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Web 2.0 Offers New Stages to Young Skating Choreographers

By Kate McSwain

Until recently, young figure skating choreographers had few opportunities to expose their work, promote progressive creative ideas, or connect with elite artists in the field. However, with the increasing popularity of websites such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook—as well as the development of pioneering programs like Audrey Weisiger’s  “Young Artists Showcase” and Jodi Porter’s  “Master Choreography Techniques for Figure Skaters,”—more artistic opportunities are now available to young choreographers than ever before in the history of the sport. A new wave of young artists in the figure skating world are rapidly emerging, and with these fresh faces comes a vigorous desire to connect, create, and  share their work.

“…with social media and so many other new program opportunities readily available, promising young choreographers can gain reputation and influence in skating choreography simply by staying innovative and involved.”

Social media has facilitated the steps toward freeing the stage so young choreographers could come forward.

  • Facebook has become the world’s gateway to connecting with people; and it’s the online networking system for this sport, as with many others.  Choreographers have an unprecedented opportunity to list their accomplishments, as videos or pictures of their work. Colleagues and peers can communicate across long distances and can share their artistic vision with one another.
  • YouTube’s all-video website is at the core of a choreographer’s new ability to self-promote. By uploading videos of their work, an artist’s choices in movement, music, and expression can automatically be shared, and their vision can be more clearly understood.  And the public has the opportunity to easily respond via comments, “likes,” and shares.
  • Similarly, even with the 140-character limit in one tweet, Twitter offers a young choreographer the ability to market their work on YouTube, or even their personal website, to a group of followers who have selected themselves for interest in the sport. They can also build a following, stay up-to-the-minute on news in figure skating, and connect with other likeminded peers and institutions such as USFSA, PSA, or figure skating clubs nationwide.

Examples of young choreographers using social media to their advantage, especially on YouTube and Facebook, include Tommy Steenberg, the winner of the inaugural Young Artists Showcase; Adam Blake, the second champion; and Garrett Kling, a second-round contestant.

Two interactive cutting-edge programs are also leading the way for figure skating choreographers pursuing careers in the field. One program challenges its contestants to stay creative and share their work weekly, while the other teaches students to identify and understand the fundamental elements of movement.

  • The “Young Artists Showcase,” or YAS, is an international competition for budding choreographers, wherein they can display their work for some of the leading artists in skating.  Kurt Browning, Sarah Kawahara, Doug Webster, and Cindy Stuart have all served as judges for YAS. This program provides the ideal platform for young choreographers to gain exposure and receive constructive criticism for their work.  Audrey Weisiger founded YAS in honor of one of the most talented choreographers in figure skating history, Brian Wright. Audrey’s goal is to challenge young artists to pursue creativity and to help them connect to the rest of the skating world. The Young Artists Showcase website quotes, “YAS offers the opportunity for selected choreographers to participate in an online contest which will be a series of challenges as designed by top choreographers to help the young choreographers develop their craft.”  With the third annual competition approaching this summer, Audrey has successfully built a reputation for her project; this time around, the young contestants chosen to compete in the five weekly artistic challenges online are expected to have YAS’s largest audience yet.
  • Another groundbreaking platform for emerging young choreographers is Jodi Porter’s distance learning class, “Master Techniques in Figure Skating.”  This is a live web-based master class offering 20 weeks of course study. Jodi developed this class to educate skaters in the foundational techniques of choreography. According to Jodi, “The main objective for this course is for [my] students to gain deep knowledge of compositional elements and advanced choreography techniques as they relate to figure skating.” At the end of the semester, each student who completes the curriculum receives a Certificate in Choreography for Figure Skaters. Unlike future classes, who will be able to pay for entry, the inaugural class was invited from among the ranks of young artists with an established commitment to choreography.  Their class’s focus has been on the use of cross-over techniques to apply concepts of movement in dance to movement on the ice. Jodi hopes to see her students elevate their demands of themselves, both in skating choreography and the creative process.  She is helping to yield a younger generation with higher standards in movement on the ice:  movement with no boundaries and with a more progressive, complex, and contemporary vision.

