This blog is a collection of my thoughts and experiences from ten years as a skate dad. For those of you sitting with your jackets in the bleachers, first I salute you, but second I want to give you an honest sense of what you are in for and what to expect. Ice skating is both a trying and a glorious sport, but it doesn't happen without the special group of folks who cheer, support, and console the participants. This is dedicated to you.
Sunday, June 16, 2013
A comedy routine is one of the most difficult light entertainment routines to skate. Several factors contribute to this difficulty. For one, you will understand the basis for comedy either from your innate personality trait -- if you're the class clown -- or you will develop it from a keen sense of pratfall and irony (as few class clowns take up skating this means most comedic routines develop from pratfall and irony).
And one of the tougher things to do is to "pretend" to muff a skating move. Seriously, a mistimed pratfall on ice is dangerous. And skating irony tends to be very "inside" -- it relates to plays on existent moves. Only a narrow window of side possibilities exists however to parody a skating move, although often props come in handy here. Yet skating with props also present their own difficulties: props tend to either dynamically alter your center of gravity or confound speed dynamics by adding wind interference. In any case skating a comedic routine means dealing with physics outside of the ordinary; it expands the range of what you might otherwise attempt and rather forces you to stress the boundaries of your familiar physics.
Despite the challenge of skating a comedic routine, it is valuable in how it broadens your aura. First it opens you up to self ridicule -- it destroys the common fault of taking yourself too seriously. One of the first steps in accepting others is to admit your own imperfections. Making a fool of yourself is a sure way to get there. Once you obsess less over your own activities you become more observant of the little foibles of others, and hence become more able to refine yourself.
Finally, skating for laughs improves your audience awareness. Unlike a dramatic program where you are concentrating on expressiveness and performing to the music, you need to tune a comedy routine in front of observers. How else do you know if you are being funny? One thing you learn rather quickly is that we each are rather poor at assessing how entertaining we actually appear to others; a part of developing a sense for this awareness comes from learning to "love" a different part of an observer's brain. Once you become unfixed on your own self obsessions you grow into more social, sociable skating. And it's the most difficult things you do that help you grow.