Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

My adventures as an adult male figure skater in Tucson, Arizona Portland, Oregon Chandler, Arizona.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Waltz-8, BI8, 3s

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club as usual.  I warmed up with the Preliminary test as usual; Lynne came on the ice just after I finished.

  • waltz-8 -- I showed Lynne the tracings from my test runthrough.  We did a couple more layouts of the waltz-8, still working on the BO edge and step forward.  I am tending to be up on my toe on the RBO as soon as I step to it, which is why it's so hard to step forward.  Grr.  We worked on this a bit with some improvement.
  • BI8 -- we worked these on the line.  They are improving.  After a few I really made myself step the R foot out for the initial push -- and got it much further out, almost far enough to make a "real" size circle!  I was pretty happy with that.  I did it again on the next time I started.  I just half to really make myself step (almost jump, it feels like!) over/out farther.  I was pretty happy with these.
  • 3s to center -- about the same.  The entrance edge is better and I'm making the turn relatively quickly, but I'm still skidding in the turn because I don't bring my weight back down quickly.  Grrr.

We discussed the upcoming competition (there will be figures included in the Sherwood Invitational in late August).  BI8 would seem to be a stretch goal; definitely BO8.  Serpentines and 3s to center won't be anywhere near ready at this point.  We might include FO8 if it's not too expensive just to have more experience in skating them nervous.

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Choreo Part 2

Holly met me at Gilbert (I skated the 8:15 after my lesson with JJ) and we worked more on the choreography for my artistic-dramatic.  I got the final cut and played it for her -- it's definitely a winner!

Here's what we had before:
  • Opening pose -- center ice, lean to the right, arms folded on chest
  • RFI pivot w/arms out
  • two-foot spin to the right w/arm over head and coming down
  • Push out, RFI chassé
  • "4" RFO glide
  • LFI mohawk, push to RBO edge
  • waltz jump
  • FXO
  • 3 slaloms with arms
  • LF spiral
  • 2x "barrel roll".. this is an LFI mohawk, cross step, and step forward)
Continuing on..
  • bunny hop (x2) (eeep!)
  • lunge
  • L mohawk
  • windup into a 1-foot spin
  • exit, step forward, FXO
  • salchow
That's all I remember :-(.

It's coming along well.  Not happy about the bunny hops but they'll be okay.  We still have maybe 20 sec to do I think; we are supposed to work again on Tuesday when I get back from my trip.

I'm a bit concerned -- Cactus is only 7 weeks away!  Yow.


Toe Loop

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  We had the ice to ourselves!

We spent the whole lesson working on the toe loop.  We made some progress.  I actually managed to jump from the correct position, but not to rotate :-(.  JJ made me slow things waaaaaay down and this did help a lot to help me reliably get the right position.  JJ says I need to get comfortable with the position before I can speed it up.  He's right, of course.  At this point I'm kind of wondering how this will work out for Cactus... oh well.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice.  It was kind of crowded today!  They coned off 1/3 of the ice for the patch class for a half hour so that made it a bit... interesting.

Warmed up with the Preliminary test as usual, then about 10 min each on BO8 and BI8, then 3s to center, serpentines, and a smidge of waltz-8 again before I left.

I didn't wind up getting to do choreo this morning, we rescheduled for tomorrow a.m.  I did get to play my new cut on the sound system and it sounds terrific!

Monday, May 28, 2012


I skated the coffee club over at Gilbert (no CC at Chandler today and I can use my pass at Gilbert now!).  Just about 5 skaters including skate buddy Melissa and a very cool speed skater.

Had a reasonable skate, worked on spins and jumps.  Worked on the salchow (followup from Friday)... needs more work.

I ran my program twice (thanks to Melissa for encouraging me!).  Just okay.  I'm still getting thrown by the salchow entrance.  Grrr.

