AIT is all about bringing dance to ice.
The Dance2Ice Barre class teaches the foundational tools needed to apply full body movement to figure skating maneuvers. Once a skater has gained proficiency executing skills in the basic two-dimensional realm (linear movement), D2I teaches how to engage the core while moving through three dimensional space (using all levels of the body).
By learning this skill set, a skater establishes an entirely new vocabulary of movement as they gain body awareness and increased mobility. This type of movement is especially important as skaters begin leveled step sequences where they must use full body movement to receive their desired level.
Alongside AIT’s D21 curriculum (promo vid here), another aspect of the program is taking Moves in the Field patterns and revolutionizing them by applying these newfound principles.
In a Level 1 demonstration video below, skaters use a preliminary MIF pattern — the alternating backward crossovers to back outside edges.
Notice the skaters using their core to initiate the movement as they use all levels of their body with their arms, mid-section and knee bend. This not only increases the difficulty in performing the movement, but also adds interest to the audience witnessing the maneuver (a win-win for all involved!).
For some other demonstration demos, check them out here:
Level 2 demo:
Level 4 demo:
Have you tried these Dance2Ice exercises? What other MIF patterns can you make Dance2Ice style? Film your own today and we will feature them on AIT’s Facebook page!
Check out this new article written by AIT founder Jodi Porter
What are your thoughts? Join the conversation on how figure skating and dance intermingle and how we can move forward on creating more opportunities for artistic figure skating to thrive.
By Renee Austin
Each person has an individual way of moving which becomes a part of his or her personality and uniqueness of communication. It is my purpose to help the skaters appreciate their uniqueness and discover the differences between themselves and other skaters through self-awareness and self-analysis. – Ricky Harris
It wasn’t until Ricky Harris entered the profession in 1972 that choreographers for figure skaters started to become the norm. Harris worked full time exclusively with competitive skaters such as Scott Hamilton, Elaine Zayak, Brian Boitano, Linda Fratianne, Michelle Kwan and the ice dance team of Michael Siebert and Judy Blumberg. The renowned coaches she worked alongside include Don Laws, Frank Carroll and Linda Leaver.
Harris (far left) sitting in the 1984 Olympic Kiss & Cry with Scott Hamilton & coach Don Laws.
Harris did not grow up on the ice however. At 18 years old, Harris’ talent and enthusiasm caught the eye of Eugene Turner who first gave her ice lessons. Her ice show career started at the age of 21 with Shipstad and Johnson’s Ice Follies, then to Sonja Henie’s show before marrying and having two children. During that time she went to the University of California, Irvine, obtaining a B.A. in Drama and an M.F.A. in Dance. After a traveling tour as professor of dance aboard a university ship and head of the Dance Department of Chapman University, Harris re-entered the figure skating profession as a choreographer.
In those early times she was often the trendsetter. During freezing cold practice sessions skaters wore nothing over their skating tights for warmth. In the dance world leg warmers were commonly used even in hot studios to keep muscles warm during long hours of practice.
“I pulled out a pair of leg warmers from my bag for a skater to use. The skater did not know what they were, and was afraid her coach would disapprove,” Harris said. “I said I would accept the responsibility. When the coach saw his skater on the ice he was deeply disturbed. I explained that it was not healthy and could be injurious for skaters not to keep their legs warm until they felt their bodies were completely warmed up. I suggested to the coach to check with a doctor to confirm this,” she noted. “It all culminated in a notice that went out to all skaters at that rink to wear leg warmers from then on. Soon there was a company specializing in leg warmers for figure skaters.”
Movement akin to the dance world that Harris choreographed for the ice shocked many within the skating community. She then attempted to educate them on what was going on in the world of performing arts. As part of the coaching team she assumed she could take her place with the coaches at competitions while the skaters with whom she worked practiced and competed. This was not always accepted by others, but she persisted and eventually it became norm. Continue reading