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The Omaha Sunday Bee Magazine Page
The Eight Fundamental Strokes of Figure Skating, Showing How the Four Edges of the Skates Are Employed
ty Right UuUide
6 Left Outside
7 Left latldo
8 Left Out (do
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Instructive Series of Lessons by
Mr. Irving Brokaw, the Foremost
Figure Skater of America
Mr. Irving Erokaw Approaching a Turn on the
Right Outside Edge Forward..
QJo2i ment. the Rules
of Form and the Funda
mental Principles of Figure
By Mr. Irving BroJtauf
Champion Flo,ure 8katr of America, Author of "The Art of Skating.,
aro thousands of peopls who regard
themselves as pretty good skaters, who
hay been akatlng all their lives, who
don't even know that each akate has two
edgea! They dont aeem to reallxe the
full possibilities of the sport or, at any
rate, they make no effort to attain them.
That ia unfortunate.
It la my Intention In these articles to
explain the fundamental principles of
figure skating and to demonstrate how
anybody may, by following the correct
methods patiently and persistently, be
come a proficient Ice dancer. Every
woman cannot expect to become a Char
lotte, but there la no reason why erery
woman who skates may not be able to
execute all the regular tee dances grace
fully and becomingly. If these articles
help to make the path a little easier, they
will have served their purpose.
It la necessary before taking up figure
akatlng and dancing to consider some of
the fundamental principles of skating.
Correct skating Is out of the question
without the proper equipment. Expert
skaters have their Individual preferencea
regarding the atyle of akates and shoes
which Is best adapted to their work.
With regard to the best akatlng boot for
the average Individual who Intends to Uke
up figure skating, I should say that well
fitting laced walking boots might even
be better than the skating boot which
laces right down to the tip and which Is
the style heretofore widely sold, but a
new model that 1 know of Is about per
fection. Such shoes are well adapted to
speed skating, but they are not the most
desirable for figure skating. A boot
which cannot possibly cramp the toes Is
necessary. The foot should rest natural
ly and comfortably in the boot, which
should fit snugly around the heel, because
St is the Achilles tendon In the heel
which is called upon to give considerable
support to the whole body in skating.
In choosing a pair of skates, thes
points should be remembered. A perfectly
flat blade such aa Is used In a hocky skat
Iwlll bo a great thing for the art
of okatlng If it Increases the
number of those who skate correctly.
It will be a very bad thing If It produces
aa army of awkward, ungainly skaters.
There la no more graceful or healthful
aport than figure-skating, but there la .
no mora awkward sight than an ungain
ly man or woman on akates.
Ice-ekatlng la such a beautiful and
beneficial sport that It has. always been
a surprise to roe that ao few have taken
It up. It is the king of winter sports,
available alike for men, women and
children, and yet a single rink In New
York City has for years been sufficient
to accommodate all those Interested In it
In the metropolis! Why Is it?
The fact that the New York climate Is
ao moderate that there is seldom more
than a couple of weeks a year of "open"
skating does not answer the question.
Indoor skating la practically aa good and
does not depend upon the climate at all.
Indoor rinks are available from the be
ginning of November until the end of
April and afford a full aeason of splen
did physical exercise and - recreation.
Why has the sport been ao long neg
lected? Whatever the reason, the fact remains
that a big change Is now taking place.
The Ice dancing fad which la now assum
ing such extensive proportions, promises
to bring ice skating Into its own. In
door rinks are going to take the place of
ballrooms and dancehalls. and dansants
a glace will supplant the dansants.
Everyone who takes up Ice skating la
bound to be clumsy and awkward at tret.
No one who tti familiar with the amount
of patience, persistence and native grace
required to lukke an expert skater will
expect a bovke to put on skates end be
come a Charlotte in a day.
Bat leaving beginners out of the ques
tzV& aiUiteucr for the moment, thera
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Mr. and Mrs. Irving Brokaw Executing a Very Effective
Pivot Figure, the Gentleman's Right Foot Acting
as the Pivot Upon Which His Partner
Swings Around Him,
Charlotte, the Famous Woman Skater, Executing
a Righ Outside Edge Forward.
makes ar title curves Impossible and Is
not suitable for figure skating. Figure
skating and speed skating are two en
tirely different things and require differ
It is desirable to have a groove runn
ing along the flat edge of the blade, but
that is not absolutely essential for the
Without going into the ideal dimen
sions of a skate, it may suffice to give
the general principle that the nearer the
akate brings the soIa of the foot to the
surface of the Ice tbe better It is. The
skate should be Just high enough to allow
the skater to execute curves and to make
turns without scraping the side of the
sole against the Ice.
