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Glossary of Skating Terminology

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Call the skater:  The phrase used by many event referees to ask the announcer to announce the next skater in the competition.  Once the name of the skater is completely announced, they have a specific period of time they are permitted to take their opening position, after which a deduction is taken by the referee.  After a further period of time, if the skater is not in position they are automatically withdrawn from the competition.

Camel spin:  One of the three basic spin positions, the others being upright and sit.

In the traditional camel spin position the skating leg is straight, the free leg is held straight and generally parallel to the ice or higher, with the free foot higher than the hip, and the torso generally parallel to the ice with the back arched.  The essential characteristic of the camel spin is that the free foot must be held higher than the hip.  Variations of the camel position include slightly bending the skating leg as in a Grafstrom spin,  twisting the torso into an inverted position so the chest faces up and not down, and bending the free leg, which may also be held at the knee or skate blade.

Cantilever: A spread eagle in which the knees are bent and the body, from the knees to the head, is held parallel to the ice.

Carriage: The manner of holding and moving one's head and body.

Carry: A restricted lift-like movement in which one or both hand(s) of the lifting partner is raised above shoulder level and the team does not rotate as they travel down the ice.

Category: The level of competition together with the discipline of skating being contested.  Examples of categories: Senior Ladies, Junior Men, Novice Pairs, etc.

Center: The place(s) in a compulsory figure where the strikes and thrusts occur.

Centered spin: A spin which rotates at a fixed position on the ice.  See Traveling spin in comparison.

Charlotte:  A connecting move where the skater glides across the ice bending forwards at the waist in a near vertical split with their head at the ankle of the skating foot and the free leg elevated over their head.  This move is considered a type of spiral position.  Named after German skater Charlotte Oelschlägel.  When performed by Oelschlägel in the early 1900s female skaters wore ankle length dresses and the move was genteelly performed moving away from the audience so as not to point the skaters crotch towards the audience.

Change: The trace left on the ice from making a change of edge.

Change bracket: Any compulsory figure consisting of three circles with one bracket turn on each end circle, half way around each end circle.

Change double three: Any compulsory figure consisting of three circles with two three turns on each end circle, one-third of the way around each end circle.

Change loop: Any compulsory figure consisting of three circles which incorporates a loop, half way around each end circle.

Change of edge: The act of initially gliding on one edge on a given foot and then shifting weight and lean and beginning to glide on the alternate edge on the same foot.

Change three: Any compulsory figure consisting of three circles with one three turn on each end circle, half way around each end circle.

Cheated jump: (Informal) A jump in which the rotations are not completed in the air; i.e., a jump in which some of the rotation is completed on the ice during either the takeoff or landing of the jump.  Rather than cheated, the term used in the rules is "missing rotation."  Thus, a cheated jump is a jump that is missing rotation.

When the technical panel calls a jump element, they determine whether the jump has missing rotations and indicate if that is so by adding a "q", < or << symbol to the element code.  These codes indicate if the jump is short 1/4 of a rotation, more than 1/4 but less than 1/2 rotation or 1/2 or more rotation. Jumps missing less than 1/4 rotation are not indicated in the protocols in any way.

Check out: The act of stopping the rotation of a jump or spin by extending the arms and free-leg away from the rotation axis of the body.

Chief referee: The head referee responsible for the schedule and all other aspects of a competition.  The chief referee assigns the event referees and judges for each judge panel and is the final authority for all question concerning the rues during a competiion.

Chinese spiral: A spiral in which the free leg is held higher than normal with the knee slightly bent, and the blade of the free foot is held by the hand on the same side of the body.

Choctaw: A turn from forward to backward, or backward to forward, from one foot to the other in which the curve of the exit edge is in the opposite direction to the curve of the entry edge. The change of edge is from outside edge to inside edge or from inside edge to outside edge.

Choreography: The process of creating and arranging programs to music.

Circle eight: Any compulsory figure consisting of two circles and no turns, with the two circles skated on opposite feet.

Cleanness: The degree to which the skating is executed with precise edges and turns; i.e., lacks scrapes, dragged toe picks, "crunched" edges, thrown snow, etc.

Closed block: A formation in synchronized skating consisting of two or more lines of skaters one behind the next, in which the skaters are arranged in a two dimensional pattern lacking any empty spaces; e.g., a formation in the shape of a solid square.

Closed judging: A process of judging in which the judges' marks are not displayed until after all the competitors have skated and the accountants have computed the results.

Combination lift: (Dance) A lift which incorporates together two short lifts of a different nature, one after the other.

(Pairs, informal) A lift which incorporates a change of position of the lifted partner or of hand hold during the lift.

Composition mark: The first of two marks awarded when judging original set pattern dances and original dances under the 6.0 system, based primarily on the quality of the competitors' skating technique.

Compulsory figure: A pattern traced on the ice in a prescribed manner, and in which the steps, turns, and changes for that figure are executed at specific places on the ice surface.

Compulsory dance: The original name for set pattern dances skated as part of an ice dancing competitive event.  These are now known as pattern dances.

Continuous axis: An imaginary continuous line extending around the rink, in relation to which a dance pattern is placed.

Connecting moves: Movements and unlisted elements used to connect the major elements of a program and to provide artistic highlights to a program.

After a skater has completed the allowed number of elements, additional elements (such as jumps and spins, as examples) may be executed without penalty, and are considered connecting moves; however, ice dancers may not execute extra elements.

Contrapuntal choreography: (1) Choreography for music which includes two or more themes in such a way that they establish a harmonic relationship while retaining their linear individuality.

(2) Choreography that includes elements set in contrast to the music.

Counter: (1) A turn on one foot in which the skater changes direction but not edge, producing a trace which is a section of one circle before the turn and a section of another circle of opposite curvature after the turn. The cusp of the turn points outwards from the center of the circle preceding the turn and inwards towards the center of the circle following the turn.

(2) Any compulsory figure consisting of three circles in which counter turns are used to transition from the center circle to the end circles.

Counter rotation jump:  A jump in which the angular momentum associated with the skater's takeoff edge is in the sense (clockwise or counter-clockwise) opposite that of the angular momentum of the skater's rotation in the air.  For example, for right handed skaters (who rotate counter-clockwise in the air), any jump that takes off from an edge following a clockwise path.  Examples of counter rotation jumps are Lutz, Walley and toe Walley.

See normal rotation jump is comparison.

Costume: The clothing worn by skaters while performing.

Couple: The man and woman performing together in a dance program.  Pairs are traditional refered to as a team.  The use of couple and team has tended to become interchangeable over time.

Compulsory Dance: See Set Pattern Dance.  Compulsory dance is an older (original) name for the set pattern dances.

Crash and burn: The awful spectacle in which a skater falls on the first jump and then proceeds to demolish nearly every subsequent element in the program.

Crossfoot spin: A two-foot upright spin in which the skating leg is straight at the knee and hip, the free leg is crossed in front of the skating leg, and the skater spins on the toes of both blades.

Crossovers: Stroking along a curved path, in the course of which the leg outside the circle steps over the leg inside the the circle.

Cusp: The v-shaped portion of the tracing that occurs at the mid-point of a turn skated on one foot.

Cutbacks: Back stroking along a curved path, in the course of which the leg outside the circle crosses over the leg inside the circle, and the blade of the foot outside the circle remains in contact with the ice throughout. 

Copyright 2020 by George S. Rossano