In the past, young skaters with the goal of becoming elite choreographers depended wholly on word-of-mouth marketing and waited patiently for years to gain greater exposure. But at present, with social media and so many other new program opportunities readily available, promising young choreographers can gain reputation and influence in skating choreography simply by staying innovative and involved. The art of figure skating is evolving into an increasingly advanced form of dance movement, and with so many outlets and platforms to promote their work, a new surge of skating choreographers have the potential to push artistic expectations even higher, and now, thanks to these new opportunities, more efficiently.

Kate McSwain

Photo by Sarah Brannen

Kate McSwain travels to choreograph for competitive skaters, perform in professional ice show productions, and.direct artistic seminars with her business, ‘Sk8tivity.

Get all the latest figure skating news, great articles like this and much more – every day – by following IceSkatingWorld on Facebook.  Twitter @IceSkating

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How Old should my Child be to Start Ice Skating?

by Michelle Wilkin

Age four is best to start. There are some children who are ready at 3 years old. Consider the following criteria:

Children figure skatingAttention Span – most group classes will last 30 minutes.

Separation from parent – Separation anxiety is still developmentally appropriate until approximately age four. If your child can be comfortable accepting instructions from another adult, then you should be fine.

Balance – both in skates and in regular shoes.

My recommendation is to start with your child walking in skates on the floor only. If this goes well, then your child is physically ready. Check with your local ice rink for age requirements. Many rinks will not accept children for group classes who are under 4 years of age. If your child is eager and can meet the basic criteria before he is 4 years old, you may consider private lessons. They are more flexible with the length of lesson and can adapt to the age of the child. To ensure quality instruction, make sure to ask for a Professional Skater’s Association rated instructor.

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Ice Skating Prodigy? You Be the Judge

Click the YouTube video link below to see Natalie, a 23 1/2 month old, skating at the Tampa Bay Skating Academy on June 23, 2011

http://e-junkie.tv/r.swf?id=19697

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How old should my child be to start ice skating?

by Michelle Wilkin

Age four is best to start. There are some children who are ready at 3 years old. Consider the following criteria:

Attention Span – most group classes will last 30 minutes.

Separation from parent – Separation anxiety is still developmentally appropriate until approximately age four. If your child can be comfortable accepting instructions from another adult, then you should be fine.

Balance – both in skates and in regular shoes.

My recommendation is to start with your child walking in skates on the floor only. If this goes well, then your child is physically ready. Check with your local ice rink for age requirements. Many rinks will not accept children for group classes who are under 4 years of age. If your child is eager and can meet the basic criteria before he is 4 years old, you may consider private lessons.

They are more flexible with the length of lesson and can adapt to the age of the child. To ensure quality instruction, make sure to ask for a Professional Skater’s Association (PSA) rated instructor.

For more articles for skating parents, visit http://www.iceskatingworld.com/parents/letters_articles/index.html

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5 Ways to Make Better Progress this Season

by Marta Nilsen, PSA Master-rated coach

Here are five steps for improving your figure skating and making better progress during the upcoming season.

1) Add another day of skating to your week.

Adding another day of skating per week can speed up your progress dramatically. If you can’t add another day, the next best thing would be to add two more hours per week of skating time. Instead of skating one hour per day for two days per week, instead skate two hours per day, two days per week.

2) Take a ballet class at least one day per week.

Ballet increases flexibility, strengthens body alignment and placement, and teaches proper jumping technique. This is a great way to get that super spiral or increase your jump height.

3) Participate in off-ice classes at least one time per week.

Off-ice class is not just another workout. You will be practicing simulating skills that are done on the ice. Practicing off ice allows you to feel, see and understand the basic positions that your body must attain during skating moves. You will also learn exercises and stretches that can do at home.

4) Go to at least three competitions away from your home rink this season.

Competitions push you to increase your skill level faster than any other method of training. Striving to do your best in a competition helps you to reach the goals that you set for your skating.

5) Set goals.

You need a plan for where you are going and a process for how to get there. You decide where you would like to be, which you discuss with your coach, and then he or she makes a plan to help you reach it. All successful people set goals to help them reach their greatest potential.

