July 17, 2017

Take the Quiz on Rocker Skating

It's making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter.  Go to Jackie Wong's web page Rocker and see which jump you are.

I got the 'Toe' jump, which makes sense for this chorus girl.  Lots of people are posting that they are lutz jumps and I must admit I'm a little jealous.  What I was really hoping for, however, was the split jump.  That would make my day.

Leave a comment and let me know what jump you got.

As always, thanks Jackie Wong for a great website!

July 11, 2017

Jumps and Spins I would like to see make a Comeback


As I mentioned on Twitter, I caught the last half of the 1941 movie Ice Capades that featured an (uncredited!) Belita and starring Dorothy Lewis as the main skaters.

The plot was as old-fashioned as the skating, but I still enjoyed the production numbers.  The women were the main draw on the ice, so I can't speak to how the men skated back then, but these girls were excellent spinners.  Lovely, classic sit spins and scratched spins were everywhere.  Same with bent leg spirals and beautiful layback spins.

It got me to thinking of some old-fashioned moves I'd like to see make a comeback.  Here they are:
one-foot axels
walleys
split-lutz and split flip
all of the above could be done in double for greater effect
all kinds of sit spins
ina bauers
fast two turns across the ice (watch Ice Capades and you'll know what I'm talking about)
scratch spins at the end of a program (maybe headless, maybe two-foot)
Your welcome!  Tell me, what would you like to see in the programs?

June 19, 2017

Callin' all (wanna be) choreographers!

If you're fans or FB friends of Rohene Ward, PSA's (Professional Skaters' Association) Choreographer of the Year 2017, then you'll want to keep your eye out for "The Choreographer's Apprentice."


Rohene posted on sneak peek on his Facebook page and tells us to Like, Share and Follow him throughout the season.  So I did, like and I will share, as soon as I get the link for it.  Stay tuned.

In the meantime I'll give you this and you'll see why I think he's amazing ... (and it's not even his best live performance IMHO)





And there's this announcement coming from the ProSkaters, Sara Kawahara's Workshop in the beautiful Sun Valley this summer.  (I say beautiful, like I've been there or something.  But, no Ice Charades hasn't been yet.  Maybe someday.  Would love to go to this session, but I can't.)

From ProSkaters:

Join two-time Emmy Award winner Sarah Kawahara at her Palette of Choreography Workshop on Monday, July 24, 2017 in beautiful Sun Valley, Idaho.  The Workshop runs from 8:00 am until 12:15 pm and is open to High Test skaters (Intermediate through Senior).
The discounted fee is only $100 for this outstanding workshop where you will:
  • Find Inspiration
  • Explore Inspiration
  • Own Your Performance

Let me know if you're going. Would love to hear about the workshop!

June 14, 2017

Passing the Baton

... to my daughter.  Except it wasn't a 100 meter relay or even an ice show - it was a dance recital.

When we moved to New Jersey almost three years ago, I was amazed by the abundance of dance studios.  It seemed there was one in every strip mall.  That was good for my daughter, since she is not a skater (has only been on the ice three times in her life) and she doesn't play any sports.

Dance is her movement of choice.

Luckily, all of us ex-show skaters (well, me, at least) think we know a little something about our close cousin, dance.  Hey, I can't teach the fundamentals of pirouettes, but I can tell when a toe is not pointed, an arm is drooping and ... honey, you need to do the pirouette again, this time spin faster. Good, and again.  And again.

I know, I know, not cool coming from your mom.  But I can't help it because I want her to look her best when she's on stage performing.  (Here's the dangerous part - as a show skater, not a competitor, I want her to use whatever technique she can to make the move look best.  Bad habits, bad technique, be damned.)

It was strange for me to watch her during random moments of her performance - sort of an out of body experience - because one second she looks like me or at another she looks 5 years old, not 13.  She's doing much harder turns and leaps than she did at 5, so I get a pang of pride when she whips off a difficult trick.

I also felt a huge sense of relief when it was over.  Now as a mom, not a performer, certain things are beyond my control.  But what is still in my control made me a nervous wreck ... did she have all her costume pieces because we can't drive back home now? ... is her bun going to stay in or will she be the one girl on stage with her hairdo malfunction? ... will she forget to take off her eyeglasses?  ... did she bring all of her shoes? ... will she fall out of her double pirouette? ...will she scratch her nose or ear during a performance? ...

All in all, the dance recital went well.  She did her job, I did mine.

Here's one thing I like about her having only one performance a year - it keeps the costs and time commitments down.   When I went to the Synchro Skating Eastern Sectionals in Hershey PA this winter, I sat next to a dad (a doctor) who had a son in hockey and a daughter in synchro skating and in his words, "We're going to the poor house."  This one trip encompassed new costumes, two or three hotel nights, not sure how much in coaches' fees, extra ice time and gas or airline tickets.  That adds up when you do that multiple times a year.

