Friday, February 20, 2015

101.4 Degrees

Since I've been struggling to rid my body of an annoying head and chest cold, I've been watching a lot of skating and thinking. If this doesn't make sense, remember, I've been running a fever. Sometimes you and your coach are on two different pages. You see yourself as being able to at least attempt to move on and try harder things. Your coach sees your highest jump as being a waltz jump. Different pages. You sit back and wonder why you aren't working on new elements and why your entire lesson consists of you doing crossovers. 40 minutes of crossovers. By the time your lesson is over, your legs are jello and you want a drink. Unfortunately, it's 8:30am. You remember being able to perform elements without thinking about it, and if you don't think about it, you can still do it. Then you think about it. If someone video taped you at that moment, you would resemble an animal attempting to run at top speed on ice. You know how it's going to end and no, it's not a pretty picture. You watch a local competition and think, "I should have done this competition". So the next year, you sign up. Who else signs up? That skater who just left an international ice show. Watching her Russian splits, illusions and easy double jumps, you wonder if you're being punked and where Ashton Kutcher and cameras are hiding. Mentally you have choreographed your program and it contains elements you CAN do. Your coach doesn't agree and that opening jump combination of salchow/loop becomes a waltz jump. This is followed by crossovers, a lot of crossovers into another waltz jump. You insist that some of what you mentally choreographed should stay, but when you try to show your coach, it looks as though you've never been on ice before and you lose that battle. So you make plans and a tentative schedule for upcoming months, but freestyle sessions are canceled for hockey and coaches move on because you're not improving fast enough. You begin to wonder if you're actually enjoying skating any longer. You are, you just wish you were improving faster. Such is the life of an adult skater. To those who are reading, this is not necessarily me; this is all adult skaters. We work really hard to master the elements. We do not get the respect we should. Our events are eliminated from competitions, or our competitions are dropped all together. We are occasionally treated like 5th class citizens at rinks, yet we expected to always volunteer at events. We enjoy volunteering, but our main purpose for being at the rink is to skate. Wishing the best to those going to Regional and National. I hope to be with you next year. However, if you ARE that skater who just left the international ice show, please, do NOT be in my group! I've already experienced that at my first USFSA competition and it wasn't fun.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Light Entertainment Part 2

I found the description of "Light Entertainment" on the USFSA website. I thought I would post it here for those of you who may say I'm just being a grouch. No grouch here, just a person who watch over a half dozen of short programs that had nothing to do with "light entertainment". 1. Dramatic Entertainment: Programs should express intense emotional connection and investment in the music, choreography and theme concept through related skating movements, gestures and physical actions. Props and Scenery ARE permitted. 2. Light Entertainment: Programs should express a carefree concept or storyline designed to uplift and entertain the audience through related skating movements, gestures and physical actions. Props and Scenery ARE permitted. I can only hope that in the future, coaches, judges, skaters, parents and anyone else who organizes showcase competitions will read what a showcase program is supposed to represent. Also, in showcase competitions, try not to gross out, insult, or make fun of the judges, especially to their faces. That is a story for another post... maybe.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Light Entertainment Programs

Having finally recovered from a cold that just about knocked me off my feet for a week, I attended and announced at a Showcase competition. This competition USED to be an adult competition called The Winter Classic. It was, to my knowledge, a financial success but was changed to this Showcase competition because (and are you sitting down for this?) the host club was upset that not enough club members participated or volunteered for the event. Please tell me you are just as confused as I am... Be that as it may, I announced for most of the Showcase competition. And I was shocked and disappointed at what some skaters consider "Light Entertainment". Back in the day, when I did so many ISI competitions that they knew me by face, a "Light Entertainment" program was fun, had some technical elements, and conveyed either a bit of sexy or silliness. Yesterday, I watched a group of girls basically do their Intermediate short program. All technical, no "light entertainment". Evita has a wonderful score. Is it light entertainment? No. Les Miserables, beautiful score. There is one "light" number in the entire show and that's Master of the House. No one skated to that and yet 3 girls skated to Les Miz. Phantom of the Opera... not light entertainment. Jekyll and Hyde; Civil War; The Scarlet Pimpernell and any other Frank Wildhorn show... they are NOT light entertainment musicals. Please do some research first. Yes, you like the music and good for you for appreciating a good score, but skate to that music either as a technical program (in a technical competition or in a Dramatic Entertainment event) but NOT as light entertainment I firmly believe that if you skate your short program for a showcase event, you should be marked down because you did not adhere to the rules. But I'm not a judge and for that, everyone involved should be happy. As for the "Improv" events (which in ISI ran extremely smoothly and were called Interpretive) all I can say is after hearing Taylor Swift screech out a song that reminded me of those screaming goats (even with auto-tune), I volunteered to pick the music next year. I actually begged to pick the music next year. One judge asked if we had to hear that song for three events. I think we heard it for two events, four girls each. It was torture. Remember when people had to be able to sing LIVE to have a music career? Gone are the days... Schools are closed this week so there's no point in trying to get to the rink. So until next time, as we are currently saying in the east coast... Stay Warm.