February 26, 2009

A Shout Out ...

to all those skaters who learned English on the job!

I was at a play rehearsal this morning with the other mothers of my daughter's kindergarten class. Don't get me started, but it is the mothers doing the play for the kids instead of the other way around! Why? Why are we doing this? I don't understand.

Anyway, the 2-hour rehearsal was conducted entirely in Spanish, in which I understood maybe 20% of what was going on and it reminded me of the days of new skaters, who didn't speak English, showing up with me for rehearsals.

Rehearsals were hard enough for a new skater, but in a foreign language? I knew at the time they had a tougher challenge than I, but this morning I understood it a little better with my own challenge. (I know 50% of the Spanish nouns I hear, but I'm missing all the verbs, so I can't follow a conversation.)

In Holiday On Ice, we had three new Polish skaters and only two or three other Polish skaters to translate. That kept them all very busy in the first few weeks. Luckily our stage manager, from Denmark, knew six or seven languages, so the important things, like paychecks and visas, were handled in their native language.

In a show I did in Japan, we had two new girls from Quebec, who only spoke French. I was amazed at how quickly they caught on, despite one of the girls - who had to fill in another skater's spot - shouting "Where I Am? Where I Am?" during the number on the ice. What she meant to say, was "Where am I suppose to be?" but she wasn't that advanced yet. She did learn though. After a couple of months, I sometimes forgot during conversations that she started out from scratch.

So hats, or shall I say, sombreros, off to all of you. It's not easy.


Aaron said...

Hahaha...I thought it was going to be a Shout Out to Brian Orser who is in Sofia coaching Adam Rippon!

Ice Charades said...

I do like mentioning Sir Brian whenever I can (thanks for the heads up as to where he is... not like I'm stocking him or anything...)

Here's a topic I've always wondered about - Jr World Champion: Blessing Or Curse? For the men, with a notable exception of the Russian/Soviet contenders, the Jr Champ has never gone on to win the Olympics.

Aaron said...

I think blessing...but that's just me!