet of the ice, so I could have a warmup/lesson.  Don't think the scheduled 3-minute warm-up before the test would have cut it.

Quick run down move by move (passing average: 3.2):

Forward power circles: not bad.  Not my best, but at least average, or slightly above.  Judges' marks: 3.3, 3.3, 3.3

Backward power circles: quite good.  Judges quite happy with those, too: 3.3, 3.3, 3.3

Perimeter back power-3s:
ok.  Not as aggressive as I had them sometimes, and the very last turn in each direction was just a tad less controlled.  Marks: 3.3, 3.2, 3.2

Back double-3s:
outsides are usually fairly easy for me, and they went ok.  LBI is usually my weakest turn, but I rarely have really serious mistakes on them.  Judges liked the placement!  3.3, 3.2, 3.3

uh oh, mind games begin ... panic sets in.  First length of the rink ok, stroke to second side, go to LFI bracket and - FALL!  Huh, same mistake like on adult gold test , but with the actual fall.  Got up, brushed off the snow, restarted the 2nd side.  Don't think I remembered to breath on them, and FI brackets were quite shaky and barely moved.  But, I held on.  Shock of the day - judges' marks: 3.2, 3.3, 3.3!! They liked the edges and placement!

Slide chasse
: after the back power circles, this one is the easiest, as long as I don't rush the BO turn.  Marks: 3.3, 3.2, 3.3

Totals (19.2 needed): 19.6, 19.5, 19.7

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Awful start, ok end May. 18th, 2010 @ 06:16 pm
Have restarted working on Intermediate MITF recently, with the intention of testing before the tests change in September.  With my super-limited practice time (some weeks only had my usual 45-minute lesson), these are surprisingly coming along not bad.  Had some important break-throughs lately.

Today was an awful day, though.  Just felt unmotivated driving to the rink, and did not feel any better after getting on the ice.  After a brief warm-up, coach went straight to the test.  Awful.  No energy.  Shaky, was just thinking of hanging on, and not getting hurt on some bad fall.  Mind was anywhere but focused on the moves.  Fell on RBO bracket (haven't done that in a looong time).  Just sat on the ice for awhile after a fall, disgusted.  Was on the verge of a break-down, and wanted to leave the ice.  Coach would not have any of that though, so eventually pulled myself back together for him.

After that, things improved.  2nd (almost full) run through was not my best, but significantly better than first - probably about my average.  At least I felt like I can skate.  With that, my mood got quite better, too :)

Love my coach.  He can always get me "in order", and always has the perfect balance of pushing/supporting me.

One more test, three more dances (prebronze) Mar. 9th, 2010 @ 12:58 pm
Another test day, another set of three dances: swing, cha cha, and fiesta tango this time.  Tested standard.  Passed all three by all three judges.

Happy with the pass, but overall dance lately is not giving me as much satisfaction.  One of the reasons is that since my coach does not partner students, I skate them solo up until nearly the test, and then coach brings in a young ice dancer.  So I get to pay both for a lesson ($$$, and tests are $$$$$!), do not get enough time to get comfortable with partnering, and never get to the point where I can just enjoy the dances.  For example, I had only 2 lessons on this set where I got to skate them partnered (+ several run throughs today).

Anyway, dance will not be my priority for the next several months, as I will be working hard on Intermediate MITF.  Want (need!) to pass them before September.  Haven't done serious work on those moves in - yikes - over half a year!!  Have been skating just once a week since November.  Hopefully rinks will add some weekend freestyles now that hockey season is winding down.
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Off-topic: 10th wedding anniversary Jan. 17th, 2010 @ 11:41 am
Just a bit off-skating-topic: we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary on Friday, January 15th - and had a reception that we were not able to have years ago.  Pictures will come later, but here is the video of our waltz (first dance ever in front of others):


Test day Dec. 8th, 2009 @ 04:54 pm
Oh, forgot to update how skating dances partnered for the first time ever went.

11/21: learned all 3 preliminary dances by skating around with a diagram.

11/24: a lesson with ice dancer who partnered me for the test. It was fun to mess with him - I informed him right away that I've never skated with anybody, and have learned the dances on my own just 3 days earlier. After he got over the shock, we did a couple circles of FXOs in killian hold, and then went on to the dances. It actually went not bad! Was a tad weird in the beginning, but less so than I expected. We wanted to skate the dances to the music, but the CD player in the rink did not work.