When I got home I found that Michael had sent me the updated cut for my artistic dramatic.  It sounds terrific!!  Looking forward to working with Holly on it in the morning.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Back-3 Block

I had my back-3 lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club today.  It's only a 20 minute lesson.

Same as last time... warm up with back 2-foot turns on the circle, then warm up BO3 at the boards, then out to the circle again to give it a try....

I could not do any today.  I don't know why.  I was a little distracted (there were some hockey boys on the session), a little out of sorts... I don't know.  Mostly the problem was I could not get my weight off the balls of my feet -- couldn't make myself lift my toes in my boots.  Argh.  Very frustrating.

After my lesson I worked on jumps and spins.  At the very end of the session one of my friends helped me with my salchow... the idea was to make myself hold the BI edge (how many times have I been told that!?) by really bending the skating leg and *pointing* the toe of the free foot.  This really helped!  I wish I'd had more time to play with it... oh well.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated Chandler coffee club for patch practice today.  Had a good skate.. warmed up with the Preliminary test as usual, then BO8, BI8, serpentines, 3s to center and a little time on waltz-8 again.

While working on serpentines I spent some time working on skating a smaller edge and just working the transition.   Transitions were better, which confirms to me that for whatever reason my edge quality is not good on the serpentine when I want to change edge.   Grrr.

Doing some thinking about what figures I want to compete at Sherwood.  I can definitely do FO8 and BO8 as I did before; but it would be nice to have something new to do.  Unfortunately it doesn't really seem like I'm likely to have anything really ready to go in 3 months, but maybe if I work really hard I could get either BI8 or serpentines.  Hmmph.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Usual Suspects

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  I warmed up with the Preliminary test as usual, and Lynne came on the ice just as I finished.

Today's lesson:
  • waltz-8 -- we looked at these again, a fresh layout.  Working on holding the free foot in front on the BO edge (like any other BO edge!).  LBO is not bad, RBO I am still tending to be up on my toe a bit :-(.  Also worked on the step forward a bunch, trying to make myself really turn the soon-to-be-free foot before the push.  Grrr.
  • BI8 -- these are actually improving a lot. Circles are small but they are a lot more confident and the position is better.
  • 3s to center -- somewhat better.  The LFO3 still is uckky and I'm convinced it's mostly that the edge coming in is not that great.
  • serpentines -- ugh.   The L side is particularly bad.  I'm convinced these are worse than they used to be (they were never good) -- in particular I've not gotten all the way around in a lonnnng time.  I'm not sure why.  Grrr.
I found out yesterday that there will be a figures competition this year after all!  They are going to combine it with the Sherwood Invitational at the end of August.  Since I've usually gone to the Sherwood competition anyway this will work out nicely.... except I'll have to bring two pairs of skates!

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated Chandler coffee club for patch practice as usual.   Ran through the Preliminary test, then worked on BO8, BI8, 3s to center, serpentines, and a couple of minutes on waltz-8 at the end.  3s were a bit better than usual.

BI8 is coming alone well.  I realized in working on 3s to center that the size of the circle I'm getting after the turn isn't really much different than my circle size on the BI8... so I should probably stop beating myself up on that so much.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Spins & Program

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  Just two skaters and two coaches for the first session, and I had the ice to myself for the second :-).

Today's lesson:
  • spins -- just a few minutes on these, no breakthroughs.
  • program -- we ran the program twice.  The first time was pretty icky, second somewhat better.  I need to practice this (esp. the 2nd half) a LOT more.  Note to self!  We also worked quite a bit on the opening 2-foot spin and position so that it would look better and be more secure.  Very helpful and I realized I can unify the opening and closing poses so that they provide a kind of theme for the program.  Nice!
After my lesson (it was long, JJ was generous w/his time) I stayed and worked more on jumps and spins and some moves.  Good stuff.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I skated Chandler coffee club for patch practice as usual.  Not my most productive skate.  I ran through the Preliminary test as usual, then worked a bunch more on waltz-8 (I drew a line where the step-forward should go to help).  Then some time on 3s to center and a little bit of time on serpentines.


