21. Waltz Eight

With the waltz eight (Diagram 1) you will at last feel that you are really dancing on the ice. This is a figure eight on a fairly large scale with three segments (meaning three pushoffs) to each circle. The first segment consists of an outside forward three, the second of an outside backward roll, the third of an outside forward roll (minus the change of arms). As each seg­ment of the circle takes six beats and the final edge brings you back to your starting place, geometry demands that each part be a third of the circle. The second circle is drawn by doing exactly the same moves starting on the opposite foot. Thus the first circle consists of a ROF three, LOB roll, ROF roll; the second circle consists of a LOF three, ROB roll, and final LOF edge.

Stand in T-position as for the three you have already learned. Trace in your mind's eye the imaginary three-part circle (which you are about to make a reality) right around and back to where you are standing. Then look to the other side and do the same. See if you can determine the one-third and two-thirds points on each circle. A strong mental image conceived beforehand will be a powerful help in placing your edges and in making your arms, legs, and torso behave correctly. Imagine a straight line drawn from where you stand to the top of the circle on either side. This will be the "long axis" of your eight and will divide it in half lengthwise. An imaginary line drawn at right angles through the long axis just where you stand is the so-called "transverse" or "short axis" of the figure. Where the two lines cross is where the two circles will meet at the exact center of the diagram, and it is on this center that you place your right toe in T-position. You will create your own short axis by the actual starting edge, while the spot where your edge first shows on the ice will also mark the center of the long axis. In general it takes one skate length to make the edge show from a vigorous pushoff—hence the importance of placing your skating toe on the planned center.

Now (Illus. 24), using all the techniques you have previously learned, push off (24-1) and turn your ROF three on the count of 4 (24-2), holding the RIB edge (24-2) for the counts of 5 and 6. Push (24-3)—without arm or head movement—onto the LOB first position (24-4) and hold this edge all across the top of the circle. Change position as you cross the long axis on the counts of 4, 5, and 6. (24-5, 6) From the finishing LOB spiral position (24-6), let the body turn outward and push onto a ROF edge (24-7) at the two-thirds mark. To make this new type of back-to-front transition easy, bring your free foot, heel first, down close to the instep of your skating foot at the finish of the OB edge (24-16, 17) and at the same time allow your skating foot to turn onto a short IB edge (24-6, 7), just as you bend your knees for the pushoff. Make sure your skating hip and shoulder lead all the way back to center on this final OF edge (24-7, 8, 18, 19). To prevent "swing" and also to ensure an easy start for the first three on the next circle, do not change your arms and shoulders as you pass your free foot forward on the final 4, 5, 6. Lean strongly to the right until the exact moment you turn your right foot to the inside edge for the pushoff to the left three, after bending with your feet together. This pushoff should be made right where the first one was—one skate length from the long axis. Again no toe pushes. Complete the eight by repeating all movements to the other side (24-10-19).

Always be sure to look ahead to where the next segment of the curve should go. Just before turning your head to the out­side of the circle on the OB roll (approximately on the long axis at the top of the circle), take a quick look back down the long axis to the starting center (24-4, 14). As you stroke onto the finishing OF edge, turn your eyes again to the start. Coming back to center is a major judging item. It is wise at first to start from a mark on the ice visible from all parts of the diagram.

This figure is really good fun, especially if you skate it to music with plenty of speed, and lean, and knee bend. Try to music with plenty of speed, and lean, and knee bend. Try to make it feel like dancing. Your knee should bend and rise and bend again smoothly on each stroke, and your free leg should move in a controlled pendulum motion that looks as graceful as it feels—graceful, that is, provided your free knee is stretched and your toes pointed at all times. Keep your head erect, turn­ing naturally with the movement, and your back straight. One last caution: Be sure to touch your feet before every three and before every pushoff. And pass your free foot close.

Now let yourself go. Right 2, 3, turn, 5, 6; push, 2, 3, change, 5, 6; push, 2, 3, swing, 5, 6; left, 2, 3, turn, 5, 6; etc.—first to the right circle and then to the left.

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