Several months ago I was asked this question: “Is it possible to teach a group of people how to improve their skating from the other side of the world via video?”
I had some doubts as I knew the expectations for this group were particularly high so I said:
“Mmmmmmm, it depends…”
The people asking were Disney. At the end of January this year Disney Europe contacted me to help them train a group of young actors who would be starring and dancing on skates in a new Disney Teen drama TV series. According to this Spanish TV online magazine article, the new series was to follow in the successful footsteps of Disney’s previous Teen drama featuring singing and dancing called ‘Violetta’ which just ended after a 3 year run.
Before they could get going with this project I was to train the non-skaters they had cast and turn them into skate dancing masters in less than four months! Not an easy feat for them – or me!
The adventure began with a short trip to Argentina mainly to iron out all the health and safety issues involved with training and filming skaters. An intensive week of training the young actors how to skate, interviewing and then hiring a new coach followed in February. In addition I equipped the existing coach with teaching strategies, lesson plans, and a thorough week by week training schedule.
Training the group via video became necessary as the process continued and the actors developed bad habits or were simply having troubles with the rigorous training schedule. They were not improving fast enough for the fast approaching filming date.
I have been analysing videos of each of the skaters from Argentina every week and providing the two coaches and dance choreographers with detailed corrective exercises for each skater’s skills. My new iPhone 6 has become indispensable for shooting simple short videos at home in my shoes which I use to show the coaches what needs to be corrected. All this of course in Spanish as the entire production is in Spanish.
Though I was sceptical at first I realised quickly that this role is perfectly designed for me. I have become a specialist at problem correction and my ability to set corrective exercises that is second to none. Doing it for Disney only further hones that skill!
Here are two short examples (in Spanish)`of me correcting some footwork on the New York Shuffle (Video 1) and then someone’s Backward Crossovers (Video 2).
When this video analysis process began I had no idea how successful it would be. I am delighted that each week when I receive the new videos it looks as if these young skaters actually attended my class! Technology now allows me to deliver my teaching via video (and in this case via another coach) and it really does work.
I am now developing a new private coaching service which I am currently testing with several people around the world. I’m really excited to report that it seems to be working with my test students. One day in the not too distant future I may well be analysing your skating on video. Wouldn’t that be cool? I’m looking forward to it. x