After my lesson with JJ, I had a little bit of skate time on the 8:15 FS before Holly showed up for our choreography session for my artistic dramatic.

We spent a little time going over the cut, first.  I was considering asking for some tweaks and wanted her to hear what I was suggesting.  She thought the tweaks were fine and it was up to me.

With that we got started.  So far we've got:
  • Opening pose -- center ice, lean to the right, arms folded on chest
  • RFI pivot w/arms out
  • two-foot spin to the right w/arm over head and coming down
  • Push out, RFI chassé
  • "4" RFO glide
  • LFI mohawk, push to RBO edge
  • waltz jump
  • FXO
  • 3 slaloms with arms
  • LF spiral
  • 2x "barrel roll".. this is an LFI mohawk, cross step, and step forward)
That's as much as we got done.. it's a pretty good start I think.  Nothing I can't do but working to make it look good will definitely be a challenge.  Holly said to me (paraphrase), "I'm not going to have you just skate around, you are going to DO STUFF."... to which I replied, "Sounds good!  I'm tired of coming in last!" lol.  JJ is making my free skate have "more stuff" also, for the same reason.


Waltz-Toe & Program Work

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  We had had to reschedule from Wednesday due to a scheduling problem w/JJ.

Today's lesson:
  • toe loop/waltz-toe -- we worked on this a bunch, starting with JJ making me hold the stick at the boards to work on getting the upper body turned while keeping the hands apart.  On the (very) positive side I was able to do the toe loop with out doing a toe-waltz, but without jumping either :-(.  The body position was mostly correct though, so that was pretty good progress actually.  Then we worked on it from the waltz jump and that's more problematic -- a lot more speed coming in and the setup is a bit different.  It's coming, though, so that's pretty good.
  • program -- so next we worked on the 2nd half of the free skate program.  I actually did the salchow okay!  I mean, not a great salchow, but not bad (for me).  The waltz-toe was a bit wonky and so I finished a bit late, but I made it through.  All in all I think it's coming along fine.
Next week's lesson is on Monday since JJ will be out of town for a PSA event, so we will hopefully work on spins and of course more time on the program.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012


I skated at Chandler coffee club for just 35 minutes or so (work schedule limited my time).  I was supposed to work on choreography for the new program today but Holly was unable to make it so I just had a short practice instead.  Worked on jumps and spins mostly, had some good ones actually.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Waltz-8, BI8, 3s

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club as usual.  I warmed up with the Preliminary test. 

Today's lesson:
  • waltz-8 -- we did a couple of layouts of these.  Lynne suggested I not push as hard into the BO edge, and also try to keep my free foot in front on the first part of the BO edge.  I used to do this but I stopped at some point... don't know why.  These are still about the same.
  • BI8 -- these are getting better.  Circles are small, still.  I still need to work on getting a better BI edge on the first push-off, but at least now it actually is a BI edge and not a BO that flips to BI.  The push onto the LBI is still lacking but it's getting better.
  • 3s to center -- these were much better today.  I am turning more quickly/decisively on the LFO3 so it's not so skidded.  Still not making much progress on holding the BI edge after though.

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So Day 3 and I fell of the Operation Morning Star wagon :-(.  I got a text from JJ at 6:37 letting me know that he needed to reschedule my lesson as he had a babysitter issue.  My intent was to go back to sleep for an hour, then go skate at Chandler... so of course I overslept.

Grrr.  Lesson rescheduled for Friday a.m.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

2011-12 Annual Pass Stats

So, my Chandler annual pass for the last year expired today (I've already renewed).  According to my records, I saved $349 and skated a total of 124 times (all coffee club) -- an average of roughly 2.5/week.  Not bad!

