Continuing our winter series, we have recently taken up the challenge of learning how to dance on ice. We have partnered with Queens Skate Dine & Bowl in Bayswater, London, and will share our ambitious journey to go from skating novices to ice dancing stardom within twelve weeks.

 

Our Year of Yes!

It was the illustrious American director/producer Shonda Rhimes who made famous the phrase, “Year of Yes” in her book of the same title.

In that book, Shonda explains how she felt challenged by someone’s off-hand comment about how she never said yes to opportunities, especially those that took her outside of her comfort zone and which featured non-scripted characters which she didn’t create or direct.

Dancing on Ice and Our Year of Yes | via @dipyourtoesin

That challenge became Shonda’s wake-up call to overcome her social anxiety and fear of rejection. She resolved to say yes to everything for one year. According to her, the results were astonishing.

That same spirit of openness and positivity inspired us to say YES! when we received an invitation to join a twelve week ‘Dancing and Ice’ course at Queens Skate Dine & Bowl.

 

Putting on our ice skates

Travelling to places like Iceland and Lapland are highlights for many seeking to indulge in winter pastimes. However, those staying closer to home will find many opportunities to make the best use of the long chill. Learning to dance on ice is one of them.

As South Londoners, Bayswater isn’t a part of London we visit frequently. However, for the next twelve weeks, Monday nights will find us on the District Line heading towards Bayswater/Queensway stations for ice skating/dancing lessons.

We are not proficient ice skaters by any stretch of the imagination. We consider ourselves to be ‘Christmas skaters’ who can barely manage to balance on two skates and repeat circular motions without falling over too much. The idea of dancing on ice, therefore, seemed daunting.

On our first night, we arrived at the venue (one of London’s year-round ice rinks and entertainment arcades) and were greeted by Robert Burgerman; organiser and ice-skating coach. If we had any doubts or fear, they were quickly dispelled when we learned more about his background.

A former competitive ice dancer himself, Rob has also worked as a professional coach on the ITV UK’s hit show, Dancing on Ice, alongside legendary Olympic champions, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean.

Comforted by the fact that we were in excellent hands, our nervousness soon eased as we picked up our skates and headed to the ice rink to be introduced to the other coaches.

 

Dancing on ice? First, we must learn to walk!

No bird ever learns to fly on its first attempt.

Taking our first tentative steps on the ice, we had no grand illusions that we would be doing twizzles (spinning movements on one skate) within the hour.

Dancing on Ice and Our Year of Yes | via @dipyourtoesin

To fly, we first needed to learn how to walk.

In ice dancing terms, what this means is that in our first few weeks, we will need to learn and master basic moves such as forward and backward lemons (swizzles) and skating on one leg…yes, skating on one leg is considered basic!

Jamie Walker, our friendly instructor, patiently guided our small group through the hour-long first lesson, teaching us how to properly distribute our weight while dishing out encouragement.

Although our ungainly steps made us look like zombies learning how to walk, the more we repeated his instructions, the bolder we became.

Crossovers were a trickier proposition. This move is intended to help the skater generate speed and to make it easier to get around corners. Picking up moderate speed to begin with, we were instructed to glide on one foot, lean in to the circle and then place the other one in front.

Dancing on Ice and Our Year of Yes | via @dipyourtoesin

It was unsurprising to see half of our group land on their backsides within seconds. We had a good laugh watching the rest of us do everything except what Jamie instructed us to do.

Rob assures us that having fun is an important part of the learning process. This is one of the most important lessons he says he learned while training to compete at championship level – to ‘always, always have fun and enjoy skating’.

 

What are we hoping to achieve?

Laughing at ourselves is something we expect to do a lot over the duration of the course.

More importantly, we hope to practice our own ‘dip your toes in’ philosophy by stepping outside of our comfort zones and learning a new skill. We don’t consider ourselves as being ‘past anything’. As long as we live, we will keep learning.

Dancing on Ice and Our Year of Yes | via @dipyourtoesin

We also intend to use our dancing on ice time to strengthen our bond as a couple. Too often, we have our heads buried in work or our devices. Taking one hour out of our week, uninterrupted by routine, to do something fun while watching each other grow in confidence is a welcome opportunity.

Finally, we are hoping to overcome our fears. Falling repeatedly in front of strangers is a great way to get over any social anxiety we may have. At the end of these twelve weeks, we hope to triumph over that inner voice that suggests we are biting off more than we can chew.

Dancing on Ice and Our Year of Yes | via @dipyourtoesin

The words from a poem by the early twentieth-century poet Guillaume Apollinaire spring to mind…

Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, we’re afraid!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, We will fall!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
And so they came.
And he pushed them.
AND THEY FLEW.

This is our own ‘Year of Yes’ and through this process, we expect to learn to fly…on the ice at least.

The twelve-week ‘Dancing and Ice‘ course takes place at Queens Skate Dine & Bowl, 17 Queensway, London W2 4QP. The course is taught by registered National Ice Skating Association. Each lesson costs £16.00 per person (including skate hire).

Many thanks to Queens Skate Dine & Bowl and 360-edge for offering us complimentary Dancing and Ice sessions. However, all opinions expressed and photographs remain our own.

 

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Dancing on Ice and Our Year of Yes | via @dipyourtoesin

 

It's our year of yes, and we're learning to dance on ice! Follow our ambitious journey to go from skating novices to ice dancing stardom within twelve weeks!
Co-Founders & Curators at HDYTI

Eulanda & Omo Osagiede are London-based freelance writers and award-winning social influencers who run the popular travel, food, and lifestyle blog HDYTI (Hey! Dip your toes in).