Right now we look at my daughter's dance as good exercise since she's not getting it to or from or in school - she needs to do something.  It's expensive as exercise already.  If you added on the cost of the competitions - yikes!

Here's one thing I don't like about having only one performance a year - the pressure.  She's got one shot to get it right.  And due to the recording policy, the only time to video the dance is during the dress rehearsal, so she's got to get it right coming out of the gate.  I understand the policy and like that during dress rehearsal, parents our free to record the child's performance and expected to leave or leave open seats to others when another group of kids is performing.  It generally works out.  And then during the performance, the audience watches the performance like the olden days.

The cruel irony these dance students face is as amateurs you rarely perform.  If you make it as a profession, you will constantly perform.

It's unlikely my daughter will ever become a professional dancer.  While she is very graceful and poised on stage (yes, I'm her mother, but she really is) she doesn't have the technique to take her to the higher levels.  Those were my strengths and weaknesses as a skater too.  The apple doesn't fall down far from the axel tree.



And because she's unlikely to dance professionally, that's where our dilemna comes in - should she keep dancing in high school, even though other younger students will pass her by making her more insecure or does she leave dancing or concentrate on things she's better at (debate, languages, acting)?

She had tears last night after coming back from the class that watches the recital together.  The teacher asked each student what he/she wanted to do next year.  My daughter is straddling that more than familiar spot where girls either dig in and commit to nothing but dance or they leave.  She knows she's not as strong as the others.  She wants to continue dancing, but she'll face the scrutiny of others wondering why she's decided to stay.

Making the decision harder is the studio's annoying policy that dictates if you want to take hip-hop, you must take jazz, if you take jazz you must take ballet, if you take ballet you must take a technique class and you must take at least four disciplines (okay, add in tap) and you get the idea.  This studio is set up to take your money.  She took five classes a week last year and that was considered barely involved because she wasn't in the studio's special performance troupe.

But wait a minute, Ice Charades, didn't you write in the beginning that there is a dance studio in every strip mall? 

Why yes I did.  Thanks for asking.  And if you're still reading this far, THANKS for reading!  Yes, there are two other studios nearby, but each of them has their quirks that make her present studio the right one.

And wouldn't you know it, her studio puts on the BEST recital as far as costumes, props, stage, and staging.  It's a slick production designed to entertain, not emphasize the dancers' skills.   So if she only gets the one recital a year, it may as well be the showy one, right?  Again I repeat, unlike kids who compete in sports who have games as well as practice all season, the dancers get one shot.

I guess I just answered my own question.  Yes, she'll continue to dance.  She'll do her best, despite what others are doing.  And I'll still be proud.

June 5, 2017

Rocker Skating: Your One-Stop Shop for the 2016-17 Competitive Season

... is all here!

(Well, not the top ten spots, because that will be revealed some time after this was posted.)

If you're a fan of figure skating and you haven't been to Jackie Wong's Rocker website, you should do so now.  Every program and every competition  is posted and analyzed for your convenience.  To me it feels like SkateWeb for the next millennium.

I don't know about you, but this will be handy as we head into an Olympic year.  I might even know a name or two of the pair and dance teams before Pyeong Chang 2018!


May 31, 2017

Skaters Reunion in Prague

I had to go deep into the comments of a few Facebook postings to get the date.  I'll keep this one updated as more official notices pop up.

But for now, if you're in the neighborhood, that would be Prague, Czech Republic from September 7-10, 2017, there is a Holiday On Ice reunion for skaters.  Still trying to find the location.  Stay tuned ...

May 16, 2017

The Legend is Closing



You know by now that Ringling Bros is closing for good, but you may not know you can watch the final show, May 21 - this Sunday - via live stream on Ringling.com.

Here's the link to get you set up.

I saw this show in its last performance in New Jersey and I can tell you one thing I wasn't expecting was sky-high ticket prices.  But I should have known better.  An era is closing.  (And New York ticket prices will be even worse.)   So watching it on-line will be a much better option on the wallet.

And as the ad states ... this is the ...

Last. Show. Ever. 


 Excuse me, Ice Charades, but what does this have to do with skating?  

Actually, the last touring show of Ringling Bros includes a Chinese Acrobatic act on skates, thank you very much.  You can see a little of it in the trailer from the link above.  And a few of the clowns skate as well.  So this isn't an ice show, but it's a show with some skating and that should make any skating fan want to watch it.

Sunday, May 21, 2017, 7 p.m. ET

And don't forget those cute "little" tigers too!

April 27, 2017

Did you catch the ISU World Team Trophy competition?



This was the first time I knew of such a competition and I had to ask ... what's with all the crazy hats?  Even the judges (or the referees) were wearing them, no?

I can understand in the Kiss-N-Cry, there is a need to let off a little steam, after Worlds.

If you want a great recap - go here to The Judges' Table.  As always, there is in-depth analysis here.  You won't be disappointed.

Spoiler alert:  Japan won.

April 21, 2017

Behind the Scenes ...