Best of luck this ice skating season!

www.iceskatingworld.com

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New Page! Jobs in Figure Skating

IceSkatingWorld LLC has partnered with Simply Hired to provide an employment section to help people get started in the great sport of figure skating or find their dream job in the industry.

Looking for a full, seasonal or a part time position at an ice rink? Click here for the IceSkatingWorld.com’s Jobs Board. If you are seeking an ice skating career, this is your site.

Ice Rink Managers: Reach thousands of interested and qualified skating enthusiasts by posting your job listing on our Jobs Boards. It’s only $12 for a 90-day listing!

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Ice Skating – Taking Up the Sport After Winter Olympics Inspiration

by Martha Dickinson

Feeling inspired by the excitement of the Winter Olympics? Many people have been entranced by the grace and physicality of Ice Skating after watching the sport unfold during the Winter Olympics, and are looking into taking up the sport themselves. This is a great idea, as Ice Skating can have very positive physical results as well as being a ton of fun, but there are things to keep in mind when you set about starting to go Ice Skating.

First up, you will need to be sure you have the right skates and safety equipment. Will you require any special pads when you start skating? Check out the various dedicated ice skating websites and blogs that are easy to find online for advice on how best to start out.

Once you have the gear to get started with, the next phase is to take some lessons by a certified and experienced skating tutor. The first things you need to be taught are safety issues, how to stay upright, how to fall if you have an accident, and other essential matters that you need to be familiar with.

Once these issues are ingrained in your mind you can move onto the basics of the skating sport and then onto greater moves as your experience and confidence builds. You may not be able to pull off the graceful moves of your Olympic heroes, but soon you will have the basics mastered and be able to see just what you are capable of, while becoming fitter and healthier due to the powerful workout that this kind of skating can give the body.

It’s a great sport to share with friends, so how about you ask around and see if anyone else you know would like to join in? To a beginner, skating on ice can seem daunting, but by finding good ice skating rinks and tutors, and with the right gear, you can start ice skating with confidence.

Martha is a health, exercise and lifestyle expert who loves to help people discover more about life and what it can offer. Are you feeling inspired by the Olympics? Check out more information online!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Martha_Dickinson

@IceSkatingWorld

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Ice Skating Tips For Figure Skaters

by Francis Murphy

While some novice ice skaters decided to learn ice skating all by themselves which are possible, it is actually recommended to get some professional skating lessons if possible. There are many advantages of taking these lessons and it is not hard to find a skating rink which is near to your home.

Here are what we can share on Ice skating tips:

a. How to fall: Falling is unavoidable especially for new learners in ice skating but falling can be risky at the same time. Thus it is valuable to learn how to minimize the risk of injury when falling. Some good tips would be to wear ice skating protective gear set such as helmet, wrist, elbow, knee and hips pads to minimize the impact of the injury.

b. Getting professional guidance on ice skating if you are a beginner is the most important tips of all. This is the only way where the beginner can learn how to fall without injuring himself, how to stand still and how to skate properly.

c. If you are skating outside the ring, making sure that the ice is thick enough to support your weight is some basic pre-skating checking to safe-guard your safety.

d. Learning how to make an abrupt stop swiftly is one of the key tips for every ice skater – this is called the Hockey Stop. Then there are T-Stop, Snowplow Stop, and also backward T-Stop and other kinds of stopping tips which one gets to learn to be a good ice skater.

e. Wear warm, comfortable clothing and appropriate socks made of microfiber or synthetic are the best for ice skating. Keep in mind that the rink’s temperature is 50-60 degrees, therefore a light jacket, sweater, windbreaker is advisable. Get some gloves or mitten made of wool or acrylic type is best.

f. It is important to make sure you tie your ice skates the correct way. It is best to tie your skates fairly loose at the bottom part. In the middle part of the skate, where the ankle is, it is good to pull the laces tight. This will give the support that your ankles need to hold you up while you are skating. And at the very top part of the skates, it should be the loosest part so that it will be easier for you to bend your knees which is very important in ice skating.