Patch Perseverance

I skated Chandler coffee club for patch practice as usual.  Ran through the Preliminary test, then worked on BO8, BI8, serpentines, 3s to center, and a little more time on waltz-8.  Not much progress, really.  Bleah.

Private Ice

I did manage to get my butt to the rink this morning.  I had a pretty good skate.  I had the ice all to myself the whole time!

I did some moves to warm up, but spent almost all of my time on jumps & spins and program sections.  I worked the salchow in the program context a bunch until it was relatively comfortable.  A lot of time on waltz-toe -- not much progress there though.  Spins were kind of bleah although the last couple were better.

I ran the program once with all the "new" stuff... eeeep.  The first half was relatively okay, even got a pretty good spin at the end; the second half -- not so great.  I totally biffed the salchow (my muscle memory made me think I was doing the FO3 that's at the beginning of the program!) so I got a little confused... managed to do the footwork and waltz-toe but then got a little confused coming out of the toe into the RFI3s.  Finished up but I was probably 5 - 8 seconds late.  Overall it will be okay once I fix this stuff, I'm sure.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Operation Morning Star

So... I've been thinking for a while that I need to make a commitment to skating every morning.  I need the ice time, and I need some consistency.  So... Operation Morning Star!  Skating every morning, usually for an hour (1.5 hrs. for my lesson at Gilbert).

Day 1 went really well.  I had a pretty good skate.  I worked on spins (okay, they stank).  Some time on moves (all the Bronze moves except not really any time on 5-step).  Salchow in the context of the revised program (RFO swing roll and then into the sal) -- this got much better with practice.  A little time on BO3 (didn't manage any but didn't spend that much time).  And a bunch of time on toe loop, and waltz-toe.  Still haven't really managed one, I don't think, but I'm making progress I think.

All in all a good start!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ice Dance Class #3-6

The final ice dance class (for now) at the Ice Den.  The time for this was moved up to 4:30 from the usual 5:30.  We were on the south rink.  It was just me and the 2 girls who've been there the whole time; Veronica, Don, and Katie.

We warmed up with swing rolls, progressives, etc., then moved on to work through the 6 dances for quite some time.  Don worked with me on my swing rolls and slide chassés for a while, which did help.  After that we then ran through all the dances one more time and just did them (Veronica helped me with the ones I couldn't remember).  After that we had about 10 minutes left so we worked on "fun stuff", in this case twizzles and loops (not loop jumps).  I actually made some slight progress on the RFI twizzle.  As for the loops -- I can see why they are hard.  It's really hard to do that and not wind up spinning, or doing a 3.

And with that we were done!  Hopefully they will offer this class again next year.  I did definitely learn some things.  I would like to work on dance more at some point, though when I will actually find the time (and ice time) is hard to foresee.



My back-3 lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club... I was running a little late, but warmed up as best I could.

We started out as before with forward & back 2-foot turns on the circle, then went to the boards to practice the BO3.  Then out to a hockey circle...  back 2-foot glide, rotate arms & head, lift free foot, and... turn!  I actually managed a couple of really rough RBO3s!!  I had to get myself to a) not lean out of the circle and then b) not lean forward just as I was trying to turn.

What a great day!  We didn't try any LBO3s today (it's only a 20 minute lesson!).  I'm pretty stoked!

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Patch Perseverance

I'd planned on starting choreography for my new artistic dramatic program today, but Holly had to reschedule due to a conflict, so instead I skated Chandler coffee club for patch practice.

