Skating Fridays

Grassroots to Champions Seminar, Part 3

I am here with the final installation of the Grassroots to Champions (G2C) seminar notes. Skaters – I hope that you all find these helpful for your personal skating journey.

Today’s post is dedicated to the artistry of skating. We were fortunate to have Doug Webster teach this section of the seminar. If you don’t know Doug, he is a professional choreographer who has worked with all the major skating companies in the world,
including Disney On Ice, Holiday On Ice and Stars On Ice.

Doug had us do some warmup exercises to loosen our body. We did a bit of stretching and also did some basic edge work on the ice (mainly slaloms and cross-strokes).

When we came back to do some off-ice artistry work, he played a selection of music (a tango) and asked us some questions:

  • Describe, in one word, how this piece made you feel
  • What emotions are you feeling?
  • Tell me the story about this piece
    • Who are the characters? Who are you portraying?
    • What do the characters look like? What are they wearing?
    • Describe the scenery – what is around you? Be specific.
    • What is the story that this music is telling?
    • Use your facial expressions and body to communicate that story.

As a group, we collectively told the story about a woman in a dark restaurant who was trying to seduce a man. There was a tall, round table in the corner with two tall bar stools. Red velvet curtains hang in the background. She’s wearing something red and slinky.  The man is Channing Tatum (haha!). Our goal is to make him passionately dance with us and convince him to take us home.

After we told the story, Doug played the music again and had us act it out with body and arm movements. It was amazing how much emotion we all exuded after visualizing the story.

This is the technique Doug encouraged us to use as we perform our own skating programs. Listen to the music. Close your eyes and visualize the scene. Ask yourself the questions above, then act it out on the ice.

And that concludes my notes from the G2C seminar! I have some additional notes around specific jump techniques (axel, double salchow, double loop) but probably won’t get into it here unless you all want to hear about them.


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