Dancing and Double Axels Downtown

I promised this story about my years as a figure skater awhile back, but I wasn’t ready to fall on my ass -again- until I knew in my heart it was time. I could write a book on my years of experiences as a figure skater but from the looks of things as they stand now…I will blog instead.

Last night my daughter, her friend and I went into Downtown Mpls for our ballet class at Zenon Dance School. Bear with me because the juices are flowing here…

Downtown Mpls has always given me so much energy that this former figure skater was in no need of caffeine or any other beverage to give me liquid courage.

I fly when I am on energy (naturally) which is why I was leaping down Nicollet Mall past (our lovable Jason DeRusha’s TV station) WCCO. Yes, there were looks of disgust from the yuppies that were having happy hour while enjoying the beautiful patios that grace the mall, but I didn’t care. I was on my way to dance class.

When I arrived at Zenon, which is located in the Hennepin Center for the Arts Building, I was feeling that same feeling I used to when I would warm- up before a competition: Excited, sick to my stomach and happy all at the same time.

Last night was not a competition of any kind, but it was nerve racking to me because I was about to dance not only in front of my daughter and her friend, but also in a group with total strangers that were of all age groups.

You can think what you want, but wearing tights and moving your body into awkward positions in front of complete strangers is still really awkward for me.

Why? Well first of all, I am a "lefty" which means that since I was a little girl my coaches informed me that my body moves naturally in the opposite way of pretty much everyone else, including my skating peers.

For those skating enthusiasts, that means when you see everyone warming up at skating events –skating one direction, jumping one direction, and spinning one direction– you would fine me skating, spinning, and jumping in the opposite direction. Being a "lefty" was hard for this reason…I had to fight my way for 15 years, trying to use the portion of the ice rink that I needed to skate– at the same time everyone else was lining up for their turn to practice double axels.

Yes sir indeed, that last jump I was able to land (cleanly and consistently) was a Double Axel.

I was able to land a few Triple Toe Loop jumps but I would be stretching the truth if I said that I had perfected a jump that at the time seemed like a big deal but is now— done a lot in skating competitions.


So tonight, as I stretch in my office and get ready to go back to class and attempt to share the floor with the other dancers, I am going to try to let go of the years of repression that have been holding me back from the one thing I fell head over heels, mind over body, music over talking– in love with.