Slice and Dice on Ice


Photo by Becky Weber

Becky Weber, Art Editor

There are plenty of sports played in the winter. It’s the start of some fan favorites like basketball and hockey. But one less common winter sport is ice skating.

When it comes to official figure skating competitions, there is an order to everything. Everyone who is part of competitions has a skill level. Their skill level determines who they compete against. In order to increase their skill level, they have to perform in front of a set of official judges. According to the U.S. Figure Skating Association (USFSA), the tests are offered in several different disciplines of figure skating: Moves in the Field, Free Skate, Pattern or Solo Pattern Dance, Free Dance or Solo Free Dance, and Pairs.

While the number of levels changes from discipline to discipline, there is always the highest level. To hold a Senior or Gold ranking is a true achievement in any of the fields. Ice skating training takes lots of pushing one’s self and repetition to be good. The level you hold in a field goes on your permanent record and can apply wherever you compete. While there are competitions that are more for fun there are the Regional Championships, which split the country into nine different sections. By going through the championships you can eventually be chosen to represent the United States by the International Skating Union in competitions like the World Championship and the Winter Olympics.

However, official competitions aren’t the only way to skate. There’s always performing. Kelly Kirkland, an ice skater herself, says that she prefers performing to competing. Ice skating performances are a fun blend of skating and acting – if you’ve ever seen Disney on Ice you know exactly what I’m talking about. They tell a story and ice skate at the same time. Keli Kirkland described her love for figure skating performances. She described how she loved to work on other people and ‘…you can draw from their talents and you can teach each other.’ There are traveling groups that perform all over the place, but there are also place like the Olympic Oval that has their own group. It’s not as professional but it’s fun and full of passion.

Figure skating is a beautiful sport where people elegantly move their bodies and make something that takes years upon years to master look effortless. If you haven’t seen a performance I highly recommend that you go and see when the Olympic oval is having shows and competitions. It’s something you’ll never forget.