Capitol Critique is a time for teams to, for lack of a better word, be critiqued. The only two things necessary to be there is having a synchronized skating team and a complete program. The point of this is to hear from judges first hand, this way you know what judges would like to see in your program: what is working, what should stay, and what should leave the program.
Team Reflections has always gone to this critique. Going to it can give you the benefit of letting you skate in front of a crowd, and also hearing the judges’ reviews. This year our program’s theme is “After the storm.” We mashed up two songs of completely different genres, Idina Menzel’s “Let It Go” and Lindsey Stirling’s “Take Flight.”
Getting ready for our performance, we gathered at a hotel that half the team stayed in over night. I started the day with a breakfast of fruit and a bagle with cream cheese. Now, the thing is, I normally don’t eat breakfast in the mornings. However, when the skating competitions come along, it’s necessary to eat breakfast in the mornings. This is because we don’t get the chance to eat anything until after we have performed, which could be hours after we wake up. We need to eat something that will fill us up and is good for us, providing the energy we need.
Next thing is to get hair and make up done. Our team of girls are between the ages of 12-19, so we are all capable of fixing our hair. We decided to do a part on the right side with a French braid on the left, and then putting the remaining hair into a simple bun. Doing each others hair is always fun, however every girl’s hair is different. We have girls with long, short, thick, thin, curly, and straight hair. This makes it complicated sometimes. Our makeup this year is done with a smokey eye using all different shades of blue. Our team manager does our makeup for us. When she is doing our makeup she’ll have little conversations with us. Most of the time they are just comments like, “Are you ready?” “Are you excited?” and always “You girls are going to do great!” She really has a gift for lifting our spirits before we skate. After we get hair and makeup done, we move onto putting our dresses on and gathering everything we need to leave. Then, its time to head to the rink.
Once the whole team was at the rink we needed to warm up. We went outside and found an empty spot and started our warm ups. Our warm-ups are meant to stretch out our leg muscles so they aren’t tight when we skate. Not only does it stretch our legs it stretches our entire body. We can’t have tight muscles while skating because there is a risk for serious injury. After doing our warm-ups we run through our program, practicing our steps and arms. This can be hard because you aren’t on the ice so you aren’t gliding. The feeling is completely different compared to actually being on the ice. After a couple of run throughs we talk with our coach and figure out what parts of the program we want to go over, what we feel are the weakest parts.
It’s now time to go to the locker room. While in the locker room, we listen to our music while we get our skates on so we can envision our program before we go on. This is also a time for those who have key elements in the program to stretch. For example, I have a 135. This is when you are skating backwards and you lift one of your legs up and to the side. You have to stretch out both of your legs really well so you don’t pull a muscle. After everyone is stretched out we sit down, close our eyes and play our music one last time and envision our program.
Heading out to the ice, we line up outside of the rink, waiting for the team that’s on the ice to finish. During this time, our team manager is giving us encouraging words. Then, halfway through the team’s program that is currently on the ice, we all huddle around and say a prayer. Our team is called and we enter the ice. We get into our starting positions and…. the music starts. We start our program and everything is going well, we get through our first run-through and it ends. We stand up straight and skate over to our coach and the judges. We are all out of breath. The judges look at us for about five seconds, but it felt like a lifetime. Then they say, “We love your program, your dresses look gorgeous out there, you girls skated very well.” Then they send us back to do our second run-through. We hit our starting positions, and we are all ready to go. I look right across the rink and make eye contact with my fellow skaters and we give each other a nod. The music starts, and for the second time, we begin our program. About halfway through, it gets very hard to continuously smile, so I find someone on my team to look at and we all know that that’s the moment you make a funny face at each other so you can get that smile back. We finish our program and the crowd claps and screams. We head off the ice and immediately look at each other in astonishment. Those two run throughs were our best so far in the season.
We head to the locker room and change into our normal clothes and go sit in the bleachers, watching other teams. We wait for our coach to join us and she tells us that they loved our program and our music. Our coach told us that we did amazing that she was so proud of us. We continued to watch some other teams and then we were released to go home. And that was the end to our 2015-2016 skating critique.