Learn to Figure Skate with Private Lessons in Brampton Markham and Newmarket
Figure Skating originally was named for an artform which involved creating intricate patterns on the ice with the edges of the blades. Later, compulsory figures (also known as school figures figures, or compulsories) became part of training and competition. Compulsories were based on the figure eight and involved various turns and edges. The completed tracings left by the skater's blades were evaluated by judges. Ideally, edges were clean without scratches, undesired changes of edge, or evidence of flats. Now a dying art, figures are no longer part of elite competition and are usually excluded from training in favor or focus on artistic skating.
Freestyle skating (free skating or artistic skating) is what viewers see on television. It involves spins, jumps and footwork. Competitive skaters assemble their skills into a program which is skated to music and evaluated by judges at competitions.
Moves in the Field
Moves in the Field (MITF) have taken the place of figures in training and testing, though they are not part of standard competition. MITF competitions may be held for recreational skaters or as special events for skaters in training. MITF consist of set patterns of turns, glides and edges that utilize the entire ice surface. Patterns may be set on lobes, the perimeter of the rink, large circles, straight lines down the length of the rink, or follow another regular pattern. The value of MITF as an actual replacement for figures continues to be debated. Issues include perceived deficiencies in edge quality, control, and increased injury due to young athletes focusing on jumps.
Singles skating is performed by a solo skater, male or female. The single skater performs a program of his or her skills for testing and/or competition based on his level of achievement.
Pair skating involves and man and woman performing skills together. Elements include singles elements executed in unison as well as pair skills where the partners complete skills as a unit. Pair skating is differentiated from dance by the types of elements performed in the program. Specific pair skills include overhead lifts, freestyle jumps and spins, throw jumps, twists, and death spirals. Same-sex pair skating may be performed in specialty competitions such as The Gay Games or as an exhibition or professional routine.
Ice dancing is performed by a man and woman together, although solo dance may be required to pass certain tests and may be included in recreational or adult competitions. Solo dance is not a standard track competitive discipline. Ice dancing differs from pair skating because separation between partners is limited, freestyle jumps and spins, and overhead lifts are not allowed. Spins are restricted to dance spins which are performed by the partners as a unit. Ice dancing is performed to a musical beat and often resembles the character of similar styles of ballroom dancing.
Compulsory dances are required in competition. These are set pattern dances, and the same steps are executed by all teams in the competition. This allows direct comparison between teams performing the same steps to the same type of music.
In higher level and elite ice dance competition, a type of dance, such as a samba or folk dance, is decided prior to the competitive season. All competitors create a version of that type of dance. In this case, the beat is pre-established, but dancers are free to design their own steps to interpret the music.
The free dance is ice dancing's equivalent of a long program. Dancers choose their own music which may change during the progression of the performance. A single type of beat is not required. In other words, the entire free dance does not have to be a waltz or any other kind of dance. Skaters also design their own steps to interpret the music and highlight their skills. Elite free dances are usually very creative and incorporate unique movements that the skaters develop with their coaches and choreographers.
Also known as "synchro", synchronized skating is team skating. Synchronized skating was formerly called "precision skating" in North America. Although synchro is not an Olympic sport, it is a competitive sport. Colleges and clubs will often have synchronized skating teams sometimes several to accommodate skaters of different levels. Synchro competitions may be held a local, national and international or world championship levels. A synchronized skating team may consist of both men and women; however, many teams are composed of only female skaters. Due to sheer numbers of female participants in the sport, a team of all men would be very unusual though theoretically possible.
Synchronized skating involves skaters performing patterns on the ice as a team. Emphasis is placed on skaters performing identical movements in precise unison with each other. Individual or paired elements are also incorporated. Synchronized skating was originally featured in professional ice shows but has more recently provided an additional forum for competitive skaters.
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