I only had 40 minutes due to a work meeting, so I ran through the Preliminary test, then worked on 3s to center, some more time on waltz-8, BO8 and BI8.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Waltz-8, 3s

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.   I warmed up with the test as usual and Lynne came on the ice as I was finishing my edges.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8, FI8 -- from the test.  Not bad.  A little shallow on the return on the L side of the FO8.
  • waltz-8 -- we did two layouts of these.  They are slowly improving.  I was able to make myself stop touching my foot down on the R side, so that's good.  In general it's pretty decent right up to the step forward and that's problematic.  I figured out that I am leaning forward a little on the BO edge and that's a big part of my problem (I think I figured this out at least once before, lol!). Fixing it, not so easy..
  • 3s to center -- about the same. I expressed my frustration with the L side, especially, and realized that the edge going into the turn doesn't feel the same to me as when I'm doing my FO8 -- I'm compartmentalizing again.  So I tried to start it as if it were just an FO8, and lo and behold a much better edge and the 3 was decent too.  So... a lesson.  Hopefully I can remember this :-).
After my lesson I worked on BO8, BI8 and serpentines.  BI8 is improving, I want to work with Lynne on them next week a bit.

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Salchow, Waltz-Toe

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  Nice ice as usual, and just me and one other skater (Amber, then Rachel) the whole time!

Today's lesson:
  • salchow -- I told JJ I wanted to work on the salchow in the program.  I was trying to figure out how to get into it (it's now where the toe loop was) and I was not having any luck.  We worked through it and JJ wants me to come out of what I call the punch-punch moment with a BXO (as before, but wider), then step to the R foot and do a swing roll, then step to the L foot and do the salchow.  We worked it through and it should be okay, but will need more work of course.
  • waltz-toe -- after that we went to work on getting the waltz-toe combo.  I am getting into the correct position but I don't jump.  JJ had me hold a hockey stick (to hold the correct arm position) and work the upper body -- arms stay to the right until the toe pick engages, then turn w/the body to the L.  I kind of got the hang of it and it feels right.  Still more work to do but I think we made some progress.
After my lesson I stayed through the next session and  worked through a lot of Moves.  I noticed on the BXO to landing position that my LBO is good and my RBO, I'm up on my toe!  How weird is that?  I worked on it a bunch and it got a little better.  Spent a bunch of time working power-3s (esp. R foot that I tend to ignore), and 5-step mohawk on the circle.  Some good stuff I think.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2012


I managed to get in an hour of skating after work today (Chandler is having later FS on Tuesdays this month!).  Not my most productive time, unfortunately, but I did work a lot on spins, salchow, and a bit on waltz-toe.  I was not very motivated and a bit tired, though.  Grrr.

Patch Perseverance

I skated Chandler coffee club for patch practice.  I had a pretty good skate, and felt pretty motivated.  Ran through the Preliminary test as usual, the BO8, 3s to center, serpentines, and a little time on BI8 and waltz-8 again.

BI8 is sloooowly improving.  My push onto the LBI is really lacking, oddly enough.  Waltz-8 is getting a little better, I am still tending to touch my free foot down before the step forward on the right side :-(.  Have to make myself stop that.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Happy Skativersary To Me!

Today is my 9th Skativersary!  Nine years ago today I first set foot on the ice.  Wow!

I realize that I often spend time complaining about whatever it is that I'm currently frustrated with, be it my slow skating, my toe-waltz, or my inability to do a proper swing roll.  Still, when I look back (and this blog is really an amazing resource for that!) at how I started out -- a couch potato who'd never done anything athletic at all except for the odd bout of softball and short fling with rollerblading -- it's really amazing how far I've come.  It really is true that determination and hard work can take you a long, long way in this sport.

I'm really, really grateful to the many wonderful people I've encountered in this sport -- my wonderful coaches Anna, Lucy, Sonya, Kelli, JJ, and Lynne; the judges, volunteers, skater moms (and dads) who've judged my tests, run the competitions, and given me great feedback.  I'm most grateful for my fellow skaters -- the plucky adults who persevere in spite of many obstacles, and the kids (young and not so young) who have accepted me as their peer and encouraged me and made me welcome.

I've accomplished much -- to date I've passed two tests (Adult Pre-Bronze Moves in the Field and Adult Pre-Bronze Free Skate); I've competed in two figures competitions and seven freestyle competitions.  I've worn out one set of boots and blades and relegated another to light duty.  I spent thousands and thousands of dollars! :-) and countless hours skating.

