Skating Fridays

Chin Up

I met with my choreographer recently to make some tweaks to my new freestyle program. I have been running it every day during freestyle and have been ending about 10 seconds too late each time. I wanted to see what changes we could make to the program so I finish on time.

She made me do a full run-through during a very crowded session, and I almost ran into 10 kids. One actually fell as she tried to avoid me.

I finished and skated over to her. Silence. I looked at her. More silence. Hmmm… this is not good.

Finally, she spoke. “You need to skate lighter. Your knees are too bent.” I told her that I tried my best and worked hard to get the program where it was, and she had the perfect response: “Your skating definitely looks like you are working hard. It should be effortless.”


While we did make some revisions to the program and cut out certain sections, she stressed the importance of keeping my chin up and upper body upright. My slouched shoulders added to my heavy frame, and even adding “pretty” arms didn’t help my overall hunched lines. Her suggestions:

  • Stay light on the toes
  • Make every movement meaningful and stretch it out
  • Feel like you are spreading butter on toast – back and forth, with effortless movement
  • Finish each stroke completely – particularly crossovers and during footwork; end each stroke on a clearly defined edge before moving to the next one
  • Chin up and project outwards

I tend to rush, which makes the program seem heavy. My music is light and spirited, yet my skating tells a different story.  I need to remember to take my time and tell the audience and judges my story – one about hope and achievement.

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