While the first post was mostly dedicated to the overview of elements that can, for the most part, be performed by a solo skater, here let’s take a look at what a pair can accomplish on ice.
Lifts are among some of the most impressive parts of a pair skating performance. Not only do they require perfect balance on thin skate blades, but also immense full body strength by both skaters alike. Failing to execute a lift perfectly can bring about tragic consequences as the skater would fall from higher than normal and thus hit the ice more intensely. In light of this, lifts require extensive practice and trust in one’s partner if they are to be successful. The basic lift includes the male skater lifting his female counterpart over his head and balancing her with his arms fully extended while he continuous to skate in flawlessly elegant and beautiful way. This is the most common type of lift you can see at a figure skating performance. Some other types of lifts include:
- The star lift – the man raises his partner into the air by her hip. She then achieves a five-point shape that resembles a star by extending her limbs and head.
- The twist lift – this one is executed while skating backwards. The man lifts the lady skater over his head and throws her in the air. The woman rotates three times before she is caught by her waist and placed back on the ice.
- The toe overhead lift – the man is skating forward while the woman is facing backwards and hits the ice with her toe to initiate the takeoff. The man lifts her and places her back on the ice.
Spins and throws
Death spiral is an impressive sight which falls into this category. The man rotates using the toe pick of one of the skates and the blade of the other and the woman hangs onto his hand with her extended arm. She achieves a horizontal position parallel to the ice, arches her body and lowers her head. The pair skating together at a very high speed indicates the beginning for a throw jump. During this element, the man uses his hands to help the woman jump into the air. She completes as many as three rotations there. However, recently some skaters with exceptional skill and dedication have attempted to accomplish a quadruple rotation throw jump. After that, the woman lands skating backward. The kind of throw (toe loop, salchow, loop or axel) is determined by the position of the skate, just like in solo skating.
It is important to mention this type of figure skating performance while talking about its elements because ice dancing, in a way, is unique to all other types of figure skating. Here, the elements of significance are oftentimes less technical and more creative. It must be emphasized though that during the free dance performance, both skaters must keep at least one skate on ice at all times, except lifts, which certainly adds complexity to how different elements can be expressed.