Hold that thought. I will be coming back to it in a bit.

Today I found myself in ‘ice dance heaven’ on a visit to Ice Dance Elite at the Scarborough Figure Skating Club. I was there, along with my Mom who is an ice dance judge, at coach Carol Lane’s invitation to see some skating, specifically to start to wrap our brains around the new Short Dance component in the ice dance competition. I was also looking forward to chatting with Kharis Ralph and Asher Hill – look for their story in an upcoming blog.

I have to tell you that this is a particularly busy summer program. It runs for 8 weeks and boasts 14 dance teams at all competitive levels including 4 Junior, 2 Senior and an International team in attendance. The program structure is quite simple: it runs from 6:30 – noon weekdays and the skaters are divided into a higher or lower session depending on their level and skaters are also expected to participate in a ballet class in the morning followed by a fitness class a little later on.

What we arrived to see was Performance Day, where the skaters get the chance to do a more structured run-through of their program(s). It was fun to bounce around from one level to the next and from one kind of program to another. The thing that amused me more than anything was the large bristol board pinned to a cork board with the days of the week going across the top and the skaters’ names running down the left side. There were lots of colourful push pins already in place underneath the day’s name and beside the skaters’ names. On closer inspection (which I then confirmed with Carol) there is a unique system in place to evaluate run-throughs based on the colour of the push pin:

CLEAR = Outstanding Performance

GREEN = Clean run-through

BLUE = One error

YELLOW = Up to 2 errors

RED = You’re in trouble πŸ™‚ Do it again!

Sometimes it’s the small things that can help motivate an athlete the most!

The best thing was seeing the short dances. They have been described as a combination of a compulsory dance and a choreographed part with required elements. The Junior skaters have to incorporate 2 patterns of the Viennese Waltz, while the Seniors have to incorporate 1 pattern of the Golden Waltz and as long as the tempo is correct, you have your choice of music. Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier wowed us their short dance to Alicia Keys’ “Falling”. Without seeing it, I wouldn’t have expected it to work and work it does in a very sultry and sophisticated way. I wasn’t sure about the concept, but I think the short dance is going to work and hats off to Carol and coaching partner Juris Razgulaevs for getting all those programs put togther in the last 6 weeks! (All dance coaches were in the same boat of having to wait for the Short Dance and it’s rules to be passed by the ISU Congress mid-June)

During a quick goodbye hug, Vanessa and Paul mentioned that they were going to be at the Mariposa Gala in Barrie on the night before they were performing in their own gala. What gala I asked? Ice Dance Elite’s teams will all be performing and previewing all of their programs for the coming season. I am going to be there to see not only some great skating but some more sort dances. Call it research πŸ™‚ You can come to this fundraiser too if you like. Tickets are available for purchase at the door, with the price of $10 for adults and less for students and seniors. The date is Wednesday, August 4th at Thornhill Community Centre at the corner of John St and Bayview. Paul said that the audience can leave comments for the skaters and the show is called “So You Think You Can Judge?”

It took me a minute, but I told you I would get back to it! :See you there πŸ™‚

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