Last year I had a great year in skating, and this year was as good if not better! It has been a little over a year at our new skating club, and it has proven to be delightful. I feel like I have a lot more friends in skating than I ever have before, and there is a lot of genuine support and camaraderie among the skaters that was missing before the move. It is a much happier environment to skate in, and I think that has been helpful in pushing forward with my skating goals despite setbacks of injuries and illness throughout the year.
As far as RSA Testing goes, this year I have passed:
#14 American Solo Dance
#14 American Team Dance
#6 Loop Figures
#7-8 International Solo Dance
Passing the 14th American dance tests was a major accomplishment for me, since that Pacifica Foxtrot has been kicking my butt for the past few years. But it has been vanquished! My lower back couldn’t be happier.
In terms of competitive goals:
* I was able to compete at local, invitational, and state games. More competitive experience is always good.
* Despite having a knee injury, I managed to qualify for nationals in all of my events, and I finally managed to place in events that I have been skating for (many many) years. My performances were not quite what I had hoped they would be, but it was exciting to finally achieve something I had been working towards for many years, and I finally feel like I can move on to more challenging events.
* I had a fairly good nationals. I did manage to get a third place in team dance with my partner, and I got fourth place in three other events, which is a significant improvement over years past where I had either barely qualified or not qualified at all. Though I wish I had been able to skate just a little bit better and maybe made the podium, overall I had a great time at nationals and I feel like I have made a significant improvement over performances in previous years.
And as far as judging goes:
* I managed to get my #3 Freestyle and #2 International Dance commissions. This means I can now judge almost any artistic skating test, except, of course, the Gold Medal tests. That is something to work for in the coming years.
* I judged my first invitational and first regional meets. It was fun and exciting to be able to participate in skating on the other side of the clipboard, and I hope I can do more judging in the future.
So, all in all, a great year! I think I managed to hit most of my skating goals from last year, and I am looking ahead to next year:
* I want to work towards my Gold Medal tests for American and International Dance, as well as my Loop figures. Again, I don’t know if it will happen this year, but now that I have passed most of the tests leading up to them I want to focus on passing the remaining tests or at least working on improving my skills to where I can pass them in the relatively near future.
* I want to continue to work on improving my overall knowledge so that I can be a better judge and maybe eventually work on higher level commissions. At this point that means a lot of book work and studying.
* I want to read more books about the history of skating. In some ways knowing how or why things came to be help them make more sense. That, and I am a total nerd.
* I want to continue to add skating information posts on the blog. I want to cover more dances and highlight more excellent skating videos.
And that’s it! As far as competition goes, a lot of things will be changing this year, so I don’t want to make too many goals or plans in that area. I am looking at this as a building or training year, where I am hoping to get a stronger more sure footed style to my skating, as well as improving overall technique. So far I feel like I have been improving since nationals, and so I am hoping this can continue for the next year to help me become a better skater.