12/1: a lesson with my coach (so far he has not yet seen me do the dances at all!). Ripped me completely apart on everything from lack of kneebend, to bent knees on swingrolls. I had soooo much fun with coach... Big part of the lesson both of us were laughing so hard, I was getting tired! ;) K* (who does not partner his students anymore), actually decided to skate dances with me! Unfortunately, the CD player still was not fixed, so with a week left before the test, I still haven't skated dances to the music.

Today (12/8): got to the rink nearly 2 hours before the test time, and had a brief (maybe 20 minutes?) lesson - this time actually ran through the dances partnered and with the music! LOL. Coach as always was picky picky picky, but that's what I love about him. I know his pickiness does not mean that I don't skate them good enough to pass, just that he wants me to do them the best *I* can.

Test: skated kind of absentmindedly, it felt surreal. Coach said I rushed Dutch Waltz a bit. Blanked out on the 1st Canasta end pattern - nearly forgot what comes after the last slide, but did catch up with a tiny delay. Blues were ok. Judges comments for all dances: good flow, deep edges, nice feel of music, good expression, nice unison, and - drumroll - good/accurate timing! This one made me and the partner laugh hard!

The whole thing was a bit insane, wasn't it?
Other entries
» Uhm... just how did I end up trying to learn the preliminary dances?
I'll tell you how ... I don't get enough time to practice intermediate MITF to really make progress, and I was feeling quite sick on Thursday (but did not dare to cancel my lesson! K* would have totally told me off if I did, especially since he is out of state next week). So after doing some power circles which nearly killed me, I said that I am not up to doing any kind of turns since I was feeling dizzy, and why don't we play around with dance? Well, 5 minutes of working on Dutch Waltz (to be fair I *sort of* new the steps), and K* says I should just test it at the next test session, which is on December 8th. Then he proceeds to show me the steps to the Canasta, which I did not really memorize in the next 4 minutes, but now I'm thinking why don't I test all 3 preliminary dances on 8th, not just the Dutch Waltz?

K* does not partner his students anymore though (and he is waaay shorter than my 5'10"!), so I will have a lesson on Tuesday with a young ice dancer that works with my coach (also shorter than me, but not that bad).

Today after LTS spent an hour skating around with my nose in the diagrams, trying to memorize the steps. Tuesday ought to be interesting - other than a few XOs holding hands, I've never skated with somebody else.
» Coach has a plan
Had my 2nd Tuesday lesson. Tried to talk to coach that since I do not skate that much, I feel like playing around a bit more, focusing less on moves (those need serious dedication and practice), etc. Well, coach has a plan - and that plan is all work. No goofing off ... and that's why I love my coach. He really motivates me, and gets me to work hard.

We still spent a lot of time on basics. The main thing I'm happy about is progress we had on my BI-3s - yes, I can eek them out good enough to have passed juvenile and adult gold MITF, but they do not feel good. My BO-3s at least some of the time are actually enjoyable to do; BI-3s are just plain scary. I asked coach how to make them more correct, and we took them apart. Of course, one lesson is not enough to completely fix them, but there was improvement and I did get several turns that were much more correct, so I am happy.

Overall - yes, I am quite rusty after not having lessons for 6 months and not practicing much, but it is not as terrible as I feared.

Next week will have a lesson on Thursday. Can't wait.
Never thought that demonstrating properly bent knees/ankles while teaching LTS for an hour can make the said ankles very, very tired! Serious practice afterward was out of the question.

Yes, taught my first ever LTS classes this weekend. Was thrilled to have an adult student - I am comfortable with adults, will take some time to learn "tricks" to be a good little kids' instructor. Sessions are not busy yet, so a good time to pick up some skills in that department.

As far as my own skating goes, reduced my "official" work hours - got 1/2 day off on Tuesdays to skate/have a lesson. Of course, that came at a price of getting a pay cut, but I am thrilled to be able to take lessons again. Had my first lesson after a nearly 6-month break on November 3rd. It was "back to basics", with a million corrections on everything from stroking to cross-strokes. Loved every single minute of it.
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