A few of these skating videos have been popping up in my Facebook and Twitter feed.  If you haven't seen this yet, take a look.


I don't know for sure, but I can only imagine this is a GREAT gig to get.  High paying, high visibility. You do one, maybe two numbers a show and you're on stage with the famous Rockettes. How cool is that!

March 29, 2017

Still So Excited!




They've already had the premiere in Sydney.  The movie comes out in theaters in Australia on April 6, 2017 and I'm dying to know when it will be released on Netflix or better yet, come to the theaters in the States.

I've written about this in two previous posts, but I'll say it again, if you're a fan of figure skating, you will probably love the tv series Dance Academy too.   All three seasons are available on Netflix and now on You Tube.  I suggest you start at the beginning, but you'll still get sucked if you wandered in at Season 2.

My personal theory on why this show is so popular, compared to all other dance movies/tv shows, is the writing is so strong.  It's realistic and the characters are three dimensional.  They are not just all sweet or totally evil, completely talented or robbed of their title - and they are growing up besides.  There are so many parallels to figure skating, either the side competition or performing, that you'll be swept in.  I promise!

March 8, 2017

This Aint Your Mamma's Synchro Team

... it's your Daddys' instead!




Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce the River Bulls, from Finland.  They are the only all-male synchro team and they were founded in 2014.

I love the story of how they came to be ... like the classic song from "A Chorus Line" - "I'm watching sis go pitter pat, said I could that ...."

Let Matti Heinonen, one of the team's member explain:
It all began season 2013-14 when two of us were waiting and watching our daughters' rehearsal.  Suddenly the other one said:"That seems to be so easy, maybe we should try it too?  We know how to move in blocks because we have been in the army."  From this moment the idea started to live in our minds and after some months the first skating courses for men were arranged.


It doesn't sound like they are heading to the 2017 World Synchro Championships in Colorado Springs next month.  But neither am I ... as a spectator.  I would love to see Worlds!  If any of you are near Colorado Springs on April 7 or 8, you should go!!!

February 24, 2017

Want to buy a photo?

This is for sale on ebay (thanks for the hat tip, Richard M. Morse at Facebook's Ice Capades Reunion 2015.)


I think the photo is rather captivating.  Can't put a year on it.  1940-something, so it's old.  If all of the signage weren't in English, I'd be tempted to say the man's Italian.  But I do like that it's in English.  It says Ice Capades four times and I'm always grateful to keep the name out there.

Hmmmm, I wonder why?

February 13, 2017

What I Would Rate Ice Charades



Tell me, figure skaters and fans, if this sounds right ... when you mention figure skating to someone, they almost always think of a girl training for the Olympics.  There was a brief time (circa 1994 - 1998) when people thought of Nancy and/or Tonya, but we're back to the girl (probably 10 - 15 years of age) on her way to the Olympics.

That's not what the novel, Ice Charades, is about.  It's not for young girls.  If it were to be rated like movies are, it would be somewhere between PG-13 and R.  No violence, some swearing, some sexual situations.

I think the closest rating, one that is used in other countries, is MA15+.  It means not suitable for people under 15.

After all, Sue Olson, the protagonist of the novel is nineteen, a sophomore in college, and sets out to skate in an adult world with adult situations.  But I would recommend this for any figure skater who is approaching eighteen -- the age you need to be to be hired for most shows -- who is thinking of joining an ice show.  And I would recommend it for the parents too!





February 6, 2017

The Fitness Marshall

Me likey.

Are you looking to put a little more dance in your exercise routine or put a little more exercise in your dance routine?





About a month ago, I was looking for a certain Zumba song on You Tube when I stumbled upon The Fitness Marshall exercise/dance videos.  It's Caleb Marshall and his assorted backup booties dancing to pop songs with a blend of hip hop moves and calisthenics.  And now my daughter and I are hooked.

You can find him here on Twitter, here on Facebook, but I usually head straight to You Tube.

If your TV can get the You Tube channel or you don't mind watching your videos on small devices, you've got yourself a great workout!  My daughter and I definitely have our favorites:  Me Too, Can't Stop This Feeling and Into You.  But there are a lot more.

Caleb Marshall, is so cute and funny that you'll feel like you're not working out at all.


His webpage has announced tour dates, so maybe they're coming to your city.  If not, give him a try on You Tube.  I bet you'll love him too.

January 20, 2017

#MakeAmericaSKATEAgain


From the Mercury News:
Olympian Ashley Wagner called it an easy choice: Watch the U.S. figure skating championships Jan. 20 instead of the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.

The inauguration falls at the same time as the weeklong skating championships in Kansas City, Missouri, where Wagner, 25, is one of the favorites in the women’s competition.

“People have a really good reason to watch U.S. figure skating nationals, don’t they? That’s all I have to say,” she said Tuesday during a conference call.

Smart call Ashley! I agree.

America, are you ready to skate again?

January 4, 2017