I can't say it's all been fun -- sometimes I was tired, cranky, out of sorts.  I can say that it's been worth it and that I am so, so glad to have found this sport!

Skating has taught me a lot:
  • I'm capable of more than I thought
  • I can conquer fear (not banish, but conquer)
  • I can persevere even in the face of a seeming lack of progress
  • I can overcome injury and illness
  • The joy of accomplishing something you have worked on for literally years
  • It really IS about the journey
  • You really CAN'T compare yourself with others
  • In the end, you can only control yourself
It's been a great ride.... I can't wait to see what the future holds!  (I hope it holds a nice backspin and an axel!)

Friday, May 04, 2012

Ice Dance Class #3-5

Ice dance class at the Den as usual.  We had 3 instructors (Veronica, Don and Katie) and 5 skaters (2 adults, 3 kids).

We warmed up with pieces of the various dances that we've tended to practice before -- for example the slaloms from the Cha Cha, the last chunk of the Fiesta Tango.  Then we went on and worked on each of the 6 dances, although we spent considerably more time on the first 3.  Then we were done!

I am at the point where I actually more or less know the steps for the first 3 dances (def. not the second 3!), although I do have to quickly review.  This 45 minutes is a good workout!  It was fun but tiring.

One class left, next week.


Preliminary Test, 3s, Serpentines

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club -- I rescheduled this from Wednesday due to my work travel.  We had to start right when I got on the ice due to a schedule conflict Lynne had.

Today's lesson:
  • Preliminary test -- we worked through the Preliminary figures test first.  Edges were okay -- I'm still concerned about my BI edges but Lynne says they are acceptable.  FO8 was okay although I was a little diagonal coming back to center.  FI8 I lost my center coming back on the L foot -- just couldn't see it.  I did a reasonable job of continuing, though, and I wasn't really that far off.  Waltz-8 is doing better.  The step forward is improved on both sides (more improvement is needed).  I am tending to momentarily touch my foot down on the R side, though, just before the step forward. Grr.  It's sloppiness and I need to fix it before it becomes a habit.
  • 3s to center -- these are about the same.  I did make a little progress, though, in checking after the turn.
  • serpentines -- these were also a little improved.  The change of edge was actually better but I wasn't pushing hard enough and I was generally about a quarter-circle short on the return to center.  Grrr.
After my lesson I stayed and worked on BO8, BI8 and waltz-8 some more.

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Spins, Program

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  I had rescheduled this from Wednesday since I was traveling.

Today's lesson:
  • spins -- just a little time on these.  They were pretty crappy.  I know what I need to do!  I just can't make myself do it.  JJ says I need to focus on just one thing and ignore the other stuff that's wrong, until I get the one thing fixed... then on to the next.  I know he's right.  It's so frustrating.  Everyone once in a while I get a decent one and then I feel like I might be actually able to accomplish this goal... and then it seems further away than ever.
  • program -- we worked some more on the opening of the program, and I had JJ video it for me.  I wanted to see how the spiral looked.  The good news is a) I'm skating faster, I think, and b) the spiral actually isn't that bad. It's not hip-height but it's close.  The bad news is just that it takes me a little time to get it all the way up as far as I can -- I still need to work on getting it all the way up in one go, and faster.  Still, I was encouraged.
I couldn't stay and skate after my lesson today since I had a work meeting early.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Skating With The Homegirls

I am in Portland for work so I skated at Sherwood this morning, on the 6 a.m. FS.  I had a good skate!  As usual at Sherwood, absolutely beyooootiful ice.  6 skaters (including my homies Madison and Karly) and 2 coaches.

I warmed up with some moves, then worked on jumps and spins and also the first part of the free skate program.   I also ran it with music once.  It's getting a lot better but I still need to practice it a lot!