The Fun of Figure Skating
by Maribel Vinson Owen
Chap. 1 Equipment
Chap. 2 First Strokes
Back Inside 8
Forward Outside 3s
Forward Inside 3s
Chap. 7 Free Skating
Free Skating Program
Chap. 8 Ice Dances
Chap. 9 Skater
Source -World Figure Skating
|Chapter 7. Free Skating
How to tell you how to free skate? That is something I'm afraid the written word cannot completely accomplish. Written instruction can teach you much and help you greatly, it is true, but after a while precept and example plus your own native ingenuity will be necessary. A thorough treatise on free skating, even for beginners at the art, could easily occupy a whole volume by itself, while many wonderful free skating moves cannot be written down, for the simple reason that they have not yet been invented.
No one person could hope to make a compilation of all the dance steps and varied free moves that have already been skated, and no one imagination could envision all the possible new combinations. That is the fascination of skating. "Time cannot wither nor custom stale her infinite variety"—so with pure figure skating, there is always something more to learn about its siren charms. If you haven't yet made that discovery for yourself, I guarantee that you will after a few weeks of experimenting with the spirals, steps, jumps, and spins that follow.
As in all your skating so far, you should learn your free skating in its natural sequence. If you are young and ambitious, don't try jumps before you can control the spirals described in Chapter III. Don't spend hours trying to spin like a top without devoting an equal amount of time to learning how to weave steps into dances. Don't try a complicated jump before you can do the simplest ones in good take-off and landing position with steady edges and controlled balance throughout.If you are a dancer, don't try to interpret music on ice before you know the correct skating means for such interpretation. (This goes for free skaters as well.) There is nothing more ridiculous than a skater who tries to gain an artistic effect that is beyond his present powers. Don't think that because you like to fling yourself about with speed and abandon, anyone else will like to see you do it. Speed and abandon, yes, but with grace, style, accurate footwork, and control over all your moves. Above all, learn how to glide from one figure to the next.
You should practice your plain stroking, your cross-overs, and your rolls as warm-up exercises every time you go on the ice to free skate or dance. They should be standard procedure for acquiring that effortless "flow" over the ice surface that is the mark of the fine skater. Even an untutored audience at an average show is quick to sense that a skater who doesn't have this quality is not really a good skater, no matter how spectacular certain of his specialties may be.
If you are no longer as young as you once were or if, perhaps,
are a naturally retiring person who would feel self-conscious
solo free skating moves, my advice is the same —only different! You
don't have to fling yourself about at top speed, you don't have to spin
at all, you don't have to do even one jump to have a tremendous amount
of fun with your free skating and to become a very pleasing performer.
You will combine spirals and dance steps in interesting patterns,
skating always in perfect rhythm with the music. You will be able
skate well with others in carnival groups, and eventually you will be
doing all sorts of things you probably don't think possible now.