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SKATING IN RHYTHM
Maribel Vinson
January 05, 1959
Two weeks ago Miss Vinson, holder of 15 national titles and teacher of 3,500 skaters in the past 15 years, explained the five basic steps a novice needs in order to join the fun of figure skating. Now, for the fast-learning beginner and for those who already know how to skate, she introduces the doubly fascinating sport of skating with a partner. She begins on the next page by teaching you the first simple strokes. Then she puts you in the dancing position; sends you whirling off in a waltz and winds up by showing just one of the many patterns which partners can weave in the intriguing art of pair skating.
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January 05, 1959

Skating In Rhythm

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Two weeks ago Miss Vinson, holder of 15 national titles and teacher of 3,500 skaters in the past 15 years, explained the five basic steps a novice needs in order to join the fun of figure skating. Now, for the fast-learning beginner and for those who already know how to skate, she introduces the doubly fascinating sport of skating with a partner. She begins on the next page by teaching you the first simple strokes. Then she puts you in the dancing position; sends you whirling off in a waltz and winds up by showing just one of the many patterns which partners can weave in the intriguing art of pair skating.

STARTING TOGETHER

Learn to move in unison

The essential beauty of pair skating is the uninterrupted gliding and flowing across the ice of two people so perfectly in step that they appear to move as one harmonious unit. Obviously, it is an advantage if both of you skate equally well. But even if you can't that need not spoil your fun, for in pair skating the stronger partner will help the weaker to improve. Eventually, each of you will pull his own weight; meanwhile, each can concentrate on coordinating his movements with those of his partner. Begin with the simple forward stroke shown at right. For the correct start, stand side by side (1), hips close together, with the girl's left arm extended in front of the boy. Join the left hands, locking the grip by having the boy hold the girl's thumb (see circle inset). The boy should also place his right arm firmly around the girl's waist and secure it there by taking the same grip on the girl's right thumb as he has on her left. Then, with feet in the basic push-off position you learned at the beginning of part I, weight on the inside of the right foot, strike off together (2) left foot first, legs in perfect alignment, and the skating knee always ahead of the toe of the skating foot.

After initial push-off (1 and 2), be sure you make each successive stroke (3) with same force as your partner. Keep bodies erect and in line, and as you build up speed, bring feet close together (4) before every new stroke.

LEANING TOGETHER

Forward crossover
In order to cut the even curves basic to pair-skating, you must learn to use crossovers. The boy sets the pace and guides the girl with his right hand. The girl must maintain steady pressure with her left hand against the boy's left to keep even spacing between partners. The couple above has just finished crossing right feet over (1) toward center of circle and is preparing to push off onto left feet (2). Note how skaters lean well into circle. Weight is now fully on left feet (3), right feet extended and right legs in perfect alignment ready to swing forward and into the circle for the next crossover.

Back crossover
To cut corners while moving backward, the boy should again take the lead, guiding the girl with hand grip shown in inset. Pair at right is balanced on left outside edges, ready to cross right feet over and inside of left, with blades of skates exactly parallel (see arrows). Then they push back onto left and cross again. To keep the action smooth, the girl must follow directly over the tracing left by the boy's skate. Each partner keeps the connecting arm (left for the girl, right for the boy) extended to keep even spacing and insure that neither skater will pull the other off balance.

SWINGING TOGETHER

Half-circle swings
If you want to improve your timing, particularly in the hand and arm movements, or if you find one partner depending too much on the other's lead, then separate and try following one another in half-circle swings. Stroking into the swings, the boy is on the inside of the circle (1) and slightly behind the girl, so that he will not pull too far ahead of her as she skates the outer arc. As they get into the swing (2), the free legs sweep past the skating feet and the boy draws even with the girl. Then the boy moves into the lead (3), as his partner begins to curve in behind him. They finish (4 and 5) with the girl coming in directly behind the boy and on his tracing (5). Throughout this entire maneuver, both stay on right outside edges and gradually swing the free arms and legs forward before stepping off onto left outside edges to move into the reverse pattern of the swing (see diagram). Once you have learned to imitate one another's movements through half-circle swings, you are ready to get into the waltz position on the next page.

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