Thursday
Apr122012

Dance Team at Adult Nationals

 

All of our best wishes to the Dance Team of Anna Li and Will Eastler who are competing this weekend along with 485 other adult skaters at the 2012 Adult National Championships in Bensenville, Illinois April 10-14, 2012. 

Everyone at SSC wishes you a Gr8 Sk8! 

 

Sunday
Mar252012

Anna Li's Blog from Adult Sectionals

 

March 15, 2012

Greetings from sunny Utah!  

Will and I arrived at Salt Lake International Airport and headed on the hour drive to Provo.  In the airport, we see other skaters toting around their skate bags but we don’t recognize any of them.

We have a practice tonight and then tomorrow, we’ll have official compulsory dance practice and compulsory dance competition.  We can’t believe how warm and sunny it is here and it’s beginning to look like bringing our winter coats and “skate warm at OVA” clothes was unnecessary.

Wow!  The Peaks Ice Arena is very warm and the ice is soft.  We’ve taken a bunch of pictures because this rink will be hosting the 2012 Pacific Coast Sectionals so we think many of our young OVA friends will be interested.  Peak's Arena 

The complex oddly holds two indoor soccer fields, or what our OVA Brits would call football fields.  There are two arenas but only the one with lots of bleachers is being used for this competition.  The locker rooms run through a hall between the two rinks and leads right to an entrance onto the competition rink.  Instead, we learn that we have to enter the rink from the far side thorough the hockey boxes.  With only three teams in Championship dance, we knew a costume change for compulsories would be difficult, but now it’s impossible given the distance to the locker room.  Of course, there was the time I changed in the arena behind blankets that my friends held up as a dressing stall.


RegistrationWe end up sharing the practice ice with just one solo dancer.  It’s great to have empty ice to get our bearings.  We can feel the altitude but it isn’t too bad…yet.

Yeah!  Our friend Chris is also at the rink having just finished a practice.  Chris lives in Montana and we haven’t seen him since we last competed two years ago.  We keep in touch on email but its great to catch up in person.  Chris is going to wait for us to finish our practice so we can go get a bite together.

Friday, March 14, 2012
Ice Cut Twice as Fast
Our official practice is not until 3pm and we compete at about 6pm so we get to sleep in.  We go over to the rink at about 11am so that I can check in as an official coach and help Chris on his practice since he didn’t bring his coach from home.  

For the first time, Chris has doubles in his program.  They are a little inconsistent but he is going for the challenge of doing them under pressure.  I give him a couple of pointers and encourage his confidence.

The rest of the dancers in our category have arrived.  Warm up by football fieldUnfortunately, our friends Kia and Molly have to compete with an injury.  Molly has a pulled muscle that is on the mend but very vulnerable to re-injury which would affect them at Nationals.  They tell us that they are going to only do a single pattern of the compulsories and just skate around during their free dance so that they can qualify to go on to Nationals.

The other team, Gilbert and April, suggest we all go to lunch together.  Marco, who will be competing in Championship Gold Men, also joins us.  We find this really terrific restaurant, Guru’s, which has lots of yummy choices including pastas, rice bowls, burritos and dishes with lots of vegetables.  The half portions are plenty but somehow Gilbert manages to polish off a full portion...the bowl is larger than his head.  Load those carbs!


Locker rooms
Competition Time
Dressed in our Paso outfits, we ready ourselves for doing the Paso first and then the Starlight.  We’ve drawn position #2 so we’ll be skating second in both dances.  As we swing by the judges’ stand during warm up, I can see a couple of judges we know watching and smiling at us.  It reminds us that the judges are actually rooting for you and want you to skate your best.

We end up sitting in the hockey box across from the judges while each of us in our group competes.  It feels a little weird but also nice as it creates a sense of camaraderie among the competitors
Skaters enter from hockey box
Anita Conrad is watching from the corner glass of the rink so she can get back to the accountant’s room as quickly as needed.  She is the chief accountant at the competition but her presence is helping us feel like we’re at home. 

Anita's Corner

The corner Anita is standing at is the spot for the opening 3-turn for the Starlight and I try to look at her to project a big, happy smile in the sweeping waltz.

Results get posted and we swept all 1st’s in the Paso but the panel is split over the Starlight.  April and Gilbert have four 1st’s to our three 1st’s so they lead after the compulsory portion because the second dance breaks the tie.
Off ice warm up
As we are getting our skates off, a coach that was at yesterday’s practice comes over to ask me if I am from New York.  I tell her I am originally and she proceeds to tell me her name and how she got goose bumps watching us as she realized I was her childhood friend.  Nancy and I skated together as kids and even competed in shadow dance as partners.  We haven’t seen each other in about 25 years but skating is a small world where you make lifelong friends.