Then again, the tip of the skate should
,not be attached to the sole plate as la
the usual style
quired a auttable
pair of boots
and skatea, the
next thing Is to
learn plain akat
lng In correct
form. Whet cor
rect form Is. Is
no longer a matter of Individual taste.
It has been definitely settled by the of
ficials who make the rules for the con
tens conducted by follows of the Inter
national School of Skating the kind
which tho American, Jackson Haines, In
troduced into Europe fifty years ago and
i 1 1 IS 5 !
11 MLL H
Diagram Showing the Correct Slope
of Body While Making the Right
Outside Forward Curve.
nental skaters, Is now
generally followed In
These rules of form
and the aeries of figures
prescribed by the Inter
national School of Skat
ing are the very best, In
my opinion, for begin
ners in flfcure akatlng
to follow. They com
p r 1 a e a progressive
course which is best
adapted to develop a
The rules of form are
lv Head erect, with
eyes utoa tho tee no
more than is absolutely;
Z. Body upright, not
bent forward or aidewlse
v from tho tips, shoulders
thrown back and chest
Sz Arms, whether ac
tive or passive, should
have tree play from the
ward or in
ward. 4. Skating
bent at the
knee to Insure
a springy rise
and dip of the
E. Free leg
from the hip,
in the socket
of which it
ward and back
ward as much
as possible f "al
ated from the
skating 1 e g,
bent, toe point
ing down and
rules it will be
seen at once
that fl gure
akatlng la not
a matter of the
feet alone, but
f tbe whole
fcody. That Is
why it provides
such a splen
did form of
which, after being developed by Conti-
Copyright. 1I1S, by ths Star Company, Oreat Britain Rights Reserved.
Having mastered the art of ordinary
akatlng, which It is unnecessary to take
up at length here, the skater will be ready
to commence on what are known as school
figures. These school figures, of which
there are eight elementary and nine ad
vanced, comprise practically every strolse
necessary for the dances.
Once these fundamental school figures
have been mastered, it will not be a Tory
difficult matter to acquire the waits, the
ten-step, the fourteen-etep, the Jackson
Haines, the Rocker Valse, the Mohawk
and the various other Ice danoea which
will soon be as familiar In name to tho
general publlo, perhaps,' aa the turkey
trot, the fox-trot, the tango and the one
step have become.
Before describing the various figures,
it Is necessary to explain what is meant
by the four edges the right inside, the
right outside, the left inside and tho Jeft
outside. As all curves must be made on
either one of those four edges, it is es
sential to master them.
Consider first the right foot The out
side edge, known as the "right outside."
is, naturally enough, the edge to the right,
the inside edge, known as the "right In
side" being the edge to the left In the
case of the left foot the outside edge,
known as the "left outside" is the edge
to the left and the Inside edge, known
as the "left inside" Is the edge to the
Hero then we have the four edges. Upon
these edges it is possible to skate either
forward or backward, thua making eight
different possible strokes, aa follows:
Right outside forward, right outside back
ward, right inside forward, right inside
backward, left outside forward, left out
side backward, left inside forward and
left Inside backward.
Each one of these edges will take tho
skater in a different direction. The right
outside forward, for instance, will take
htm on a forward curve to the right; the
right inside forward will take him on a
forward curve to ths left and so on.
Each one of these edges must be prac
tised until it has been mastered and can
be skated with perfect control. The be
ginner will almost Invariably find that
one foot is weaker than the other. In
that event the weaker foot must be
practised on all the more. Do not favor
the leg which you can control best
Work tbe less apt leg tbe most
In practising the various edges, It is
Just as well for a beginner not to have
the blade of the skate too sharp. A
sharp skate la less easy for a beginner
to control then one In which the keen
edge la off. If a new pair of skates Is
to be used, therefore. It is wise to do
some straight ahead akatlng on them
first so as to become accustomed to
Having attained the varloua edgea, both
forward and backward, so that a fairly
long curvet may be executed on the ini
tial momentum, the skater will be in a
position to attempt the elementary or fun
damental school figures. These aro aa
1. The Circle Eight
2. The Change of Edge.
S. The Three.
4. The Double Three.
5. The Lroop.
t. The Bracket ,
7. The Rocker.
S. The Counter.
In the articles which are to follow we
will take up each one or these figures
and those which comprise the group of
advanced school figures, and then we
shall be In a position to take up the vari
oua dancea which are going to attrao
Co much attention this season.