2011 State Games of America – in San Diego!

This week, I’m going to be talking about the 2011 State Games of America (SGOA) coming up August 4-7. State Games of America is held every two years for competitors from all over the U.S. In order to qualify to compete at the SGOA, you had to place in the top 3 in any event at your local State Games (for us, State Games of California in March) either this year or the year before.

This event was started in 1999 and now has around 12,000 competitors participating in 23 different sports. The event moves around the U.S., so we are very fortunate to have it in San Diego this year! This competition is a great opportunity for skaters to get to compete with skaters from around the U.S. who normally wouldn’t compete in California.

The figure-skating events will be held at three different rinks: Kroc, San Diego Ice Arena, and Iceoplex Escondido. One of the highlights will be an Olympic-style opening ceremony at 6:30 p.m. on August 5th for all the athletes to march in. It will be at Qualcom stadium where the San Diego Chargers football team plays and will include a torch lighting!

For more information, visit the California State Games website.

July 15, 2011

Show Skating Inspiration

Ice skating shows are one of the most popular parts of figure skating for the audience. Usually the skaters in shows are previous competitors who have retired from amateur status (competitive skating) and gone professional (just doing shows).

The professional skaters perform in shows like Disney on Ice with productions of Disney stories that start in the U.S. and then tour around the world, Holiday on Ice which tours around Europe and Latin America, and cruise ship shows on cruise ships with ice rinks. There are also shows like Stars on Ice that have both top Olympic and World professional and amateur athletes performing, such as Evan Lysacek, Sasha Cohen, and Kurt Browning.

Every year there are thousands of smaller private shows that both amateur and professional skaters perform in all over the world as well. Usually in shows you will see many exciting moves, such as backflips, that aren’t legal in competition.

While many of these moves are more entertaining to the audience, many of the show tricks are actually technically easier than the moves you will see in competition. This is because the sole purpose of a show is to entertain the audience, not to get higher points for harder moves.

I attached a video that one of my students found on YouTube. The team is Jodeyne Higgens and Sean Rice who are former two-time Canadian national bronze medalists and World competitors. I found the video to be a very entertaining show program. Notice how small the rink is and how Jodeyne and Sean still effortlessly perform a very entertaining program with advanced tricks!

Note: See Upcoming Events page for summer class information at the Kroc Center in San Diego!

June 17, 2011

Inspiration from the 2011 World Pairs Champions, Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy

Watch this video of Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy (Germany), pairs champions from the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships in Moscow. It’s one of the best pairs programs I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot.

Notice the way Aliona and Robin made it entertaining though their musical interpenetration, strong execution of the elements, and great use of Aliona’s flexibility in various positions. From the beginning, they used their music to communicate with each other and the audience, making the program fun to watch. Then they completed some highly difficult elements flawlessly, such as the huge opening throw triple flip, triple toe sequence, and the middle overhead lift with the spread eagle intro and exit.

A sign of great skaters is they make skating look easy, and Aliona and Robin really made this program look like a piece of cake to the viewers. Also, watch the amazing position Aliona gets to on their pair sit!

May 20, 2011

Inspiration from the 2011 Men’s World Champion, Patrick Chan

Patrick Chan easily won the men’s event at the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships in Moscow with two excellent programs that incorporated artistry and technical difficulty. His musical interpretation, footwork, and turns are all wonderfully executed, and he flows between each element flawlessly. The announcers said Patrick has taken ballroom lessons to improve his artistry. He likes to watch videos of great performers to get motivation as well. Notice how both of Patrick’s programs look easy as he completes his high-level jumps and spins with strength and great technique.

Patrick Chan – 2011 Worlds Short Program

Patrick Chan – 2011 Worlds Long Program

April 30, 2011

Beautiful Spin Positions

This week, I have videos for you of some of the great female skaters performing beautiful spin positions. Watch how they perform different variations of the same basic spin.

Here is the 2010 Ladies Olympic Gold Medalist, Yuna Kim. Notice her great control of positions.

Here is the 2006 Ladies Olympic Silver Medalist, Sasha Cohen. Notice the excellent arch in her back.

This is a fun example of the fastest spin in the world!

April 16, 2011