Saturday, March 15, 2012

This morning we’ll be competing our free dance and the timing is just like practice time at home.  We’re a little tired as we had practice at 7:30pm last night and then had dinner at California Pizza Kitchen with Molly and Kia.  By the time we got our things organized for the morning and washed up for bed, it was late.  In a way, it’s just like our schedule at home…too little sleep and too much to do.
View from the stands
We have a good official practice.  During the in between time, there’s talk of our event starting earlier so Will and I get going with our off-ice warm up.  We’ve been running the stairs that are just by the accounting office and face the registration desk.  It’s now about the 6th time we’ve run these stairs since we arrived, so I’m either getting used to the folks at the registration desk watching us like we’re crazy or they have gotten used to us and have stopped staring.  Meanwhile, I still have to actively regulate my breathing because of the altitude.

Will’s friend from work in Seattle has just arrived with his new girlfriend that lives in Salt Lake.  He just flew in this morning for the weekend and they hustled to Provo to watch us.  They have not seen figure skating in person and are curious to see what has been getting Will into work late each day.  Their effort to come and support us is a lovely treat.

Ben and I are texting.  He is giving us all that good coaching juju…friendly reminders, lots of encouragement and direction for our nervous energy.  I keep envisioning how he looks when he turns his performance switch on and I work on embodying that feeling to be larger than life.

Molly and Kianoosh finish up and now it’s our turn.  We take our positions and the music starts to play.  Well, it’s happening.  We waltz jump into the twizzles.  The first set is together and even though something feels a bit odd, we get them done and connect up well afterwards.  I jump into the low lift and manage to remember the new change of elbows up first.  I think it’s some of the best arms I’ve done on that lift.  We have trouble on the entrance to our camel as we misread each other and then don’t push together.  Will says to me, “hang on” as he manages to pull me into the camel even though I’m a sack of potatoes.  The camel goes but is creaking around in agony and I think, gosh, we should get extra points for even being able to get a camel off that entrance even though I know the system doesn’t work that way.  But, we get a great entrance into the back sit spin and we try to make up for the camel.  

Our program continues and I’m always amazed at how it feels slowed down and speeding by all at the same time during competition.  We’ve done a great hydro and long lift that rotated easily.  Next thing we know, we’re done.  Of course, part of me wants to say, “Wait. Can we do it again?  We can skate better than that.”  It’s as though the double run-throughs at home were for more than just stamina.  But all we can do is politely bow and graciously smile as though what we’ve skated is worth winning.
Sundance
We’ve qualified for Adult Nationals and tonight we’re going to The Tree Room at Sundance for a nice dinner.  The drive to actor Robert Redford’s resort is only about a half hour and the vistas are gorgeous.  We go early to have time to poke around the grounds in the light.  Oh, there’s a fire pit going and kids are roasting marshmallows…mmm.  The gift shop is big and has cute things.  The halls are filled with pictures of famous folks and less famous folks - all of them having contributed to this special place that cultivates nature and the human spirit.

Tomorrow we’ll go visit with my friends that I met while living in Park City for a ski season long ago.  Lisa took up skating just a few years ago and is going to take her first MIF and FS tests next week.  We’ll have a nice relaxing time to help us regroup and return home ready to train hard for Nationals….I guess in a way we’re are going to get the second run through after all.

Staying on edge,
Anna

P.S.  Thanks to everyone for their support, encouragement and well wishes on this journey.  A special thanks to Ben, who raised the partnership bar; Sharon, who has been in our corner since the beginning and continually teaches us to be slicker, meaner, lighter, more sparkly and super-de-duper while always improving our technique; Steve, who in his jovial way shows us that pair skaters know a thing or two; and Paul, who puts up with me and teaches us that we haven’t yet found the bottom of our “digging deep”.  And, thanks to Will, without whom I would be the silence of one hand clapping.

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday
Mar172012

2012 Pacific Coast Adult Dance Silver

Provo, Utah.  Congratulations to the dance team of Anna Li and Will Eastler for winning the Silver Medal in Championship Adult Dance at the Pacific Coast Adult Figure Skating Championships. 

The team placed first in the first Compulsory Dance, second in the Second Compulsary Dance and second in the Free Dance for an overall Second Place and the Silver Medal.  They will advance to the 2012 U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships (Nationals) which will take place from April 10-14 in Bensenville, IL.

Well done! 

 

Wednesday
Mar142012

SSC Hosts USFS S.T.A.R.S Combine

USFS S.T.A.R.S Combine

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Embassy Suites, Lynwood, WA

 

Seattle Skating Club is pleased to be chosen as a host for one of the 20 locations in the nation for the 2012 USFS S.T.A.R.S Combine.  S.T.AR.S. stands for Standardized Testing of Athleticism to Recognize Skaters.  For more information visit our events page

 

 

 

Monday
Mar122012

Good Luck Anna Li and Will Eastler

 The Dance Team of Anna Li and Will Eastler will be competing in the USFS Pacific Coast Adult Sectional Championships the week in Provo, Utah.  Read more about them on "Our Skaters" page.  Video and results can be seen at Ice Network. Wil and Anna are familiar faces at OVA.  In addition to being an amazing Dance Team, they are also coaches.  The team are 2 time Adult Nationals Silver Medalists. 

Seattle Skating Club would like to extend our best wishes to them!