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You CAN Learn to Ice Skate

by Jassen Bowman

Having been raised in the era of figure skating superstars like Nancy Kerrigan, Michelle Kwan, and Todd Eldridge, I have been fascinated by this beautiful display of athletic prowess for nearly two decades. But, like many things in life, there comes a point where the fascination slips into a desire to do something more than just sit on the couch and watch these happenings on the moving picture box.

Being 30 years old and 50 pounds overweight, part of my brain was telling myself I was absolutely, positively nuts to even be thinking about doing this. Even that first time I stepped onto the ice, I was still telling myself that I was about to be involved in a major medical emergency involving multiple broken bones. Three months later, I am not only injury free, but actually making substantial progress.

So, how does one go about learning how to skate? Like anything else, you have to do your homework. It all begins with identifying a facility in your area that even has a sheet of ice. Most major metropolitan areas of the United States, Canada, and Europe have ice facilities of one form or another. Some ice rinks consist only of frozen lakes, while others offer multiple ice rinks within one large building, complete with locker rooms, concession stands, skate rental, and more. Finding a facility near you begins with a simple Google search or a trip through the phone book.

After identifying an appropriate facility, you must then actually contact the ice rink and inquire as to the availability of group classes or private instruction. Most ice rinks offer public skate sessions during which you can obtain one-on-one instruction from a member of the site staff. Many facilities in America also participate in either the U.S. Figure Skating Association or the Ice Skating Institute basic skating skills programs, which provide a structured course of instruction in either a group format or on an individual basis.

Most people will start with group lessons. The advantage of joining a class is that there is an organized curriculum to the entire process of learning how to ice skate, along with being with a group of people of your own skill level. The cost for group lessons is also significantly less than private instruction. It is common for classes to meet twice per week for about four to six weeks. These types of classes vary in cost depending on where you’re geographically located, but in the United States expect to pay between $60 and $100 for such a class. In addition, you will also likely have to rent skates from the facility you are taking lessons at. However, skate rental is generally very inexpensive, at only a few dollars per session.

If you’re looking to test the waters before jumping into a class, or simply desire the undivided attention of an instructor, then private lessons are a worthwhile option to consider. Meeting once or twice with a private instructor is a great way to get started, especially to help you determine whether or not ice skating is something that you will really enjoy and want to stick with as a hobby. Following private instruction with group classes can give you a head start on learning how to ice skate, especially if you take a private lesson on occasion during the course of being in a class. Private instruction is definitely more costly, but pays for itself in terms of the progress that you can make in your skating skills compared to a group environment. Expect to pay anywhere from $45 to $100 per hour for private instruction, with most lessons lasting about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on your goals and pace.

Personally, my intention was to meet twice, and only twice, with a private instructor, and then maybe take a class, with the thought that doing that much would get the desire to skate out of my system. My primary interest in learning to skate was to have a wee bit of a clue about what it’s like to be on the ice, since I had already made the decision that the only way I could ever actively participate in the sport of figure skating was to be a judge. However, after those two private lessons, I was hooked on skating itself, and now my weekly lessons are a line item in my personal budget.

Ice skating is an addictive form of recreation. Learning to ice skate will provide you with a great sense of personal satisfaction and accomplishment. Whether your interest is purely recreational in nature, or you have an interest in any of the related disciplines such as hockey, ice dancing, or figure skating, ice skating will provide you with a sense of pure elation, and will always provide you with additional challenges should you wish to explore them.

In my next article, I will offer insight into selecting an instructor for private coaching. This relationship is such an important one that it deserves careful consideration. I consider myself extremely fortunate that the “next available instructor” to whom I was assigned is such a talented coach and a good personality fit. However, one should not rely on blind luck or good fortune alone when picking an instructor, so be looking for that article coming soon.

Jassen Bowman is a tax consultant by profession, helping taxpayers obtain the tax relief to which they are legally entitled. Outside of work, his lifelong interest in the sport of figure skating has recently blossomed into an intense drive to learn to ice skate He can be found practicing three or four times per week at his local ice centre.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jassen_Bowman

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