Friday, August 19, 2011

Foray Into Adult Skating: My Lesson With Natasha

Earlier this week, I posted a brief update about my return to the ice.  Since then, I had my first lesson with Natasha.  Given that I have some talent, yet no actual on-ice training, Natasha has a big job ahead of her: rid me of my Surya-technique and turn me into the male version of Ekaterina Gordeeva.  Not an easy task.

I've had a lesson with an American before and she was lovely, but there was far too much chatting and she was simply too nice.  While Natasha is a doll, every moment during the lesson was productive.  We tackled forward and backward edges/lobes (inside and outside), forward and backward crossovers, basic stroking warmup for the pre-bronze test, power three-turns, mohawks, waltz jumps and toe-loops.  Natasha skates alongside me and wills turns out of me I never even imagined.

'Now push.  Three-turn, big step, crossover.  No, no, you make mistake.  Three turn then big step, then crossover.  Remember, shoulder shoulder hip hip up.  Softer knee.  Push. Soft knee.  More extension.'

When learning my jumps on my own, I somehow thought it was a good life decision to land them on my entire blade.  I thought I was being strong like Alexei Yagudin.  Apparently we should actually try to land them by digging in the toe pick to be soft and graceful.

After my lesson, I wasn't sure what I could remember.  I am the type who never skates as well in my lesson as I will the next day.  I need time to work on things, figure them out and then show them.  My left forward outside three to back crossover is already nailed and I've already began figuring out how I want to incorporate it in the program to Tori Amos' iieee I've been choreographing in my head.  I have dreams of performing and may grab my balls and post them on my blog when I make a bit of progress.

In the mean time, I've been skating every day this week and have added Dara Torres' Kihara Resistance Stretching DVD back into my workout in order to improve my flexibility and strength all over.  I'm not naturally strong in my core or upper body, so I've spent extra time working on that and hope to one day be butch like Ms. Torres.  Margaret Thatcher was gifted a copy of the DVD, yet has yet to join me in my quest to have Dara make a man out of me.

I was back on the ice today despite intense soreness all over.  Mind you, I came down on my left knee last week and discovered my funny bone.  Thursday, I warmed up my back crossovers and skated into the boards minutes before the lesson (whacking the same spot.)  Today, I fell on a toe loop and hit the inside of my knee and still managed to whack my Jay-Leno-chin on the ice despite my best efforts to fall correctly.  My inner Tara Lipinski took over and I didn't leave the ice until I landed five clean toe loops in a row.

Thursday begins the second official week of acknowledging my woeful inadequacy.

Question for readers: Does anyone know if a good instructional ballet DVD that will aid my Black Swan Workouts and make me infinitely more beautiful?  I'd lie and say I have dreams of being Ethan Stiefel, but who am I kidding?!  I have dreams of becoming a Lopatkinva-Vishneva hybrid.

Remnants of my single toe loop.


  1. Katarina Witt would be very proud!!

  2. Love the blood stain. Very Wieber at last year's Visas.

  3. Looks like you've also discovered the inner Tara Lipinski work ethic... seriously you're putting us hardcore skaters to shame... we WILL have a diva-off... someday... <3

  4. I told Tara that I was going to steal her gold medal away from her on the ice after I landed my first Salchow...

  5. I'd give NYCB Workout a try. Not a ballet lesson per say, but exercises from the pros :)

  6. NYCB workout will kick your butt, in a good way, if you do it correctly. I recommend buying the DVD set (vol. 1 and 2) and the book, as reading the book can fill in technical areas that the DVD might not completely clarify. The workout's a hybrid of ballet and other exercises, but has enough real dance to be effective. Bonus points for having a ballet master narrating the whole thing in his own artsy growl. The DVD should offer both modern and classical music for variety.

  7. You might aspire to Lopatkina/Vishneva glory, but I don't think you'd mind looking like ABT principal David Hallberg:

  8. The blood stain is Hardcore!!
    'Natasha has a big job ahead of her: rid me of my Surya-technique and turn me into the male version of Ekaterina Gordeeva. Not an easy task' LOL!! Well as long as your technique isn't going the way of Rachael Flatt you should be alright! :)

    Awesome!! Thanks for sharing this, it really inspires me to get back into Adult Ballet!

    As to ballet workouts, apart from the suggestions above, you may also want to try Mary Helen Bowers "Ballet Beautiful". She's the one who got Natalie Portman into Black Swan shape:

  9. If you want a dvd with actual Russian ballet instructions from someone who has actually studied Vaganova method in Russia. Consider Eric Conrad's Secrets of Russian Ballet. I'm a former dancer and find his technique very different yet result oriented/ technical, although even if you don't wish to become a ballet dancer, he has some great advice for form and alignment that are applicable to looking/ moving like dancers if you are willing to be serious.

    Here's an example on YT

    I ordered it from amazon.

  10. Katherine Healy Ballet work out on youtube, but you've already have a good spiral, so you may find it not too useful. HAHA

  11. Dave, I want to marry you just for entertainment's sake. I FRAKIN' love you.