Fiesta Flow Community Class by Douglas Webster

by Mary on April 11, 2015

Douglas Webster 2012

Douglas Webster, photo credit Photo by Keri Pickett 2012.

I recently attended a skating seminar, Fiesta Flow, offered by Douglas Webster at the end of a small local skating competition. I’d skated both my programs in that competition earlier in the day.

Douglas was in town to choreograph programs for Keegan Messing. He has choreographed many well-known skating shows and recently spent several seasons as artistic director of Ice Theater of New York.

His seminar focused on achieving flow. He started us out with a variety of stretches used in the ITNY edge classes, done while standing or moving in swizzles. We talked about where we bend in skating: hips, knees, ankles. He reiterated the basic but vital advice that I hear frequently from coach Ty: bend first, then push. Always. It’s one of those basics that I think I’m already doing but find out otherwise.

Douglas also talked about how he used to improvise to other skater’s music as a young skater and cited that as the spark for his career as a choreographer. He encouraged us to spend five minutes per practice improvising and creating new moves, and to take dance classes to get a feel for skating to the tempo of music.

One of his big points was that the glide of skating, when you keep your body still and yet float across the ice feeling the wind in your face, is like flying, so enjoy it. I’ve always thought that was one of the main reasons to skate. All my life when I’ve dreamt of flying, the motions have been those of skating, because skating is basically flying to me. Douglas talked about the uniqueness of skating, how you cannot get that wonderful glide in any other sport. We spent some time holding glides across the ice to truly appreciate that feeling. 

We then practiced working in a dance block learning choreography bit by bit. It was challenging for me since I don’t pick up new steps very quickly and the choreography involved lots of moving around on our picks.

It was such a pleasure to meet and skate with Douglas, he seems like a kind and gracious person. He recently co-founded Ice Dance International to be “a non-competitive alternative for ice skating with more of its emphasis on art than sport, allowing for ice dance to grow and flourish outside of the current skating system governed by the ISU and its rules and regulations.” Sounds like a worthy goal, I’m sure many of us would love to see more artistic skating unencumbered by the rules of competition. I’ve liked Ice Dance International’s Facebook page and look forward to following their progress.

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