Ikaika's Blog #2 from JN's!



Ikaika Blogs from Junior Nationals!




Holiday Gala!! Saturday night!

Please come and join us for our HOLIDAY GALA!!!!  Where every skater is a STAR!!!

SSC"s Holiday Gala is this Saturday night, Dec. 10th at 7pm at OVA!  Families, friends, SSC members all are invited to attend and watch our performers of every age, every level shine in the spotlight!  Our gala runs like a show, so please plan on being here by 7pm to get your seat and enjoy the skating magic.  

The skating is followed up by an appetizer and desserts potluck in the OVA lobby!  Come share the season with us!

The program runs as follows:



Holiday GALA is December 10th!


Goodbye to Sectionals!

Hi everyone!
Well here I am at the airport on the way back to Cambridge after a long week here in Utah.  Here's the play-by-play of yesterday!
We got up pretty early to go to our twenty-minute warmup.  We decided to just take it easy and only plan on a brief overview of our free dance just so that we wouldn't push ourselves to the point where we'd be too tired.  After all, we are at altitude here and we knew that a lot of our friends had begun to really feel the altitude even though it's only 4,400 feet, which by the standards I got used to in the Pacific Northwest, meaning the 6,800 feet of Jackson Hole, never seemed too intimidating.  Our warm-up went really well, and we got everything taken care of that we wanted to do.  It was great to feel so relaxed and calm going into our free dance.  After that we went back to the hotel to sleep for another hour before heading back to the rink.
I always get a bit stressed and nervous before I skate, and this year wasn't too different.  There's always this feeling of fear and anxiety for me, but I was able to get it under control with some belly breathing.  It also helped that while I was warming up, the student of a coach friend of mine skated her program to one of my favorite power songs, "Butterflies and Hurricanes" by Muse.  The song is about how this is our time, this is our moment, and how we have to do our best.  I think having my power songs is one of the best ways to get myself motivated and ready to go for competition, and for each competition I usually pick a new power song to work with.  This time, though, I actually went back and got my playlist of power songs from 2007, the last time I competed in Salt Lake City.  In any case, my power songs got me all ready to go!
Our five-minute warm-up went by quickly as well.  We made the decision to use it as a chance to get our feet under us more than to prepare our elements (a decision I only would not actually recommend to freestylers!), so we only warmed up two of our seven elements.  Last time we performed our free dance, which was at Harvard's An Evening With Champions ice show, we went out and skated our program without any on-ice warm up before the program, so this time we felt especially comfortable with the program.  Because we skated 5th in the Short Dance and 4th in the Free Dance, we had some very long backstage waits, so having a five-minute warmup didn't change much in how we felt.  I think those were the longest backstage waiting times I've had yet in my career - I've never skated so late in a flight before.
Roxette and I passed the time in the same way we did at both last year's Sectionals and at Nationals - by taking a bit of time to calm down and get focused, then by lip-syncing and dancing to our competitors' music backstage.  It sounds like a sort of weird ritual to have, but it helps us get relaxed and comfortable, get a little bit of blood flowing, get us into and feeling the music, and makes us laugh.  We usually lip-sync to whoever is skating to one of our power songs, "I'm Feelin' Good," which is a perpetual power song favorite, and then we also danced along to some Big Bad Voodoo Daddy before we got on the ice to get our feet under us during the break while the scores for the team before us were prepared.
Our program felt really good, I think.  We went out and hit everything pretty well, and the audience seemed really really involved.  Our music is from the Broadway version of "The Addams Family," and we got quite a few laughs and smiles from the judges as we performed the beginning of the program, which is really goofy and fun.  It's a new sort of theme for both of us to explore, because we've both done almost exclusively dramatic and classical programs, so it's a new but fun challenge to take on the silly and campy characters from The Addams Family.  Apart from my missing a hold near the beginning and one turn that I didn't control well in the circular step, we nailed the entire program.  In fact, we were awarded level 4's for every element except our step sequences, which was a really exciting moment for us.  We also gained several points from our grades of execution.  Our technical base value was the highest in the event (tied for first), and the total technical mark was only .14 behind the leaders, which was so exciting for us.  We even learned that we aren't too far from getting higher levels on our step sequences, so we should be able to push our score even higher.  Our total free dance score was 64 point-something, right up against the winners' 66 point free dance, so we were so thrilled to have been so close to the other teams.  In fact, our free dance score was the 4th highest of any Junior team in any section.  Not bad for a run through where we just wanted to make it to the end!
We spent the rest of the afternoon watching the other events.  Roxette's brother came in 3rd in Novice Men and will also advance to the U.S. Championships, and we also got to watch the Senior Ladies and the Senior Dance event.  Seattle Skating Club's Senior Lady, Olivia Olsen, skated a great free program to Swan Lake, and came in 10th overall.  I also ran into SSC's Sarah Gonzales, who was first alternate to the event.  Sarah is one of SSC's many collegiate skaters, and she is thriving here at the University of Utah, continuing to train alongside her studies.
We were especially excited to see our friends and training mates compete in the Senior Free Dance event, which turned out to be one of the highlights of the competition.  My former roommate and his partner skated a great James Bond-themed free dance to take silver, while my training mates from Michigan skated to gold with a brilliant free dance to "Stairway to Heaven" choreographed by Christopher Dean that had the audience on its feet.  After that my parents and I went over to my aunt and uncle's house and had a nice birthday dinner for my uncle and my mom.  When we got back to the hotel it was late, and so we packed for a bit and I went downstairs to spend some time with my friends.
All in all, it was a great end to a great competition.  It certainly had its stresses and unexpected moments, but we were so happy with the way it all came together in the end for us.  We know we have a lot to work on for Nationals, but we're really excited to get back to work after some much-needed downtime to rest and recover.
I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and I'll see you at Christmas!