Glamorous costumes and dresses, graceful and elegant figures, tantalizingly impressive jumps and spins… Sounds familiar? All of that and more can be found in the impressive sport known as figure skating. From primitive attempts back in the prehistoric times, to the beginning of international figure skating competitions in the end of the 19th century, figure skating has come a long way. The spins have become faster, the jumps higher and the skaters display more and more of what no one thought humans could be capable of. Let’s explore the main types and categories of this beautiful sport so that you always know what you are looking at when you happen to encounter it.

Pairs skating

Two impressively dressed humans creating magic on ice. This type of skating usually involves a man and a woman performing various technical tricks in unison, like spins and jumps, together with partnered elements, like lifts, throw jumps and death spirals. Symmetry, unison, parallel flow and general knowledge of your partner’s movement are among some of the characteristics that are used to distinguish between mediocre and exceptional figure skating pairs. Even when the skating partners aren’t touching one another, they are supposed to perform synchronically in order to create the intended effect and impress the audience.

Ice dancing

Indeed very similar to pairs skating, just the aims are a bit different. Ice dancing might have fewer technical elements. For instance, there are no jumps and almost no lifts. The pair instead focuses on creating the sense of dancing on ice by utilizing their body movement and feet. Unlike pairs skating, ice dancing partners can often be seen in very distant parts of the skating rink, performing elements that are seen as consistent with the idea of dancing. It must be mentioned that it is a lot more difficult to judge ice dancing competitions than those of pair skating because they are often performed more subjectively and there might not be means to measure the success of certain innovative elements involved in it.

Freestyle
Freestyle

Freestyle

For this one, the skater is alone on the ice. They have the entire skating rink to themselves and are free to do pretty much whatever they are capable of on their own. This kind of skating also involves jumps, spins and spirals, but naturally they entail different techniques since the skater is alone. Music is crucial to the performance; the footwork of the skater displays how well they are able to understand it, interpret it and move to it. Their clothes are also supposed to me made not only to allow for maximum flexibility, but also to match the style of music they are performing to and help create the atmospthere of the performance.

Sinchronized team skating

This one is new, but it‘s growing excerptionally fast. The teams start at 8 people, all of whom perform movements in unison with the whole team or part of it. In this type of skating, jumps of more than one revolution and lifts are not permitted. Sinchronized team skating, although still struggling to be recognized as an Olympic sport, has many national and international competitions dedicated to it.

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